This post is an essay on a few lessons I learned living in a negative spiral lasting a decade. It is not life advice for anyone but only a guide for myself to refer to again when I need it. These lessons and this essay will change over time as I experience more.
Increasing awareness and perception in life about every topic relevant to it is helpful. Information is a strength. If you’re more aware of the essential things in life, you’re more confident. This confidence and awareness will help you and motivate you to explore more, which will increase your information and hence, awareness.
The best way towards becoming more aware is to read more. Read history, read science, and read autobiographies of other people1. Another way is going out and experiencing things. But make sure that you don’t take the experience as a universal fact. Forgive yourself if you make mistakes. Be objective in your approach.
Whenever you read something or have an experience, you can learn from it and take notes to help you as you can come back to it when you need it.
Seek help when you need it
There’s no shame in asking for help. Asking for help makes you humble and strengthens your relationship with others. Asking for help at the right time is a lot better than regretting for many years afterward and losing your self-esteem along the way. Seeking help makes you human, gentle, and polite.
Seeking help makes you friendlier. You gain more friends and, in fact, better friends. With more good friends, you can get better help sooner. And you help them when they need it, and both sides can grow.
It’s essential to be free from any fear. Fearlessness will allow you to explore more as you’ll be more self-confident. When you explore more, you’ll learn more and, in turn, be more aware, more confident, and will explore even more unknowns. When you’re free from fear, you’ll meet new people, look up and take up more opportunities; travel to faraway places.
Fear is the worst trap and most significant hurdle. Your mind causes it. Let go of the fear of failure. If something does go wrong, learn from it. Evaluate the event based on situation and circumstance, without victimization and blaming anyone or anything. Learn from the experience, stand up straight, and move ahead with even more awareness.
Don’t be needy. You do not need approval from others. You don’t need to explain yourself to everyone. Don’t let others use you. Prioritize yourself, your health, your fulfillment, above else. But don’t let it turn into arrogance and ego.
Ensure that you’re aware and ready to seek help if you need it (2). Failure should not make you hide aware that you don’t ask for help. Fear causes low self-esteem and low self-confidence, which tends to make you shrink within yourself. It’s a vicious negative cycle. Do not trap yourself in that.
Do not take anything at the face value
Almost everyone with whom you interact is seeking something from you. There is nothing wrong with that; what others do is not in your control. When people seek something (except close friends seeking help) they’ll offer you something in return. It would be best if you did not take an offer like that on its face value.
More often than not, there will be exaggerated promises to make the offer more desirable. There will be a lack of common vocabulary. You must do your independent research and seek help from a trusted friend who is more knowledgeable or more experienced. Increase your awareness before a decision.
Take extra caution with any offer or threat proposed by someone with a tag of ‘urgent’ as they are known to be false or a trap to hold you against ransom or at least has a better alternative. And if someone is trying to threaten you with a tag of ‘urgent’ or if there’s an ‘urgent’ situation that you cannot verify independently, you must exit that situation immediately and block all the contact from the other party. But keep a record of it.
Anything urgent must be fully verified, which you can do by increasing your awareness, lowering your expectations, being a skeptic, and letting go of fear.
Health is the greatest asset. If you’re unhealthy, you’ll not work at your full capacity. You’ll be uncomfortable, and your attention will be diverted. You’ll not be fully aware, and you’ll have an increased tendency to make mistakes. Small health issues today, if left unattended, can lead to bigger, chronic diseases tomorrow.
Being healthy will make you more confident and comfortable in your body. You’ll be focused on the work, you’ll be more aware, and you’ll take up more opportunities as you’ll have more energy and self-esteem. A healthy mind resides in a healthy body.
You can make yourself by following a healthier lifestyle, which is simple. You must get adequate sleep, on a comfortable bed, for ~8 hours at night. Exercise for 45 minutes every day and walk+run for ~30 minutes every day. Meditate for ~30 minutes every day. Shower, wear clean clothes, do laundry and dishes regularly.
If you’ve any health issues, seek help. See a doctor. Be more aware of diseases and physical problems. Get a preventive screening for body, eyes, dental regularly. Wash your hands, breathe fresh air.
You must eat healthy food. Be aware of the effects of what you’re intaking. Remember, garbage in, garbage out. Do not eat junk food. Add more fiber and whole grains to your diet. Lessen carbs, eat more fruits and vegetables. Pay attention to your body’s response to different foods, and adjust your diet accordingly. Eat-in variety. Experiment with fasting. You must take good care of yourself and have zero tolerance for anything with adverse effects.2
Drink lots of water.
Mental health is equally important. Let go of regrets, thoughts of vengeance, and a hurtful past. Be gentle and forgive your past self. Your past self did the best possible in given situations and circumstances with little information it had without any mentor.
You’re resilient, persistent, and you’ve endured a lot. Learn from your past; forgive your past self. History is no place to pass blames and victimization. You’ve been through a lot. It’s time to stand up straight with your shoulders back. Everyone in the past events did what they could in the situation and the circumstances they had to face. Learn and be more aware now. Forgive yourself.
Manage your finances
Money is an essential resource for you to live your life healthy and happy. It takes money to experiment, to go out and enjoy experiences, and to learn new things. Without money, you may lose on opportunities and feel trapped with a feeling that you cannot grow. You’ll not be able to spend much on health, travel, and experiences. If you don’t manage your finances carefully, it’ll cause stress, financial, and mental, which will affect your overall health, happiness, and confidence.
To manage finances, you must learn and continue learning about them. Save, be vigilant of your spending. Invest, and invest carefully. Make sure you’re out of whim, instant impulse, and with a sense of urgency. Be aware of your situation, what might come, and seek help to learn about it when you need it. Spend on experiences and not on stuff—Cook at home. Keep yourself healthy, which will reduce the chance of needing to spend on cures.
This does not mean you make yourself miserly. Money is there to help you live with satisfaction and comfort.
Make yourself good at your work and job to earn so much that money is not an issue anymore. Prioritize expenditure on health, education, investments, and fulfilling experiences. Do not spend on weird fancies and items you do not need. Spend on quality rather than quantity. Maintain what you purchase. Scrutinize yourself so that no one else has to.
Focus on investing. Be vigilant of what you’re investing in and follow up with your investments regularly. It takes money to make money. Learn from any losses and invest better. Continuously learn from everyone’s experience. Cut down bells and whistles from your life that you don’t need. Anything that is not relevant to your goals, which is not useful in living life, and does not bring you utmost joy, should be thrown out and should not be purchased.
Be a minimalist and own only necessary items. Money is important. Make sure you respect it, and it will respect you back.
Life is short – Be self-aware, Practice silence
You have a short life, and it must not be spent tolerating bullshit, doing unimportant activities, and unaware of yourself.3 Whichever thing you do, ask yourself, will it be helpful and relevant to yourself ten years from now? Will he thank you for doing this? If the answer is No, do not do that thing.
Do not waste time on bullshit life TV Shows, identities, anything that can become an identity — like politics, religion, social media, fast fashion, and intellectual waves. Do not attach labels to yourself. Do not attach yourself to anything. Do not identify yourself with anything.4
Be independent-minded.1 Do not try to fit in by forcing yourself to follow conventions blindly, which you don’t appreciate. Do not seek approval from others or waste time on what others will think of you. They are not thinking of you. They will never think of you. They’ve their own lives and situations which keeps them busy. Do not scroll mindlessly. Be aware.
Learn about yourself. Be mindful. It would be best if you were self-aware to be more confident, happier, successful, and satisfied. Self-awareness will increase your perception of your faults and your strengths. It’ll help you strengthening your weaknesses and keeping yourself alert. Knowing yourself is simple. It will help if you spend time with yourself. Not with the thoughts of past and future, or someone or something, but with yourself. Understand yourself. Meditation and focussed attention are helpful.
Practice silence. Be quiet. The quieter you become, the more you’re able to hear (-Ram Dass).5 Almost no one is interested in your life story. They’ve their own, which is more familiar, immediate, and essential. Do not expect others to be as excited as you’re for anything, anyone, or any event as it interests you. Keep your interests like books, music, and movies to yourself and out of your identity. These are transient. Nobody else cares, nor should they.
Spend time in solitude. Spend time in nature.6 Spend your energy in creating rather than consuming. Buy less. Spend your time living life, rather than analyzing the past and making plans all the time. Make a distance from your thoughts. Not all thoughts are accurate. The thoughts aren’t real. Thoughts are transient. Thoughts change. Do not run explanations and conversations in your thoughts.
Change is the only constant. Let go. Create yourself anew.