Sunday, 18 December 2011

What did I learn in 2011

Following on from the blog I wrote back in 2009, I'd like to continue in the same vein with what I've learnt this year.

Don't expect others to treat you the same way you treat them
I'm an optimist who always looks for the good in other people. I take the time to get to know someone, learn what they like or dislike. I'm a people person, and like getting to know people and make new friendships. An assumption I tend to make is that everyone will treat me the same way I treat them. With respect, fairness, kindness and loyalty. I've come to realise that this ideal is far from true. Some people do not appreciate the way in which I have treated them, and have instead treated me unfairly or badly, despite the fact that I have done nothing to deserve such treatment.

This has been a very painful lesson, but one that I'm glad to have learnt. Although it caused me much pain and upset learning this lesson, it has truly made me a much stronger person because of it.

My new mantra from now on:
Demand nothing.
Assume nothing.
Expect nothing.

There is little to be gained from thinking that everyone believes or behaves the same way that I do, because clearly some people simply don't.

Why waste my time on people who hurt me when there are people who are waiting to make me happy.

Everything happens for a reason
I have long believed in this philosophy, and it has come home to roost on several occasions this year. So this is not so much a lesson learnt, but a lesson reaffirmed. Enforcing and reaffirming this particular lesson was the cause of a certain amount of hurt for me this year. You cannot change another person, or force a situation to go in a particular direction. So I found myself in a situation I didn't want to be in, and only by reminding myself of this lesson did I manage to find my way through it.

You can analyse a situation, pick over the pieces and wonder what could have happened differently. Or you can simply walk away and learn from the experience. I think the latter way of dealing with such things is far more constructive.

Don't waste my time defending myself to other people
I'm most certainly guilty of this. If someone says something that is untrue or unfair about me, I always feel the need to defend myself, and set the record straight. I have had things said about me this year by people who I thought were friends. I've since learnt that my true friends won't believe them anyway, and I shouldn't care about what anyone else thinks. This has been a hard lesson to learn, and sometimes the instinct to defend myself (my reputation, my character or whatever) kicks in, but I'm slowly learning that the people who know me and care about me will know me well enough to either ask for my side, or not believe them anyway. People will sometimes deliberately say something hurtful just to get a reaction, and up till now I've foolishly given them what they want. It's a drain on my precious time and energy, so from now on, I don't care who says what about me.

Don't waste my time with negative people
Some people just seem to be constantly negative, unhappy or moody all the time. They never have anything positive to say. They are tiring and draining to be around, they suck the energy from you. If I could measure the energy that I have lost to these people it would be a very sizable quantity. Energy that I could have invested elsewhere. I have also discovered that negative people are experts at defending their negative outlook and refuse to change, or even acknowledge that change is possible. "It's not my fault, I've had a rubbish day" and "I like being moody" are phrases I've actually heard. I would much rather spend my time with people who have a positive outlook on life, and don't constantly blame other people or their situation for their lack of positivity or happiness.

More pearls of wisdom
Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.

I've learnt that it takes years to build up trust, and it only takes suspicion, not proof to destroy it.

The past cannot be changed, the future is still in your power.

Don't let today's disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow's dreams.

Do not wait for your ship to come in, get in your boat and row out.

The only place where dreams are impossible is in your own mind.

There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.

Never regret anything, because at one time it was what you wanted.

As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will.

You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it's harder every time. You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken.

Those who look for offence will find it where none was given.

You'll fight with your best friend.

A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.

When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won't get it, but if you believe in yourself, probably, sooner or later, you will get it.

Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.

Always tell someone how you feel about them. You will feel much better when they know.

Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.

I've made many mistakes this year, and got a lot of things wrong. But I'm the sort of person who reflects on his actions. Life is indeed a journey of continual learning, and every day is an opportunity to gain new wisdom and experience. So it's fair to say that I got a lot of things right too.

Thank you to everyone who has read my blogs this year, I hope you keep reading them next year too :-)

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