It’s important to practice positive thinking, and I would rather be an optimist than a pessimist. However in order to live a fulfilling life, it’s equally important that we all accept some uncomfortable truths.
Here are ten facts about life that you need to be aware of so you can avoid years of disappointment, fear, and frustration…
1. People come and go
The first uncomfortable truth about life that you need to accept is that everything is temporary, including most friendships and relationships. Some of the people who love you may be able to spend their time with you right now, but it doesn’t mean they will be there forever.
Sometimes it’s a good thing to say goodbye: some of the people we used to interact with may no longer have the attitude, the personality, the outlook, or the energy we would resonate with, and it’s perfectly fine to let them go so you can become a better person and surround yourself with those who make you grow.
Other times it will be a painful experience for both you and your friends, or your partner: though you would love to keep seeing each other, life will have a different plan for you — whether it’s because of a new job, new responsibilities, or relocating to a different part of the country, or even a different part of the globe.
It’s okay to miss people who have made you happy; it’s our natural reaction to a loss. However we must realize that in life everything changes, whether we like it or not, and no matter how much we miss someone, eventually we have to learn to move on.
2. Life is short
To be fair, this is very subjective: you could say that life is incredibly short, but also incredibly long. It just depends on your perspective, and whether you think long term or short term.
However what I have found is that if you are the kind of person who is ambitious — meaning, you want to live life to the fullest, achieve and experience what most people don’t, and have big dreams — your time here on this planet is likely to go pretty fast.
Is this bad news? No, not necessarily. If life didn’t have an expiry date, I doubt we would be happier, more fulfilled, or more productive. In fact, we probably wouldn’t do much because there would be no deadline, no time limit.
Though the thought of death can definitely cause anxiety, if we learn to use it to our advantage, and see it as a motivation to do what we want now, rather than wait forever, it can truly be a blessing. If you believe life is short, or that time goes too fast, don’t complain about it; be grateful: it means every day is precious, and you should make the most of it.
3. Life is unpredictable
We’ve seen how life’s brevity can motivate us, but what about its unpredictability? Can we be happy in an ever-changing, chaotic world where everything seems to be too random, too uncertain, too fast, and outside our control?
Again, the answer pretty much depends on your priorities in life. If you are the kind of person who likes to plan long term, the fact that life and the world are unpredictable is probably a very uncomfortable truth for you, and you may need to become a bit more flexible if you want to stay sane.
The truth is that as human beings we need both certainty and uncertainty. An existence where everything was outside our control would make us feel too anxious; conversely, a boring, dull life where we experienced the same things over and over again would lead us to depression and apathy (if you think your life is too boring, check out these tips).
So to be fair, life’s unpredictability is probably a good thing. And while the worst negative events in our life are those we did not expect, it’s also true that some of our most joyful moments are the result of life’s surprises — the wonderful miracles we could not foresee or predict in any way.
4. You are going to make mistakes
Here’s the thing: even if you are a highly intelligent individual, you are going to make a lot of mistakes in life. You are going to fail. You are going to experience disappointment. And that’s okay. In life, we are supposed to make mistakes so we can learn and grow.
Though school may have taught you that everything you do should be perfect, that’s not how life works. In order to become mentally and emotionally strong, you shouldn’t expect to have the kind of life where everything is smooth and you always make the right decision.
And since you are going to make mistakes anyway, learn to appreciate them because they give you the opportunity to grow. Rather than dwelling on your past, or thinking that you have been stupid (that’s what many people do), be grateful for the fact that the Universe, or God, taught you a lesson.
Interestingly enough, some of our mistakes can even be blessings in disguise, and lead us to a better relationship, career, or environment. For example, you may decide to quit your current job and move to a new city, and it may turn out to be a huge mistake; however precisely because of such mistake you could meet the love of your life, become a more spiritual person, or start your own profitable business.
5. Your willpower is very finite
You may think that you are a very disciplined person, and that you have excellent self control and patience; and while it may be true if you compare yourself to the average person, you need to realize that, as a human being, your willpower is weak.
This is why it’s so important to eliminate all unnecessary distractions, focus on quality rather than quantity, and avoid energy vampires like the plague (more on this in a minute).
Your ability to stay productive and focus on the things that truly matter to you isn’t that of a superhero, especially if your physical and mental health aren’t optimal. So if you want to achieve your goals and dreams, you need to protect yourself from external negative energy and distractions.
The truth is that if you have too much of anything in your life — too many friends, hobbies, material possessions, responsibilities; too much stress or work — it will be almost impossible for you to get what you want. When it’s time to make it happen, don’t be afraid to reduce or eliminate external distractions because your willpower is a lot weaker than you think it is.
6. You are responsible for your own self worth
The more you base your self worth on other people’s opinion of you, the less likely you will have a fulfilling life. The honest truth is that way too many people think others define their value, and consequently they end up being unhappy.
Your self worth is important because it determines the quality of your life; a high self esteem tells your mind that you deserve the best. It’s perfectly fine to appreciate the compliments of your close friends, your partner, your family, or even a stranger who just saw your social media profile, however it’s essential that you do not rely on that to be happy because if you do, you no longer have control over your happiness.
Also: while those who are close to you will probably share the same values, and will compliment you if they think you are at your best or you are doing the right things in life; the opinion of the general public probably shouldn’t interest or affect you in any way, simply because your priorities are not theirs.
One of the uncomfortable truths you must accept is that even though it feels good to be liked by others (it’s one of the basic human needs), if you don’t learn to detach from it, you are going to have a tough time. So if you haven’t already, decide that you are going to have a positive self image no matter what, and that other people’s thoughts don’t really affect you.
7. What you own owns you
Though you don’t need to become an extreme minimalist, you do need to understand that the more material possessions you have, the more time, energy, and money you are going to have to spend on them.
You know what makes you happy, and if you truly want to be surrounded by a lot of beautiful objects, that’s the kind of lifestyle you should aspire to. However do not expect to have a lot of freedom, free time, energy, and also a lot of stuff at the same time. In most cases, what you own ends up owning you, so be very clear about your priorities in life before you become a “maximalist”.
Also, take the time to think about each of your material possessions and ask yourself: does this item make me happy? Do I feel better when I use, or look at, this item? Is this item useful, or at least does it give me positive energy? If the answer is yes, great! Otherwise, you may actually want to reduce the amount of things you own.
As we examine our things with a critical eye, we may be surprised how much of it commemorates our past, represents our hopes for the future, or belongs to our imaginary selves. Unfortunately, devoting too much of our space, time, and energy to these things keeps us from living in the present.— Francine Jay
8. Some people can drain all your energy
I have written an entire article on energy vampires and how to protect yourself, because some vampires can be incredibly insidious and ruin your mental health if you allow them to.
One of the uncomfortable truths about life is that sooner or later you will meet an energy vampire, and not only will this person ignore your feelings — he or she will take advantage of your good nature. Some vampires will bombard you with negativity, drama, or the latest horrible news; some will ask for your time and eventually expect you to be available 24/7; some will even be abusive.
The good news is that once you learn to recognize them, and say no, they will stop bothering you because they won’t be able to drain your energy anymore. Once you develop a higher self esteem and you are not afraid to ignore the vampires, it’s like being immune.
An energy vampire may pretend to be a friend — someone who cares about you, or someone who wants to help you out — however their true intention is to steal your time and energy. As soon as you spot a vampire, either establish boundaries and be assertive, or cut them off from your life: your mental health will thank you. To find out more about the main types of vampires and how to deal with them, you can check out this article.
9. You shouldn’t be average
The brutally honest truth is that the average person isn’t able to control their emotions, doesn’t really like their job or career, and has an overall unexciting, unfulfilling existence. So it’s probably a good idea to create a life that is not average, as well as to develop a mindset that is unlike that of most people.
It doesn’t mean you must have more money, more friends, or more material possessions than the average person. And you don’t have to be more intelligent or more attractive either. What you do need to work on to truly be above-average is, put simply, your happiness.
If your mental health is optimal; if you are crystal clear on what you want in life, and you are not afraid to work toward it; if you are willing to learn about psychology and how the human mind works, so you can master your thoughts and emotions (rather than being controlled by them passively), I guarantee you will be way happier than most people.
An average life isn’t what you should aspire to, so take the time to discover your unique talents, your dreams, and what truly makes you fulfilled, and do whatever it takes to make that come true.
10. The past does not matter
Whether we like it or not, the past doesn’t matter. It’s true that what we have done and what we have experienced so far has shaped who we are, and there’s nothing wrong with being proud of our past, but ultimately what truly matters is the present moment.
If you are the kind of person who bases their self worth on their past, this may be an uncomfortable truth. However if you are ashamed of your past, and you want to move on, the realization that your past does not define you can be liberating.
Dwelling on the past causes unnecessary feelings of sadness and regret, just like worrying about the future can induce anxiety. If you want to be happier, learn to focus on the present moment, and do not give too much importance to what happened or what you think will happen. It’s not worth your precious energy.
Your past does not matter. It doesn’t define who you are. And it shouldn’t determine your future aspirations. Detach from what was, and be open to what will come.
Which of these resonates with you the most? Let me know by leaving a comment! 👇