The Life Lessons We Should Have All Been Taught


Words by Safiyyah Hanif

As children we are taught how to solve algebraic equations and chemical formulas, yet we are never taught how to love, be kind and how to survive life. It is our duty to teach others, no matter their age or gender, how to embrace difficult situations and become a stronger person because of it. Often the most valuable lessons we learn are not easily taught in a classroom, they are learnt through experience and mistakes and through others.

Hurt, heartbreak, and rejection are all perfectly normal emotions and experiences to have, in fact, it is where we grow and reassess our choices. It is important to know that feeling this way does not make you a failure. It makes you human. We need to be shown that to be vulnerable is not a weakness.Often the situations that force us outside of our comfort zone are where we stumble upon our real strength, the kind of strength that makes you realise that you were a superhero all along, your cape just stayed invisible until it was time. We are taught to have our entire future mapped out, meaning that every deviation can feel incredibly disheartening. But a deviation is simply a step in a different direction, leading you to the path of success and happiness. Probably one of the most crucial but overlooked qualities we should be educated on is the ability to empathize and be a kind individual. Whilst it is imperative to focus on looking after yourself and your health, we should be taught to have an awareness of making others happy, too. Showing kindness and your softer side is again never a weakness and always a strength; the ability to remain kind towards yourself and others during tough and turbulent times is incredibly admirable. Take the time to listen, forgive more, and encourage human connection.   

Simple acts of kindness to loved ones and strangers are what build the foundation for the fulfilling relationships that we all desire.When it comes to relationships, of any kind, we should be taught to look inwards before looking outwards. A relationship should never be about looking to someone else to find validation and confidence; creating that for yourself first will allow you to be the love that you want to attract, and understand what your core values and beliefs are so that you can align with people who complement you. Remember that not everyone will like you or understand you or accept you, and that is OK. Being liked by everyone is not the end goal, the goal is to give and receive unconditional love in the way you deserve.As with all relationships, but particularly friendships, quality over quantity is the key. You can be surrounded by many people and still feel lonely; the process of recognizing a real friendship can be challenging and it is important to remember that some people will not stay your friends forever. Losing friends is hard but holding onto one that no longer exists is even harder. Ask yourself who you want to be surrounded by and never settle for anyone who doesn’t uplift you or care for you. Friendship should be satisfying, fulfilling, and full of laughter. The best relationships you have will be those that are built on a foundation of acceptance, understanding, and appreciation. You have to judge for yourself whether a relationship is right and always have the courage to walk away when it feels wrong. 

Let us talk about money. You should understand that money is not everything. Yes, it can help you to build the lifestyle you aspire to and keep you in a place of safety and comfort, however the number on your bank statement will only ever be as fulfilling as the people you share your life with. Always work hard to have a job that is rewarding and allows you to become financially stable but don’t get lost in the moneymaking epidemic. At the end of it all, your success will be judged by how much love and laughter you created, not how much you got on your last pay check.

It is almost too easy to educate people into believing that following the rules is the best way to go through life, sometimes that might be true but sometimes breaking the rules is the best thing you can do! Don’t always believe what you are told, listen to the advice of others but remember that ultimately you should do what you know is right. Go with your gut and don’t be scared to take risks. Allowing yourself to be confined or limited by the imaginations of others is where you will lose out on the chance to attain those dreams and goals that you aspire to.

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Safiyyah Hanif is an English Literature Undergraduate who believes that words are one of our most powerful weapons. She enjoys writing about the topics that others don't dare delve into and uses her voice to connect with others. She believes that honestly and self expression are true works of art.