Here are five things you probably need to hear.
#1: Not everything that happens to you is your fault, but everything that happens to you is your responsibility.
Immediately, you might be thinking to yourself, “How is everything that happens to me my responsibility? I can't possibly account for every little thing that life throws my way–the chaos, the triumph and when something will inevitably go wrong.”
That's not exactly what I mean. For most of us, our domain of influence is fairly small. We usually go to similar places, see similar people, and do similar activities as we do most days. Occasionally we step outside the norm and we meet new people and experience new places, and along the way we'll be put in situations that make us feel uncomfortable or even angry. We'll talk to people who we think are idiots, and occasionally we'll be blindsided by tragedy or misfortune. I don't have to tell you what life is like, life is spicy. But it is our responsibility to figure out what we're going to do about it. Because whose responsibility is it? You are responsible for your own physical fitness, mental health, and social life. You’re responsible for the types of people that you're inviting into your life and the type of reaction that you have when things don’t go your way. When you break it down like this, it's really hard to think of something that's NOT your responsibility. Aren't you tired of delegating the responsibility of your own flourishing onto other people? It's probably time you have some confidence in your ability to make decisions for yourself and to assume responsibility over the outcomes of your life–regardless of whose fault it may be. Because at the end of the day, it affects you. So what are you gonna do about it?
#2: Life gets easier when you're on your own side.
If you love yourself and treat yourself with respect, you'll have more love to give to others. But when you dislike yourself and treat yourself poorly, you'll start to subliminally feel unlovable and worthless. If this is your default mode of being and continue to treat yourself poorly, then every social interaction that you have will be tainted with the need to solve this inherent problem of feeling worthless.
We all need to feel loved and accepted. If you starve yourself of your own approval off the bat, then every interaction you have will be trying to gain approval back from those around you. You'll start to rely heavily on other people to make you feel validated and worthy. If you allow yourself to do this long enough, you'll start to lean on this external validation like a crutch–addicted to compliments, and constantly searching for approval. You may start to wear bold clothes that you don't even like with the sole purpose of trying to get compliments, and when that attention doesn't come, you’ll start to become unjustifiably resentful. Passive aggression may loom over you for no reason because you feel they owe you something. Every interaction becomes an exchange of some sort; you compliment people just so they will compliment you back. Your whole day is just ruined if someone treats you poorly; because when a person not only refuses to return your compliment, but they are also rude to you… they become public enemy number one. But at the end of the day, what you think other people owe you, you owe to yourself. If you start treating yourself like somebody that you genuinely care about and want the best for, then it will change every single aspect of your life. It will change the way you walk into a room, the way that you interact with other people, the clothes that you wear, the way that you speak, and every decision that you make. When you treat yourself with respect and you love yourself, then you will actually be able to compliment others without expecting any in return. You will actually have the ability to be generous with your time, your attention, and your resources because you genuinely want to and it’s coming from a place of abundance. Treating yourself with respect has a ridiculous ROI.
#3: Nobody owes you anything.
You are not entitled to any job position, lifestyle, or relationship. Just because you have big muscles and workout doesn't mean you're entitled to a hot girlfriend. Maybe your personality is equivalent to a wet sock or a dirty diaper. Just because you have a business degree from a community college, doesn't mean that you're entitled to be on the board of directors. Even if your business degree is from Harvard or some other prestigious school, you're still not entitled to anything.
The type of person who walks around as if the world owes them, is usually lacking in something–and they're usually very ungrateful when they get the thing they think they deserve, and when they don’t get it, they become vengeful. The type of person who thinks this way usually has a giant ego with an idea of themselves that is disconnected from reality. They probably have some delusion of grandeur where they want to appear on the surface that they're better than they actually are. But ego distorts truth and stunts growth. Ego is far more concerned with being somebody rather than doing something. If you followed the second point and started treating yourself like somebody you're responsible for helping, then you wouldn't require others to give you things to make you feel whole. You'll start to want certain positions because of a genuine confidence that you add value. So instead of chasing status, you could work on developing competence. Focus on the craft–not the corner office. Because 99 times out of 100, your work will speak for itself.
#4: Communism has failed every time it was tried.
#5: It's going to be okay.
Despite my tough-love tone, I can’t pretend to know what you're going through right now. You could be having the best time in your life up to this point. You might feel exuberant and optimistic – as if a cinematic background track is scoring your every step and conversation. But for a lot of people, I know that's not the case. Maybe you are going through something that is incomprehensibly tragic. Life has a habit of doing that to a lot of people. I know it's hard to think about and that it might be hard to imagine that things could get better. Sometimes it doesn’t get better for awhile, but I have noticed personally that when I look back over even the darkest periods of my life, I don’t regret them. There was always so much to learn in those times of darkness–about yourself and other people. I believe that if you have compassion for yourself and others and realize that you’re still responsible for your own happiness, that you can still make something of the difficult times. As long as you're voluntarily willing to confront whatever your situation is with humility and perseverance, something good always comes–at least that's been my experience. The only time something good doesn't arise, is if you bury your head in the sand and give up. But even then, I feel like we're given countless second chances in life. So if you are currently burying your head in the sand, consider lifting it, looking around, dusting yourself off and getting back on the path. Because at the end of the day, if you are willing to stick with it, things will turn out okay. Even if you're not okay, that's okay too. It's going to be okay.