18 Essential Life Lessons Disguised as Awkward Moments
Awkward. We’re sure you’ve been there – we know we have. This month, we’re sharing those cringe-worthy moments that later reveal themselves as essential life lessons. It may be “the worst” right now – but trust us, if you’ve ever experienced these, you’ll see the beauty uncovered in how much you’ve grown, changed and learned as a result. How many of these can you relate to?
1. Your first failed Interview. Lesson learned! We bet you aren’t making those same mistakes anymore. Remember, you are a valuable resource, not a desperate candidate (even if you are desperate). You are valuable.
2. Your cringe-worthy decision to _________________. You know what you did. And we don’t think we should go into it here. Remember, your past doesn’t define you. We believe in your future – because you are awesome.
3. All of the times you were Hangry. Can you be held responsible for these decisions? We don’t think so. But seriously, take care of yourself – get enough rest and enough to eat.
4. When you were wrong, wrong, wrong! And you fought so hard to be right. You know what makes you the bigger person – admitting your mistakes and moving on. Be the bigger person.
5. The fashion faux-pas that is still embarrassing. Remember, you can never be over dressed or over educated (Oscar Wilde) and if you own it, then you can make anything work.
6. All of the times you thought you could do it all by yourself. You have friends and are part of a community for a reason. You can’t be all things to all people, but you can be great at some things. Live in the land of greatness, the world needs the “Great You.”
7. Waiting until the last minute on your mega-important deadline. Figure out how to manage your time now, because it doesn’t get easier as you get older to unlearn bad habits. Start making good habits your reality today.
8. When you stood up for what you believed in – and you stood alone. We were there with you in solidarity. You are more powerful than you think. Continue to stand up for what you believe, even if you always are the first to stand up.
9. The time you stayed silent and you should have spoken up. Never doubt the power of your voice. When you know you should say something, listen to yourself and do what you know is right.
10. The brave decision to stick by your beliefs, even if they turned out different than what you knew from childhood. College is a time to open your eyes to beliefs different than yours, which is not always easy. It’s even more difficult when your understanding of something shifts from childhood. It’s okay to stand by those beliefs, and it is definitely okay if they change over your lifetime.
11. Giving your all in a relationship that maybe wasn’t right for you. Whether it is a romantic relationship, a friendship or a colleague, we have all encountered at least one toxic relationship that took more energy from us than we would like to admit. Take time to reflect on what personalities take energy from you and which give you energy, and then learn from that. Not everyone will stay in your life forever, and that is okay – so focus your energy on the ones that will support you and give energy back to you.
12. Asking for credit, when credit is due. At a young age, many of us are taught not to be boastful. As an adult, that changes a little, yet still makes us equally as uncomfortable. Do not be afraid to speak up about what you need – ask for that raise, speak highly of yourself in that interview, or request that public recognition if it is important to you. It’s awkward at first, but it is worth it in the end.
13. Holding on to pain, anger, resentment, or jealousy. As Frozen tells us “Let it go, let it go!” There will be failures and difficulties in life, and sometimes our emotions will get the best of us. Know that these emotions are there to teach us something, but they are not meant to be harbored. They will only leave you feeling like you are drowning in poison while others continue life as they knew it. Either confront the situation head on or actively let those emotions go and move on.
14. Giving your happiness to someone else, or better yet, something else. The only person in charge of your happiness is YOU! Don’t give that power over to someone else. Even more so, don’t fool yourself into the trap of believing that you are responsible for someone else’s happiness either.
15. Closing the door prematurely. In the literal sense – we’ve all been there – it hurts and it is EMBARASSING – BUT that is not exactly what I am talking about. Life has a way of taking a different route down a journey we didn’t know existed. Be flexible in your life plan and know that change is not always bad.
16. Running into all the (metaphorical) red tape and brick walls in your first job. You did it! You landed your first job and are feeling confident and on top of the world! Not to rain on your parade, but very few people really love their first job once reality kicks in. Keep your head high, though, and give reasons that prove why your idea works/why you should be heard. Persistence is key and proof of experience/knowledge is needed for that red tape to fade.
17. Changing the culture of a new environment immediately. So you just started a new job/got promoted to that new position in your chapter/organization, etc. Take a few months to learn the culture first before insisting on new changes. Trust us on this one – taking the time to pause first saves so much headache later.
18. Stumbling through all the firsts in this thing called “adulting.” Adulting is not learned in a classroom – those lessons are rarely learned before the experience happens. Just because everyone fakes it like a pro doesn’t mean they are one. Ask questions, stumble over the firsts, and learn. You most certainly aren’t the only one feeling awkward, and no one is going to judge you for not knowing how to “adult” when in college or right afterward.