There are many times in life where you have to experience the pain or natural consequence of an action before you learn your lesson, here are a few... some I've learned, some I've watched my kids learn, all of them are hard lessons learned.
1. Don't run in the house.
I can't tell you how many people I know who have been really hurt by running in the house. When I was in Jr. High I ran into a door jam with my hand, and broke my hand in 2 places because I was running in the house. Seriously. My son almost broke my daughter's foot by running in the house just this last week... it was all swollen and sore. It's a good rule, but not a lesson you want to learn the hard way.
I am being a little silly, but I think the true lesson we should learn from this is that we shouldn't always be in such a hurry! Sometimes we act as though we think we are in a race, and we are losing. We drive too fast, we rush through casual greetings, we hurry to our next destination without stopping to "smell the roses". We ask "how are you?" without expecting an honest response or listening long enough to get one. It doesn't seem like we are hurting anyone, but in reality we are short-changing everyone. We are limiting intimacy with our friends and family, we are giving ourselves ulcers and we are not finding joy in our lives. Slow down.
2. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
I know that sometimes someone says something that makes you wish it were true. "Win a free iPad" (by just filling out all of your personal information on 20 different websites, and hand over your credit card number while you're at it... don't want to do that? Sorry, no iPad for you!)
Don't make fun of me, but I once was taken in by a vacuum salesman, and ended up spending 2-3 hours of my life (that I can NEVER get back) listening to his pitch, in order to get a "free weekend at a time-share condo"... that we never got, because when the salesman finished his pitch and gave us the "certificate" we discovered that we would have to fill it out and mail it in along with a $15 "fee" to get a phone number to call to schedule our amazing "free" trip. Sigh. We didn't mail in the certificate. He went home. My husband graciously decided to keep me. End of story.
3. Words have power.
The old child-hood adage "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" is false. Words hurt. Regardless if it is a 9 year old calling another 9 year old a moron, or a parent calling their child an idiot, words can leave lasting damage. Even Facebook "drama" status updates or off-hand sarcastic comments can cause damage.
Last month was bullying awareness month, and I feel strongly that we should (all) work on speaking more kindly to those around us. I am an extremely straight-talking type of girl, I don't mince words where I feel they can be spoken, but even I am aware that sometimes my directness can hurt, even if I believe what I am saying is true.
I found this picture on Pinterest... it says it perfectly!
4. If someone doesn't want to be your friend, you can't force them.
There have been a handful of times in my life where I have been rejected by a friend. It never feels good. I will admit that I have been one who has rejected a friend once or twice. I imagine it hurt them. Recently my daughter (who is only 7 years old!) has been having some problems with a couple of friends. They fight, and then reject each other. I know it's not just the other girls, I know that my daughter says the words "I won't be your friend anymore", and uses her words to exert control over the other girls.
If someone is regularly unkind or rejecting, then they are not your friend. If someone does not want to be your friend, then you have two choices: 1. accept the rejection and redirect your attention toward friends who want you or 2. demand, beg or fight for their friendship, and eventually get back to #1. You can't control other people. You can only control you. (Even that is up for debate.)
5. Life isn't fair
Another child was born the same day, the same year as me, in another country. They ate once a day, if they were lucky. Their family was torn apart by a war, or an illness like AIDS or by slavery. Maybe they had a pair of shoes, maybe they had a roof over their head, and maybe they are still alive, still living a life scratching by on 5% of what we live on. No, life isn't fair.
Maybe we should focus more on being content with what we have, rather than always wanting the newest, and greatest toy, the fanciest car, the perfect figure and face. We are not all created equally smart, beautiful, wealthy or talented, we all have different abilities and are held to different standards. We should strive to be the best possible version of ourselves, not strive to be just like someone else. As is said in classrooms around the world, "You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit, and you make the most of it."