A couple of months ago, I invited readers of this column to write about lessons life has taught them. So today I’m going to let readers describe for themselves what they have learned from life and from their relationships.
A woman from Denver says: My greatest regrets are things I have said to people in my anger that can never be taken back. Now I step back from the situation and decide whether the conversation is worth the damage it may cause. I wish I would have learned this long ago. Someone I loved tried to teach me this, but I ignored his advice—and lost him completely.
Another woman writes: I was mentoring a disadvantaged child for 8 years. We passed by a woman sobbing and using inappropriate language. I’m sure I had a disgusted look on my face. Little 8 year old Kiana simply stated something like: “She sounds hurt.” I have always understood empathy. I think Kiana understood suffering.
A man wrote: When I was 15 we lived in a small Missouri town. I made a vow to tell my dad how much I appreciated him, but he died before I did so. Lesson learned: Say it now—you may never get another chance to do so. A man from New Zealand talks about this in a different way: I have been married for nearly 25 years. I didn’t see the warning signs that my wife was unhappy, and her decision to move out was a complete shock. The most important things I have found in life is to treat your loved ones with the care and respect they deserve.
A woman wrote: “I can respect someone without loving them, but I cannot love someone I don’t respect.” Another woman wrote about the importance of praising her own child whenever she could. A 70 year old woman from Denver says she’s learned 3 life principles: 1.) Relationships cultivated with family and friends buys happiness; 2.) It’s not all about me and 3.) It’s time to give back. A woman from New Zealand writes: I have learned that we can create a bond with anyone we meet if we really listen to what they are saying.
Finally, readers wrote about living life well. A man writes: I spent too many years seeking approval from others. My life has taught me that the only person who needs to be happy with me is me. A woman from Texas said: It’s important for me to take pride in what I do. It helps me to consistently work hard and do a good job. One reader wrote: It’s not about being right. It’s about doing what is right. Another woman writes of the value of living each day with compassion and a grateful heart. And a reader from New Zealand adds: Enjoy the little things in life, because one day you will look back and realize that they were the big things.