– Personal Development #3 –
With my 19th birthday coming in less than a month, I have been thinking a lot recently about what this number means. As the legal age in Quebec is 18 years old, it means that I have completed my first year as an “adult“. This led me to question myself a lot about who I am and who I want to be. However, by thinking only about what I wanted to aspire to, I forgot to take into consideration where I am coming from.
What experiences and how the people I have met made be the person that I am today? What did I learn from this? So in today’s post, I am sharing with you 18 things that I have learned in 18 years. Questioning ourselves and who we want to be is a normal process, so I hope this post will inspire you to go into your personal quest as well. Let’s start!
1- Wanting to please others will only leave you unhappy
It is probably not the first time you hear this, but I think it is important to mention it again. It is a lesson that took me a lot of time to understand, and that I am still learning. As a human being, we all want to feel accepted and loved by everyone, but what I have learned is that working towards that goal will simply leave us unhappy. Wanting to please everyone is just like running into quicksand: you never really get out of it. Moreover, being authentic and being true to ourselves bring the good kind of people. It brings real friends and people that you can count on.
2- It is ok if you want a simple life and a simple career
I used to think that to be successful in life, I would need to have a good job and make good money from it. I used to think that my career and education are what would define me as an individual in society. But what if I want nothing wide-ranging, but rather something simple that will be enough to take care of my needs, something that will make me happy. So, this is the lesson I have learned. It is ok if I want a simple life and a simple career. Life is too short to take a path that does not fit with who we are. Money is not necessarily what will define my success, but rather the happiness I can grasp from the path that I choose.
3- Love is about someone that makes you feel at home
When looking for love and a new relationship, I think a lot of people tend to look for someone that will make them live strong emotions and “lose control“. I used to also seek for this type of love*, but it left me more broken than actually happy. Note that this is my personal opinion. I do not think there is one type of love better than another. On the contrary, I think we need a little bit of each type. That being said, what I have learned with time and with my current relationship is that love should be about having someone that makes you feel at home. Someone with who you can be 100% yourself, where you do not feel the need to change to please, and where you can embrace your weirdness. With the crazy world we are currently living in, hanging with this special person should be like a homeport. It is a break from the high tides of life, where you can recharge your energy with love.
*According to the Ancients Greeks, there are about eight different types of love. Each of them has its pro and cons, but many agree that we all need a little bit of everything. If you want to learn more about the subject, you can find a great article here.
4- Learn to Say No
This fourth lesson is also linked to the first one as it related to the desire to please others. Being able to say no to a task, whether in the workplace, or at school, or in my personal life when I have already too much on my plate is something that I am still learning, but that is so important. Sometimes, when we do not want to disappoint or let down people, we tend to forget ourselves and accept everything. I think it is important to draw our limits and delegate in order to protect ourselves from burnout and preserve our mental health.
5- Say Yes
You might think that I am contradicting myself here, but let me explain. What I mean here is saying yes to life in general. Every time I said yes to an adventure or opportunity that I would have never thought of doing, the outcome of it has always been positive. Here is an example.
A few years ago, I signed up with a friend to do an English immersion in British Columbia. We were both really excited about going there together and discovering the place together. However, when we received our answers it was not what we were planning at all. She had been accepted in British Columbia, and I had been accepted at Prince Edward Island, the easternmost province of Canada after Newfoundland. So we both decided to go on our trips even if we were on the opposite sides of Canada. Do you know what? It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It was a beautiful experience where I made new friends, and discovered a beautiful island, and made memories for life.
So my lesson here is that when life throws you a different path than what you had planned, say yes, because it may turn out as a beautiful experience.
6- Silence can express ease
I used to think that when I hang out with someone, and there is silence, it is automatically awkward. I thought it meant that I did not connect with this person and that I had to find some topics to discuss. However, growing up, I realized that on the contrary, silence can also express ease between two (or more) individuals. It is ok to be in our own thoughts or simply have nothing to say, but still enjoy the presence of the other person.
7- Introvert or extrovert is not what categorize us
This is a topic that I have already written about and that you can read here. The main idea is that it is ok if some days you feel more like an extrovert and are very social, but the other day you want to be alone and in your thoughts. No one requires you to have the same level of sociability every day, or your actions and comportments to be always the same. What I have learned is that it is normal that our personality changes, and therefore, we should stop associating authenticity with personality.
8- Taking care of our body is a priority
The human body is a complex machine as you might already know. Thus, it is important to listen to it and take care of small injuries. Everything is related so a small thing that is not taken care of can transform into something bigger that can take a lot of time to heal. I have suffered chronic pain for about seven years now. After consulting different therapists and not being able to eliminate the pain, I had decided to live with it and accept it. Hopefully, I have recently found a treatment that works, but if there is one lesson I have learned from it is to never accept pain in your life and keep searching for solutions. We have only one body so taking care of it should be a priority.
9- Self-love is also about embracing weirdness
I have interests that are not always conventional. I would prefer to visit eastern Europe instead of more traditional vacation spots. I prefer cold weather over warm weather. I would like to have a pet lizard instead of a dog! I have been told many times that I was weird because of my “weird” interests and often thought that I should change to be more “normal”. However, what I have learned with time is that my different interests or a different clothing style or different beliefs, or a different body is what makes someone unique. Not weird. One should embrace its differences and transform this dislike into self-love.
This is it for this first part of 18 things I have learned in 18 years. Part 2 is coming soon, so stay tuned! This series is very more personal as they are lessons that I have learned from the experiences I have lived. We all have different backgrounds, and we all experience life differently. Thus, I would be curious to read you in comments to see what you are thinking of these lessons and if there are some you would like to share:)