Before I start this blog post, I’d like to say that this is the most personal thing I have ever written. However I feel the deep urge to share this piece with you, because who knows maybe it can be helpful to some of you. These are some life lessons I’ve learned over the past few years that have really openend my eyes and helped me in life!
1) There is always something beneath the surface that makes people act the way the do
Over the past few years I’ve discovered that not everyone you meet will have your best interest at heart. People can deceive you and some people love to tell you what you do wrong and love to see you fall. Naif as I am, I always took this very personal. I tend to see the best in people and when they treat me like crap, it almost feels like a betrayal. I have to say that I still come across these people and sometimes it still hurts my feelings a bit but I have learned to deal with it. I am not so naif anymore, instead I trust on my instincts and my good manners. Please remember this: no matter how poorly someone else treats you, it does not make them a better person than you. On the contrary: it only reflects their true nature. Whenever I come across these people I always think: I am so very glad that I am not like you. Because I know that treating other people badly does not make you any more charming or popular. It makes you pathetic, unsympathetic and arrogant. I also learned that there is always something beneath the surface that make people act the way they do. Usually people like to treat you bad to hide their own insecurities and to feel better about themselves. As you get older, you realise how immature that is. Just be true to yourself and treat people they way you want to be treated.
2) Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something
This is a hard one. When I was younger, especially in my early twenties I came across a lot of people who made me feel inferior. I love this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: Don’t let anyone make you feel inferior without your consent. When you start working right after college, you enter the big world. Sometimes you they put you in the arena to defend for yourself, you will find yourself having to prove yourself of your worth. Keep calm, this is normal. But ofcourse that doesn’t mean it is frightening. In my working life I have come across people who told me very bluntly I could not do something. I had a boss once who told me I did not have a helicopter vision, therefore I was not very competent. I was told a lot of things. As vulnerable as I was, I always took this very personal, and I ended up blaming myself. Now that I am older, I realise that those people did not have the best management skills. A good manager encourages you and brings out the best in you. They are honest about the things you could improve. But that is just it! They are honest about things you can IMPROVE, so that you can move forward. Their intent is not to hold you back or to say you cannot do things. Because seriously: how does anyone ever get better without always being told they can’t? Right. Oh and by the way: I can definitely say I have developed good helicopter view as I am working on tons of different projects and different clients at the same time. It’s all about believing in yourself!
In the Dutch culture it is normal to be modest, especially about yourself. I have always been a little jealous of Americans, who usually are very proud of who they are and where they come from. The display this in a way that usually (not always) is very appealing. I still struggle with this and I’m not quite there yet, but being proud of yourself and displaying it is something you can learn. A lot of people don’t feel like they are special. They feel average. I would like you to challenge yourself: think about like you are a different person and you meet yourself for the first time. Ask yourself: would you be friends with this person (you that is)? Why? What do you like about him/her? Don’t be modest, but be kind. You choose friends for a reason, but you also can be friends with yourself. For me, what I like about myself is that I am a kind person. I always want to help others and I am genuine and honest.
4) This is the time to explore
You don’t have to have it all figured out, especially in your twenties. You may see people in your circle settling down, having kids, getting married or go on a trip around the world. I believe that everyone moves in a different pace. It is hard, I know, not to feel stressed or influenced by people around you. That you feel like you have to do all those things. However, don’t forget that it is your life and you are the one who is living it. This is the time more than ever to explore and to find out what it is you really want to do. And if that means that you are content with the things you have right now, that’s okay too. Don’t feel pressured. If you have dreams, think about ways you can achieve them. Go explore! And mostly: try to have fun while you’re doing it 🙂
5) Count your blessings
In our lives we tend to get caught up in life and always strive for more. We can focus on the things we don’t have, the things we miss. But do you often stand still and look at what you have now? I’ve learned to focus on my blessings. Not everyday, but as often as I can. Find your gratitude and count those blessings. Because I know you have them, even right now. And they don’t have to be big, they can be small as well. For example, I feel good after I have helped someone and they are very grateful to me for it. Giving back is very rewarding also for yourself.
What have you learned in your life? Share it with me, I’d love to know 🙂