By David Joel Miller
What life lessons do you still need to learn?
There are certain life lessons you will need to learn soon or later. If you were taught them when you were young then you got off to a good start in life. If no one taught you these things you will need to go looking for teachers that can help you learn these lessons and develop these skills
1. Learn all you can about yourself
You will spend your whole life with you. Others will come in and out your life. Some will leave. You will always be there. Learn what makes you happy and what makes you sad. Learn about your values and goals.
2. How to be genuinely happy
You need to learn how to make yourself happy. No other person can make you happy. You may be happier with someone than without them but that should be a choice not a necessity.
Things will not make you happy. It may be easier to be happy when you have the basic necessities of life but more is not always better. Learn to be happy with what you have and then more is more but less is not an end to your happiness.
3. To believe in yourself
You need to be your own cheerleader. Believe in yourself. Be the best you can be and accept that if you please you then that is more than enough.
Believe that if you set your mind to doing something then you will do it. That does not mean you will win every prize or conquer every battle. You will learn that if you set out on a task you will give it your best and that if you do not get to the top it will not be for a lack of effort.
4. Love yourself
If you do not love yourself you make it hard for others to love you. Work on genuinely being the best you there is. Love yourself unconditionally. You are worthy of love whether you win or lose. If you love yourself you will never be a loser. There will just be time you finished in a different place
5. It is OK to fail
You do not hit the target every time. No one makes the basket on every throw. Cut yourself some slack and accept that the cost of accomplishing things includes the times you will miss the mark.
6. The buck stops with you
The buck stops with you. You are in control of your life. There may be times you have limited control. In any circumstance you can choose your attitude. As long as you stay mentally on track you are in charge. Make the best choices you can in the circumstances you find yourself and then give yourself credit for trying.
7. You need positive friends
You will live up to your friends or you will live down to them. Look at your friends. That is who you are about to become. Pick friends wisely.
Friends will support you in trying and succeeding. Fake friends will work to see that you fail. If you want to be a winner hang with the winners. Being a winner is not about the things you accomplish it is about the attitude you have towards what you do. Pick friends with positive attitudes.
8. Help others and accept their help
Do not be one-sided. Help others, it makes you feel good. Let others help you. Accepting help is not a sign of weakness. We all need some help and encouragement from time to time.
Let others have the experience of feeling good when they help you.
9. Communication is about understanding others
Communication is not about making sure others understand and agree with what you are saying. Good communication is about understanding what others are saying.
Lots of heated arguments happen when people think the other person is saying one thing and in fact both people really agree on the subject they just use different words to describe it.
10. Feelings are your friends not your foes
Lots of people were taught bad relationships with feelings. They try not to feel. For them sadness is weakness.
To feel happiness you need to be able to feel sadness. Feelings are not your enemies. More than half of the brain is outside your head. Those feelings in your gut or that pain in your neck, those are feelings your nervous system is sending. Listen to the messages the feeling part of your body sends you. You will be better informed and a better person if you make peace with your feelings and get them on your side.
11. Don’t take yourself too seriously
Take the things you do seriously. Take the big things that matter seriously. Do not take yourself too seriously. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect and those blooper reals can make for some hilarious viewing. Learn to enjoy your own blooper show.
12. Love and laugh
Learn to live and learn to laugh. Love is not about owning or possessing. Love is a feeling we have when we cherish something. Do not try to hold on too tightly to love or you can squeeze it to death.
13. Believe in something besides yourself
It is good to believe in yourself. It is better to believe in something more than you. Believe in right and wrong. Believe in a higher power. Believe in truth and justice. Do not believe that you and you alone have the ultimate definitions of all these things.
14. Learn how to set goals
Learn how to set goals and you will avoid long periods of your life when you drifted aimlessly. If your goal is to drift along and enjoy the scenery for a while do it consciously as part of a plan and hold tight to all the experiences you have and all the things you learn.
15. Learn How to play
Life is not all seriousness. No one gets out alive anyway. Learn to play and learn to have fun. If you have to take the trip enjoy the ride.
Work to teach yourself these life lessons. What other life lessons have you learned? What lessons do you still need to learn?
For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at http://www.counselorfresno.com/recommended-books/