25 Things I've Learned From Pain & Heartbreak

In my article 25 Things I Am Still Learning, I wrote about my life philosophy: Ancora Imparo — I am still learning. These words, attributed to Michaelangelo, ring true for me every day. I'm happy to note that some lessons have stuck with me, even as I continue to learn and grow.

As I continue to learn life lessons, I also begin to wonder more about the quality of questions I’m asking. Under all of this is the fact that I know I'll never be done learning. And since learning often comes only through serious pain, heartbreak or tragedy, it's my sincere hope is that the lessons become gentler as we work our way through life. Perhaps this list can reduce the suffering part of your learning even a little bit. I’d like that.

Here are 25 things I've learned so far: 

1. Life isn't fair. Terrible things happen to good people.

2. It’s more important to be happy than it is to be right.

3. Winning isn’t everything, whether its getting a promotion, more money, winning Amazing Race or getting the most likes on Facebook.

4. Time may not heal all hurts. Some pain lasts a lifetime.

5. Once your basic needs are met, money doesn’t affect your happiness.

6. Fear is learned. It can also be unlearned.

7. Love is the question: Peace is the answer.

8. Truth is the foundation for love and peace.

9. Disorientation is only temporary. Getting lost is not a problem.

10. The antidote to uncertainty is not certainty. You will never have proof before the present moment.

11. Everyone gets angry; sometimes really angry.

12. Be true to yourself. Pretending is not a long-term solution.

13. Learning how to relax is vitally important. Practicing how to do nothing is an art.

14. You are responsible for what you make of your life. The quality depends on you.

15. You are never 100% in control of situations, people or things. You are 100% in control of the way you think about situations, people and things.

16. Pain happens; suffering is optional.

17. Most of our problems are just conditioned habits and stories we make up in our heads.

18. Overprotecting ourselves takes up unnecessary energy.

19. Healthy relationships (romantic and otherwise) require effort, physical touch, and loving kindness.

20. Everyone gets sad.

21. Listening is the heart of healthy communication. Talk less.

22. When all else fails surrender the need to know, the need to be needed, the need to hold on. Learn how to let go.

23. Practicing gratitude gives you more energy and makes you happier.

24. Making fun a priority keeps you inspired! Go on at least one new adventure per year.

25. Life is not a rehearsal. This is it.

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