We hear it in movies, read it in books and learn about it in school…the way you are raised ultimately affects who you become as an adult. Often, the values your parents live by become your own, the stories of their past become your guide to the confusing puzzle that is life and the advice they offer as you grow up acts as a comfort through the hardest obstacles thrown at you. I am so grateful for the way my parents raised me as well as the amazing values they taught me, but inevitably, the world changes so quickly that a lot of the advice that helped keep you alive whilst growing up becomes difficult to use in a world where social media seems to dictate your life.
Here are a few pieces of advice given to me growing up that I wish I had not lived by.
Life is hard
The three words I heard most often growing up were the above. In fact, I still hear them now whenever I am complaining or annoyed about something trivial. Whilst these words hold validity, I think one of the biggest mistakes I have made in my 22 years of life has been living by this motto. I believed in these words so strongly that I started to think struggling meant I was doing something right, when I was actually just making myself feel unhappy by only focusing on the bad. Living by these three words which constantly haunted me prevented me from getting the most out of my university experience and stopped me from taking part in activities I truly enjoyed because I stupidly felt that if I was not finding life difficult I was doing something wrong, and inevitably, this would mean I would not succeed to reach my goals.
Having been in ‘the real world’ for about a year now, I have learnt that life is only as hard as you make it. No matter what situation you are in and how you are feeling, you can either exacerbate or minimise those feelings depending on how you think and the actions you decide to take. If you are in a shit situation, or in a place in your life where you feel that everything is falling apart and nothing is going to plan, if you dwell on how hard life supposedly is, you are more likely to become stuck in that exact position rather than gathering your mental strength to figure a way out of there. Trust me, I made this mistake so many times that I got sucked into months of endless anxiety and depression.
Now, I’m not saying you need to start doing yoga everyday, eat vegan, go on relaxation getaways or become a buddhist overnight, but it is important to try and change the way you think. As I’ve said in previous blogposts, your thoughts are everything. By trying to focus on the thoughts that feel better, you will feel better, and as a result, life won’t feel so hard anymore. Reading books by Esther and Jerry Hicks and Rhonda Byrne made me realise that life, actually, is not supposed to be hard. Life is supposed to be enjoyable and the bumps in the road are just lessons that strengthen you in the long run.
Dreams are just that…a figure of your imagination
Being from a country that is not socio-economically prosperous meant every single member of my family and relatives held the view that dreams will never come true. Practicality always trumped dreams and hopes that one had as a child. Finding a job that fed your children, kept a roof over your head and ultimately ensured survival became the end goal in life and rightly so.
But, having the amazing opportunity of growing up in a free country, I have only come to terms with the fact that dreams actually have a good chance of coming true, if you have the drive to work for what you want. I wish I had this belief sooner because I would have made so many different choices and I would have actually believed in myself.
A good university + a good degree = eternal happiness
Whilst this attitude would be entirely relevant and true ten years ago, I really don’t see this as the case now. There are so many opportunities out there for people who don’t see university as a path for them. There are now so many apprenticeships and programs that actually pay for you to do a qualification that would not be available to you if you have a degree!
We are now living in an age where, unless you want to work a few education specific jobs, the subject of your degree does not matter. Many graduate schemes just want you to have a degree, no matter what field it is in, as long as you can prove you have a passion for the field you are applying to. Had I known this, boy would I have made SO many different decisions.