One of the saddest and most tragic things I can think of is when someone goes to the grave still full of all of the dreams, visions, and potential that they could have used to change the world and touch countless lives. My prayer has always been when it’s my time to go, I want to have used everything that was put in me to make a difference in the lives of others. I was inspired to share some lessons I’ve learned from those I’ve come into contact with who have wasted their lives.
1) You have to release your past or it will hold you prisoner.
I know of this guy that spends every waking moment punishing himself for a past that was not even his own. Having been told that he was the product of a rape, he decided to make that his life story. He tried to garner sympathy from anyone within earshot. People began getting weary of hearing that story, and even more, of him using it as an excuse for his behavior. He punished himself for someone else’s past. In essence, he held himself captive in a prison that he built himself, and also had the power to release himself from.
We have all done things in life that we have had to learn from the hard way. Some things we can look back and say we regret. However, we have to move forward. Learn what you can from the experience and let it go. Move on to the next or you allow yourself to become emotionally stunted.
2) Even when the world tells you no, don’t give up.
One story I can think of is one I share with my kids to remind them that no matter how many people say no, it’s up to you to keep pressing. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a Marine Biologist. I was told I would never be able to do it. Instead of pressing harder, I let it discourage me, and didn’t go after it.
Years later, I realized how big of a mistake it was to accept someone else’s discouragement, and someone else’s limited view of what I could achieve. When I stopped allowing people to put limits on me, I became who and what I wanted to be.
3) Speak when you are angry, and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.
Choose your words carefully – they can’t be taken back once you give them away. Harsh words are like bullets, and can and will leave deep wounds. Saying “sorry” is not enough to heal the wounds you leave. In that same breath, don’t make major decisions when angry or hurt. Often those decisions will be rash, and you will regret them.
4) After heartbreak, or hurt, allow yourself the time to heal. Often we put ourselves in a box, and we expect much more from ourselves than we would from others. We don’t allow ourselves the time and the space to properly heal and grieve. In order to give ourselves the best chance at healing and grieving properly, and from struggling down the road, we need to allow ourselves the opportunity to process in a healthy way.
5) Surround yourself with people who see the best in you, and want the best for you.
There will be people in your life that try to attach to you because they see the promise in you. Those are takers. They will pull from you until there’s nothing else for you to give. Align yourselves with people who sow into your life as much as you sow into their lives.