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19 Life Lessons I've Learned In 19 Years

Self-reflection is the key to success.

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19 Life Lessons I've Learned In 19 Years
Allie Gilbert

Coming back to campus, I knew there were several things I wanted to work on in order to ensure a great semester, one of those things being my mindset. I had noticed myself saying that "my life is a mess" and I needed to "get it together." Realistically, don't worry, my life is not a mess, but sometimes that's how it felt. It's overwhelming to address the things that you need to work on, but I noticed by saying I needed to work on a certain aspect of my life by taking it day by day, it felt much more manageable. Little actions I made each day ended up making huge changes in just a few weeks. I've learned a lot of things throughout life so far, and although sometimes you have to learn from experience, these are some big things I've learned that I think are worth noting.

1. You are uncomfortable around the wrong people 

Uncomfortable boy gif

Recently I was talking to a girl I used to babysit, and she was telling me how she gets nervous around certain people, but when she talks to people that she gets along with well, it's almost as if her anxiety doesn't exist. I totally knew where she was coming from because I tend to be quiet in groups where I'm uncomfortable, but I talk a ton when I'm around people I like. That just goes to show who you should be around and who you shouldn't.

2. Everything happens for a reason 

Demi Lovato gif

Whether or not we know why something is happening, I do believe in the statement that everything happens for a reason. To me, this statement is a mindset, because if I am struggling with a certain relationship or part of my life, I take a step back and remember that whatever position I am in is meant to happen to me, and soon I will grow from it.

3. If it's meant to be, it will be 

Tangled gif

Sometimes things happen in life at the wrong times and you just have to move on. This goes along with the phrase that if it comes back to you, it's yours forever, but if it doesn't, then it was never yours in the first place. Things can be right but timing can be wrong, but if it's meant to be in your life, then everything will work itself out.

4. You need to be your own best friend 

I love me gif

At the end of the day, you are the one that lives with your decisions, not anyone else. If you do something in order to please another person, you aren't focusing on your own happiness. It is great to give to others, but it is also necessary to give to yourself.

5. Needing people is okay 

White chicks gif

I've been told a few times that I'm more reserved, not because I don't talk to people, but because I don't share everything with everyone at all times. I tend to be more of a listener and have felt bad when other people have to listen to me, but I've learned that being more vocal is okay. Reaching out, whether I'm struggling or just have something to say, has really changed the way I perceive other people and how they perceive me.

6. Nothing bad lasts forever 

Frozen gif

In the moment it can seem like you are never going to get out of a bad situation, whether it be an anxiety attack of getting over someone, but trust me when I say that nothing bad lasts forever. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and sooner or later you'll forget that you were worried the bad moment would never end.

7. People care about what you have to say 

Spongebob gif

I've realized that sometimes I feel as though what I have to say isn't important, so I just wouldn't say anything. However, not saying anything tended to make me feel even worse. Going into conversations already believing that people wanted to hear my thoughts or opinions made me realize that people actually do care, but you have to give them the opportunity to do so.

8. Adults don't know what they're doing 

Adult gif

When I was younger I always thought adults were so put together and knew everything about life. I know that I'm only 19, but while being at college you realize that no one really knows what they're doing. Experience does increase knowledge, but adults are trying to figure it out just as much as kids are, just in different ways. Life is a constant game of learning for people of all ages.

9. Work ethic is more important than intelligence 

Hard work gif

School has never really come easy to me. I love school and I've always had good grades, but I've never been the person that could skip class or not study for the test and still do well. I've always had to work hard for good results. I feel lucky, though, because being smart will get you places, but if you have no desire to put your intelligence to use or push through tough situations, eventually school is going to catch up with you.

10. "Those people" never go away 

Mean girls gif

I once thought that "popular people" would go away, but obviously they never will. Whether that's good or bad is for you to decide, but even in college, there are still people whose life goals are to have the best Instagrams and Snapchats and look great while doing it.

11. Knowledge is power 

Survivor gif

As you can probably tell, I'm very passionate about everything that has to do with learning and education, but whether or not you love learning, knowledge is still extremely powerful. You don't have to know everything or be everything, but ensuring that you continue to learn and grow brings about a new appreciation for life in which you can teach others what you know.

12. Self-reflection is the key to success 

Reflection gif

Within my education classes, we have talked a lot about what it means to be a reflective practitioner, both in terms of being a teacher and a person in general. Reflecting and analyzing your actions, the meanings behind them, and the consequences that come from them, good or bad, is the key to successfully growing. You cannot get through life without trying to see your actions from an observer's point of view.

13. Forgiving does not mean forgetting 

Modern family gif

Just because you forgive someone does not mean you forget the reasons why they had to ask for your forgiveness in the first place. Holding grudges can be toxic, so practicing forgiveness is very important, but forgetting what happened doesn't hold people accountable for their actions.

14. The truth will set you free 

Late night show gif

Not only does this apply to being honest with other people, but being honest with yourself is something people tend to forget about. We all have had a moment when we really wanted something, but maybe we didn't want to want it or we felt bad for wanting it, so we convinced ourselves otherwise. Being up front with yourself about how you're feeling is so freeing and gives you so much control in your life.

15. Judgment will tear you apart 

Judgment gif

Everyone has judgment, but it really does nothing but harm. We judge because we don't understand or we wish we could do what someone else is doing, but judging other people does nothing but set ourselves back. Focusing on yourself and being confident in that has a lot more value than tearing down the person next to you.

16. Do not regret what you once wanted 

Tom and Jerry gif

Most people live with some regrets in life, but regretting something you did can be controversial because, in most situations, what you did is something you once wanted to do. The person you were before may be different from who you currently are, but you can judge who you used to be, nor can you be mad about the decisions you made that at one point made you happy.

17. "The glass is refillable"

Full or empty gif

I saw an edited version of a famous quote the other day that said "People that wonder whether the glass is half full or half empty are missing the point. The glass is refillable." I love this because we tend to see this as a test to see if you are optimistic or pessimistic, but the point is that whether you see the cup as half full or half empty, there is always an opportunity to fill it back up again.

18. Laughter is life's natural cure 

Laughing gif

Laughter can change everything. There are times to laugh and times where it isn't the most appropriate, but laughing genuinely can turn your whole mood around. Surrounding yourself with people that make you laugh no matter what is a complete life changer and brings you back to the happy reality of things.

19. Move silently 

Stephen Colbert gif

My professor recently said, "If you are actually good and excellent, wait for other people to tell you that you are good and excellent." This isn't to say you need other people's validation to be great, but rather to say that you should move silently and succeed because people will be surprised what you can do, especially when you aren't bragging about it. Focus on yourself and amazing things will come.

It took a lot of reflection to realize everything I've learned about life throughout the past 19 years, but I'm grateful that I have experienced enough to come to these realizations. It is easy to learn from what you've been through, you just have to be sure that you're paying attention.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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