Trigger warning: Suicidal ideation and death.
I feel like I am still celebrating my birthday by continuing with this series of blog posts of 36 things I learned by the time I turned 36, although my birthday was two days ago at the time of this writing.
Some lessons in here I learned only recently. But it’s better than not learning the lessons at all.
Here are the next six things I learned in my life.
Impact matters more than intent.
If something you have done hurts someone’s feelings, you need to take responsibility for that, even if you did the thing with good intentions. The appropriate thing to say would be “I’m sorry for hurting your feelings. What can I do to make things right between us?”
That phrase opens a lot of doors for reconciliation and understanding. Sometimes you may not care that you hurt someone’s feelings, such as when you are receiving unwelcome romantic attention and you want to put a stop to it. But in many cases, it is the right thing to say, especially if you care about the person in any way.
This lesson especially applies to the Black Lives Matter movement. To be a good ally to BIPOC, you need to realize that you still have biases that need to be checked. If you listen to how a BIPOC feels after you said something hurtful (even if you didn’t mean to harm them), then that gives you an opportunity to learn a lesson and be an even more effective ally.
Drinking enough water is necessary for mental clarity.
Your body is mostly water. Clearly, drinking enough water is crucial for the function of your body and mind. If you don’t drink enough water, then you will feel sluggish and unmotivated. It’s amazing what I can accomplish when I drink enough water. I don’t feel tired during the day if I’m drinking water on a consistent basis.
How much water should you drink? The general rule is “half your body weight in ounces” each day. Therefore, if you weigh 150 pounds, then you should drink 75 ounces of water each day. However, if you are eating a bunch of fresh fruits and vegetables, you may need to drink less water because there is plenty of moisture in those foods. When in doubt, ask your doctor.
Some friends aren’t meant to be in your life forever.
Friends are generally in your life for a reason or a season. Once the reason or season ends, so does the friendship generally. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, you may have a college class in common with someone, and you hit it off that semester. Or you may meet someone cool in outpatient therapy whom you talk to during session breaks.
Inevitably, the college class or outpatient therapy program ends. And usually, so does the friendship. This doesn’t mean that you or the other person are bad people, though. Life happens. Things get in the way. People lose communication. It’s completely fine.
If you miss that person, then reach out to them and let them know that you were thinking about them. It takes a few seconds and may make that person’s day to remember the great times they had with you.
You’ll be happier if you live your life authentically.
You run yourself ragged when you wear different “masks” for different people. It’s hard to keep track of what personalities you are performing in front of those people. Eventually, your true personality shows, anyway, and people may feel disappointed or betrayed.
If you stay true to who you are, you don’t have to keep track of anything. You just keep living the way you’re living, and you’re way better off for it.
You need to push yourself a little in order to get out of a depression.
When you feel depressed, you may think that it is difficult to get out of it and return to “normal” — whatever that is! But if you do nothing to make depression pass, then you will stay there for much longer. But you need to do something. You can start out with something small like waking up ten minutes earlier or brushing your teeth at night. It doesn’t have to be anything huge like creating a complete morning routine.
It’s good to get outside your comfort zone to get out of that depression. When you push your limits slightly, that’s where the magic happens, and your mood will lift more quickly.
This, too, shall pass.
It may seem like the shitty situation you’ve found yourself in will last forever. But it won’t. It will eventually pass and you’ll return to the way you were before the hardship took place. However, death is forever. So if you find yourself thinking about suicide, then stop those thoughts by saying or thinking “This, too, shall pass.”
That’s it for now. Stay tuned for six more lessons soon!