A Young Man’s View On Life And The Lessons We Teach Our Children
My First post, looking for as much descussion as possible, add to my list or Argue if you want to! After all others challenging your views can be the fastest way to learn about them.
Since I made the conscious decision to have a child I have been trying to pull together the wisdoms I think I know, the rules in life that I believe in. Trying to find the best tools used to break through challenges as they come. I’ve been searching for what it is that keeps us going and what lessons I should hope to pass on to my daughter… After all, my job is to be there for her, be her mentor, her carer, her support and to guide her through lifes troubles but I know she will undoubtedly face many of them alone… as we all do.
I believe it is when people forget the below, they begin to lose their inner peace.
Life is simple
I believe that in the end, everything that troubles us in life can be broken down into problems and those problems broken down even further to be simple question that usually have simple answers that we can remember and keep in our minds for when we face the challenges ahead.
Everything we see as complicated is only complicated as a collective of simple things. Even a computer, in the end only operates with ones and zeros. Difficult equations can be broken down into smaller simple ones.
Complex life decisions can be simplified and usually just end up just being difficult to make due to a weak resolve or uncertain moral questions, this doesn’t make it complicated.
Be assertive, Be brave, Stand up for yourself
Arguments, fights, wars. Conflict is a part of life and is always made worse when in the diplomatic dealings of conversations, we say things which we do not at all mean.
Even for the simplest things said. The simplest thing done, do not leave room in people’s minds to question what it is you meant to say or do. When we make conscious decisions, we can be confident. We can stand tall and say I do and say what I believe to be right. Basically, make sure you speak in a way that you are without a doubt understood. Be bold, be upfront and stay strong.
If you are too aggressive you’re hurting others and will probably get more aggression back.
If you are too passive, you will never get what you want and may be hurt.
Assertiveness is the only choice.
It is the same within our own mind. we can have inner conflict while we do not face it, while we are not assertive enough within our own mind, while to don’t face the parts of ourselves or thoughts that feel uncertain. We will have inner tormoil and that, that may appear on the outside in strange and a lot of the time, unhelpful ways.
Never confuse assertiveness with arrogance, with a sense of entitlement or narrow mindedness. While being assertive you can admit to being wrong and in fact to do so is assertive since not to admit incorrectness is avoiding truth. While being assertive you can still be empathetic, just because you are telling someone you can’t help them doesn’t mean you have to be rude about it. Just because you want something doesn’t mean you should ignore another person’s entitlement to it. We are all human and to treat others unfaily on purpose… with assertiveness, is purposeful cruelty.
There is no such thing as good or bad
Now, I don’t mean it’s not in our culture evil to kill another person, or to take another person’s free will. I mean everyone has a different idea of what should and shouldn’t be done in every situation. words so often fall off people’s tongues “you should have” “why not do this instead?” these things should be taken in but never as absolute truths and always with a grain of salt! You may be able to always make what you believe to be the right decision (given enough time for forethought) and someone will always have something to say about it. Same goes with Values. It isn’t wrong or right to spend your life searching for large sums of money. If it is what you want to do, that is what you’ll do. There is no such thing as a right or wrong use of YOUR life.
Keep an open mind but never feel pressured to change your values unless you feel that pressure coming from within you, in the case of a feeling something isn’t right in your life… maybe a rethink is a good idea.
Simple and obvious I know, but it’s not said enough and it’s something people forget. We are all different, different in skin colour, outlooks, levels of intelligence and types of intelligence. We can waste our time in trying to level out people to all think a certain way but it ruins the experience of life. Appreciate the beauty in the freedom we have to do be different. Love and celebrate the difference in the world.
Perspective is a powerful thing and always slightly different between each person. Seeing this as a positive will help you see the whole picture, seeing this as a negative will only serve to narrow your mind. Again, we should appreciate how diverse people can be you never know when someone might see something you just can’t.
People are creatures of habit
In some way or another we are creatures of habit. It is far too taxing on the decision making parts of our brains to constantly be living day to day always doing different things, it’s stressful… It would be like starting a new game everyday without ever finishing to not live without habits. Painful, inefficient and without aim. Know your habits and love them. If they don’t reflect who you are, change them. It takes all the effort in the world to change them but mindfulness and patience for a month or two, making the active decision to do something in the place in that habit will change it eventually.
Complaining, for example, can be as bad a habit as any. It trains your mind to find the flaw in everything that you think most people will find questionable. It is, I think, the opposite of acceptance which trains the mind to be content with what’s is. It is necessary to complain in order to protect your rights but there are also other ways to do that and if you spend you life complaining, you’ll have no time or mental habits to enjoy it.
Never hold grudges
This is not to say we should always forget the troubles other people seem to cause us or that we should simply never get angry although that would be nice.
People have reasons for the things they do and whether you agree with them or not they do what they do. There is no point in holding hatred in your heart forever and always towards them, you will only be making yourself feel worse and in some cases, them feel better. In short grudges empower others, and take power from you.
It is enough to simply know what they do and then you get to decide if you allow them back into your life, what boundaries you set for them. And if you can understand what turmoil in their hearts caused their behaviour maybe then you can even help them and they can be in your life without them overstepping your boundaries.
Opinions are not facts
It is important, so important to separate opinions and facts. This is because our opinions can be discussed but can never be truly right or wrong. Facts can be proven and debated. If we waste our time trying to argue that one opinion is more TRUE than another it will do nothing but offend. Instead give your opinion and rejoice that this person can have all the same information as you but paint a picture that looks so different. Try to understand their opinion, it may be more helpful in life than your own opinions.
For example; you can’t say it’s a fact that chocolate tastes good, a fact that socialism or free market, liberal or labour, running or riding a bike, eating chips or drinking alcohol is universally good or bad. This is because opinions always have argunments for and against.
Age means nothing
This is not to say you can always find well matured wisdoms from a 8 year old even though that is possible. I remember that in my early teens I knew more about basic respect for others than I did in my later teens, most of it was sucked out of me to respect the authority of my elders, which is not the same as respect.
Also people didn’t like to discuss what my thoughts were while they taught me. So when I compared what they were teaching to my current understanding they called that disrespect… this behaviour I’ve noticed is so normal for adults to kids, so weird between peers.
I think it is actually kind of traumatic, as a person to have an extreme change in treatment from toddler to child to adolescent to adult. We learn how to act and react from the start and we learn this by watching others. I think Talking with younger people as you would someone who is your peer, with respect, will help make them grow into strong adults. Same goes with elderly, too often I hear people speak to those who are much older as if they aren’t quite there. They can tell, I promise and whether they are all there or not, be patient, treat everyone as if they are your peer, because ultimately, age means nothing. We all learn different things at different paces. We can learn from children. We can learn from elderly. and they from us.
As a side note and is not a totally different topic from the above, authority is not respect. Never tell a anyone to respect you while you are attempting to command authority, older, younger or otherwise, you cannot claim to be above someone and demand that they treat you as an equal.
If loss is not dealt with, it will eat you alive
“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together than it does to fall apart.” -Suzanne Collins
What I’ve found that breaks us all is loss. Everyone has different ways of grieving, with dealing with it. I’m not gonna say anyway is wrong… I believe what keeps me together best when dealing with the loss of another person (loss≠death) is to remember, remember they want us to be happy even after they are gone, remember how they touched you, changed you, what they did that you loved and that makes you love them. Cherish those memories, embody them and they will live on forever.
It is an endless cycle when younger generations embody the best or the worst of the fallen loved ones. One of my favorite quotes is “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account balance is, what sort of house I live in or what kind of car I drove. But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” - Forest Witcraft.
If you are dealing with material loss, all you need is to remember what is really important, pretty much every religion and philosophy I have heard of thus far teaches us not to be too concerned or to grow too attached to objects, to things. It is what I have seen gets every single person through when they lose anything except the people they love, to remember it is the people you love who matter most, your things may be replaced, belong to someone else one day or turn to dust but those that you love, they’re the true treasure.
The final stage of greif is acceptance which ever path you take, no matter how life happens we must accept loss in order to move on.
Goals & Plans
How can we succeed without them? How would there be a sunset without a sun? Success marks the end of a plan and it’s so important to keep goals/plans in mind as we go through this mess of responsibilities that is life.
We as human beings have an unmatched focus and drive, all we have to do is decide what we want to do with these gifts. We love achieving things, even the little things, it fuels the drive that sends us forward. Savour every victory and never take your eyes off the prize.
Everyone struggles to achieve larger goals than they are used to, so what! If it is worthwhile it will take a while. The more you go through to achieve something, the prouder you can be for your success. And often it’s the hardships that help us to learn what we previously couldn’t.
What ever will be will be
I know this is (as with everything) is easier said than done but once deep rooted into the subconscious it helps us not to get so flustered by potential futures that we see coming, allows us to make decisions to keep things from happening instead of making a bad situation worse. I believe that the more you fear something is going to happen, the less likely it is that you’ll be making the right decisions in general life and will eventually make that thing happen. Take each day by day, cherish every moment, accept what is and that all we can do is try our best (and if it means a lot to you, you should always try your best) but beyond that, it is out of your control and you have nothing to be sorry for, nothing to regret, nothing to fear and no reason to torture yourself.
I grew up watching these films and at the end of each one I felt a little more like it didn’t matter what happened as long as everyone is ok. And that maybe what we want is not what we need to be happy.
I’m gonna say it again later but a pool of water won’t harm you, fearing the water might when you’re pushed into it and panic.
It doesn’t matter what you believe, an ultimate goal is always good - It’s apparently one of life’s great questions just like ‘what came first, the chicken or the egg?’ (it was the egg BTW what a silly question, we were all eggs and sperm before we were people and chickens are no exception XD) and everyone is going to have a different answer, some believe humans as a race have a purpose. I think ultimately it doesn’t matter what reasoning you use, where it comes from. It’s important to have a life goal, which I Compare to what is shown in ‘Rise of the Guardians’ as a person’s “centre” it is what we put into the world. The core of who you are.
I think personally that each person has a different purpose because it is us as people who created the concept of a purpose. I think that each person needs to find their centre in order to obtain a calm mind, to centre their habits. Even if your purpose is to live life and love it or to be great enough that you reach a history book. I think it’s absolutely necessary.
Balance all day, every day, all the time, everywhere
In order for something to last it needs a balance. You wanna live long, have a balanced everything. We can’t last just on green vegetables, just on fish… with too little sleep or too much. Too little passion in life will cause depression or chronic fatigue and too much is sure to make you just as insane or over obsessive.
An enjoyable, long life, I believe is obtained by balance… just like everything else here it’s not a new thought, yin and yang and all that. Pretty simple and I agree with it.
Your attitude will influence everything in your life
I guess this whole post is about attitudes and which attitudes I believe work best… Generally I would say that an understanding attitude in most cases will win you the day. But as I’ve read recently in a book given to me by my uncle “Think and Grow Rich” basic drive and blind optimism can be just as good, I mean it actually showed how those who burned their bridges behind them succeeded quite often because everyone could see their devotion. Attitude goes with who you want to be and how you want people to see you or if you even care about either. Determine which attitude it is you want to have because in the end, that is what it’s all about. That attitude will be how you live your life.
Remember as you go along your day that your attitude is just another habit and one of the hardest ones to break as we get older. Don’t forget to ask yourself if you are happy, because the longer you spend unhappy, the more likely you’ll be bitter when you’re older.
Empathy and Compassion
Not to be confused with sympathy. It is that Pang you get watching someone in an awkward situation or when you see someone unexpectedly fall, seeing someone get their heart broken or just the feeling of glee watching someone fall in love. This is something just about every member of society is capable of and for the most part we all empathise with each other. The difference is often whether or not we express that understsnding, that feeling we get.
It is when we show this feeling of empathy and understanding that we arrive at Compassion. Compassion is as difficult to show as qualities come. It is one of the hardest things to do to be compassionate towards yourself but without doing so, we can’t be intuitively compassionate to others, we would instead give them the same rubbish we give ourselves believing that is what they need to hear.
It is absolutely essential to show empathy if you want to connect with someone. Otherwise how will they know you truely understand them? How will we stop that feeling of Shame or that fear of disconection? Without empathy and understanding from others we can’t and we will feel alone and isolated even surrounded by people who are all watching you, even if those same people are showering you with compliments on your achievements, you will feel alone if they aren’t recognising something deeper.
Think first then act
I hope for most this speaks for itself, our impulses can often be right and by going with their flow we can have some pretty creative and enjoyable results. But, as the illustration above sudgest. By always doing before thinking, you’ll end up with a nail in your hand and potentially a lot of lost friends as your emotions alone will everyday guide your actions. 😉
“A little water will not harm you but panic will” good little quote from the life of pie, a truth for most situations. Allowing fear to send us into panic mode will make anything dangerous, even water when our instincts should be helping us swim. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with bad feelings, stop, think and sort it out.
Set boundaries and respect others
Pulled this definition straight from the internet. “Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits.” Guess I point out the word 'permissible' this means what you think it is acceptable for someone to do whether is causes harm or not. Also important is that the boundaries we set for others we should also set for ourselves. Otherwise we are simply Hippocrates dictating the actions of others to satisfy our happiness doing whatever we want. 👍
Further, just because you think you have a perfect set of boundaries doesn’t mean these will work for someone else. Make sure to take note of what makes other people feel hurt, uncomfortable or when people say 'you’ve crossed a line' because these are the signs that you’ve crossed their boundaries and to do this once you know what they are is often disrespectful.
While I would like to say it is as simple as always being honest, there are times when to be honest would cause unnecessary conflict and others where blunt honesty hurtful. (It’s not always helpful to be right) Instead I would say do your best to be honest while keeping in mind the potential effect for what you are saying. Furthermore if you are searching for honesty in others and especially if you can’t seem to find it, understand that people instinctively lie after telling the truth has earned them a negative reaction too many times.
It’s not enough to simply ask our children to be honest, if you want them to tell you the truth again you’ll reward their honesty with a healthy amount of positive feedback and perhaps and explaination why their behaviour was not helpful if they did something wrong.
Home is a sanctuary
“Sanctuary... is a word which here means a small, safe place in a troubling world. Like an oasis in a vast desert or an island in a stormy sea.” - Lemony Snicket
Home should always be your sanctuary. None of the judgmental behaviour of outsiders or the fear of behaving in the wrong way should weigh you down. It is a place of connection, where you can relieve yourself of worldly stresses and remember only what goes on in your little home for a short while. A place to recharge, relax and feel at home.
Everyday we climb our own little mountains and without trust we stare at the mountain in disbelief that we will be able to climb it. For those who have trust come easy to them, they pass over those mountains as if they are small hills… I’m stretching this analogy a bit far but the point is trust helps us relax, when we trust ourselves we can forgo second or third guessing ourselves, worrying about if we will be able to do it. We let things happen more often instead of consciously forcing them. We can be ourselves.
When we trust others we invite or allow them to help us and we can depend on them in times of need. The safety blanket of having other people around isn’t always good to lean on but we needent fear falling if there is someone around to catch you. Or if you are sure you’ll be able to pick yourself back up.
Understand, identify and if possible have true courage
Brené Brown — Scholar & Researcher of Shame & Vulnerability.
Ok I might be getting most of my education for this last one from Brené brown who spent 12 years and counting researching Shame which lead to vulnerability. I’ve found it all fairly sound and helpful information in many dificult situations. It is probably one of the most important lessens I’ve found regarding feeling well within yourself. To understand Shame, Vulnerability and their relationship to true bravery and their effects our relationships.
First off, this kid up here… the one holding the tiger’s mouth, he is not courageous, he is fearless and there is such a difference. If he had watched videos of tigers hunting, killing and eating pray as well as their Normal reactions to people in the wild. if the boy had been scared and had the courage to do that then sure. But I doubt that is what we are seeing. Lack of fear is usually due to ignorence and only a fool is never afraid.
Vulnerability, Brené Brown had the perfect expample. She compared life to a battle arena. Imagine a knight in layers of armor in an arena fighting off ten men at once, pretty brave right? Then imagine the same man performing completely naked, that would be sure to get a crowd roaring. He surely would be one of the most courageous men, because he did the same thing but being far more vulnerable.
Vulnerability and fear are the best measurement we have for courage, the more vulnerable someone is while being afraid, the longer someone can last without running back to put on the armor the more courage they have. And the most courageous in our society, have the courage to say “I’m not perfect” and to be compassionate to themselves, and then to be authentic and themselves instead of who they thought they should be. And that leaves them with very strong, deep connections with people.
The armor we use is our false persona and the opponent we are facing is disconnection, disconnection from others on a deep level, our fear of disconnection leads us to Shame, fear of not even being worthy of connection. And as I said before, only a fool is not afraid.
However, this armor we put on is essentially the opposite of what we should be putting on in order to achieve connection. It is an effort by us to try and appear to be more palletable people, believing that as we are other will not appreciate or understand us.
People are not tools, we do not have a predefine use. We are not perfect nor do we have a single measurable worth.
The only people in this life worth the description of having inner beauty or being whole hearted are those who embrace their imperfections knowing those are what make them unique. Those who understand Vulnerability is a necessity to life. That you cannot control other people’s responses and to be vulnerable is to embrace that. We can all achieve this by believing we are worthy of connection, worthy of being understood and worthy of being loved.
So I guess that’s it… All I can think of at this time, the sum of my current, very simple understanding of what is needed to lead a happy or successful life. Can you think of an absolute necessity that I’ve left out? I’m sure there are a few I missed.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this. Thank you. 😊