In my 44 years, there are a few things I’ve learned (some after much trial and error, some after many times repeating the same mistake over and over again). Here is my life’s list of wisdom (hopefully not the sum total of what I will have learned before I grow old and die):
Hold your tongue. Sometimes, when you speak your mind, the attention is drawn away from the real offender to the offensive thing you said. Sometimes, it is wiser to let them get in trouble rather than trying to do it yourself.
When you talk about someone behind their back, they are often right behind yours. And it’s hard to get the taste of foot out of your mouth.
Don’t believe a word you say. The quicker you are to say “never again,” the more likely you are to eat your words. And your own words often taste as bad as your foot.
People who like you don’t see your flaws as clearly as you do. Be as forgiving of yourself as you are of others.
Don’t try to be someone else. Your strengths and your imperfections have made you who you are–so don’t try to hide those imperfections. Besides, you can always lift weights to strengthen your weaknesses.
Life isn’t a competition. We’ve all been through shit, so don’t begrudge someone else their shit.
It’s not about you. Rejoicing in others’ joy and standing with them in solidarity doesn’t diminish your own experience. Let them have theirs.
Let it go. Pick your battles. Know the difference between what’s worth a fight and what’s worth shrugging off.
One size fits one. If you can’t understand another’s journey, you can’t dictate the route they take. But if you listen, you might learn something.
Burn bridges only if you won’t ever need to cross that river again. (Trust me, you might.) Know the difference between removing toxic people from your life and staying on good terms with those you can take advantage of in the future.