As children, we’re taught that anything is possible. If we work hard, we can accomplish anything. People will like us for us. We’re unique and special.
Accepting Life’s Harsh Truths
When we hit adulthood, we realize the truth. Most of the pleasantries we hear throughout childhood aren’t true at all. These bitter pills are tough to swallow, but accepting them early on is better.
Parents love their children and protect their egos from suffering. Sometimes they do us a disservice by allowing us to behave horribly.
When we’re adults, we need to accept the truth. We’re annoying, and people don’t like our behavior. Once we accept that, we can work to change ourselves.
You Can’t Help
Have you ever watched someone spiral deeper and deeper into addiction? They refuse treatment, and despite your best efforts to pull them out, they fall further.
Once you accept that you can’t help everyone, your life improves. You can’t help people who don’t want to be helped, so stop wasting your efforts trying.
Family Means Nothing
We all have an idealized notion of family. Family is someone who loves and supports you no matter what.
Unfortunately, many of us realize early on in life that’s not true. When you come from a toxic family, blood is meaningless. People don’t have your best interests at heart because “they’re family.”
Life’s Not Fair
The harshest truth about the universe is that it isn’t fair. There’s no just world. The world doesn’t reward the good and punish the bad. It doesn’t care one way or another. It just is.
Bad things happen to good people, while cheaters reap rewards and go unpunished. The world keeps spinning.
What Makes You Happy
Far too many people follow the script and never consider what would make them truly happy. They do what their parents and society expect: go to school, get a job, find a partner, have kids, then wonder why their miserable after they did everything right.
The bitter truth is society wants conformity. It pushes us into these boxes because that’s good for profits but not always suitable for the individual. Paving your way is terrifying, but it’s usually worth it.
Aging isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s harrowing to look in the mirror and see an elderly person looking back. Our minds feel fully capable, but our bodies can’t handle things anymore.
Friendships Aren’t Forever
Friendships are glorious, but they, much like anything, often have an expiration date. Cherish your friendships during each phase of your life, and learn to let them go when they no longer work for you.
Nourish the friendships you wish to maintain. People won’t stick around if you never put in any effort.
People Don’t Care
We’re the center of our own universes. The vast majority of people will only care about you if they get something from you. Once they have what they need, they’ll drop you.
This harsh truth is liberating once accepted, though. When you realize people don’t care, you can live your life on your own terms.
Love Never Lasts
We can’t know great joy without great sorrow. Every relationship will eventually end, and when it does, it will leave at least one partner devastated.
At best, you’ll have forty happy years of bliss before one of you leaves this plane, but at worst, a breakup can cause years of trauma and resentment.
You can do everything right and still lose. As Captain Picard of the USS Enterprise famously said, “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.”
It’s true. You win some, you lose some, and there’s nothing you can do to change that.
Hard Work Doesn’t Equal Success
Some of the hardest-working people in the world are also the poorest. The idea that working hard leads to success is capitalistic propaganda designed to make the working class blame themselves for their financial woes.
In truth, it takes luck, skill, status, and networking to succeed. Those born into successful families are far more likely to succeed than those born into poverty.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.