20 years old again… Lessons from the future

Dr. Ursula SandnerI have been thinking these days what are the most important life lessons I would tell to myself if I met with me when I was 20 years old. I wrote them down and I want to share them with you, perhaps they are useful in your journey through this great adventure called LIFE.

  1. Don’t let anybody influence you and don’t try to win the approval of others with the cost of giving up your authenticity.
  2. The people who are near you today will not necessary be near you in the future. Don’t plan your future with them and don’t invest all your resources in them, at your expense. People come in and out of your life, the only relationship that lasts forever is with yourself.
  3. Any kind of experience is an opportunity to learn. Don’t regret anything you have done, but eventually the opportunities you had that you turned them down - because you were afraid to change or to lose your comfort. If you made a mistake, be happy you had the opportunity to learn a precious lesson. Expose yourself to all sorts of stimuli and learn. A person finds his way and becomes wise by trying and succeeding and by trying and failing.
  4. The most important investment is in yourself, in your professional and personal development. The investments you make in others or in what is external are of high risk. Always keep in mind that maybe you’ll have to start over and you can rely only on what’s inside of you.
  5. Nobody knows better than you how happiness looks for you. Don’t follow recipes, don’t copy others, but always listen to your inner voice. Even if you are alone in a group that thinks differently, follow your inner calling.
  6. Be independent and always seek to rely on your own strengths. Dependence will predispose you to make compromises, unnecessary sacrifices, and will keep you away from yourself. Dependence makes you lose your dignity and integrity.
  7. Control your mind and emotions. All your emotions, reactions, attitudes, choices and behaviors are dictated by your mind. Your mind must be your best friend and a trusted ally in front of life's hardships.
  8. Listen to your intuition / instincts. They will always tell you what decision to make.
  9. When you notice you’re not happy, regardless of the implications, say “stop” and take it another way. You’ll see that when you say “stop” to suffering, other doors will open for you which will lead you where your soul calls you.
  10. Don’t make long-term plans based on momentary emotions. The only constant in the Universe is change, and emotions are temporary.
  11. Set clear limits and boundaries with those around you and don’t allow people to use you. Like yourself, all the people follow their own interest and it’s normal to be so. But when you notice that your “investments” are taken as “normal”, but vice-versa is not valid, stop from giving. Don’t accept toxic or dysfunctional relationships in your life because they don’t bring anything good, only mental suffering and physical illness.  
  12. You have no reason to accept interactions with people who treat you with disrespect. You have no reason to stay in couple, family, friendship, relationships if they do you harm. When you see a person betrays you, lies to you, pulls you down, talks bad about you, abuses you etc, don’t give him a second chance. That person shows you the way he is, and if you still accept him in your life it means you betray yourself and you invite him to behave the same way with you further on.
  13. People don’t change fundamentally unless they have their own motivation. Nothing you do will make them change if they are not willing or ready to change.
  14. Love and passion are not enough. Compatibility regarding values and beliefs, communication, friendship, mutual respect and admiration are the foundation of a healthy relationship. Not necessarily you can have a long-term relationship with a person who makes you feel butterflies in your stomach. What’s left after “the butterflies fly” is what counts.
  15. Contrary to the popular belief that says: “Not the career keeps you warm, but the family does that”, seek to become a successful, autonomous and independent person. When you are a strong person, you attract near you persons like you. When you give up on yourself and you invest everything in others (“family”) you can realise at a certain point that you live in compromise, dependency or that the “family” leaves you because they have other objectives or other path. Always rely on yourself.
  16. Don’t try to gravitate around others, to please them, but put yourself in the center of your existence and become a person of true intrinsic value. Your success will attract others as a magnet around you, and then you’ll be the one who selects the ones who wants to keep.
  17. When you see that a person behaves differently than he says, when there are discrepancies and syncopes between what he says and does, always believes what you see, not what you hear. People wear masks, but they fall sometimes and the real face it is revealed, and that face is their true self.
  18. Don’t expect others to teach you something. As much as possible be self-taught and constantly seek to develop and perfect yourself. Be a good professional whatever you do, always give the best and the reward will definitely come.
  19. Take care of yourself, your body and your health. This doesn’t mean to become obsessed with diets or all sort of rules, but to be moderated and equilibrated in everything. Enjoy everything you can at the level of your senses, but with moderation.
  20. Your life isn’t “set in stone”. When you feel you no longer want to continue on a certain road, stop and seek another way. You can change your job, your profession, the country you live in any time you want it.
  21. Never, under any circumstance, accept compromises or sacrifices. The only sacrifices that are good for you are the ones who aim achieving great goals. For example, you sacrifice momentary amusement because you want to invest all your time in your personal or professional evolution. But the compromises by which you give up on yourself in favour of others and their whims, distance you from yourself and from the joy of living.
  22.  Do good to others without expecting anything in return. But do it only when you afford it.  Offer from your abundance and always aim to be abundant before offering to others. This way you avoid the trap of dependent - codependent relationships.
  23. A person who loves you, accepts you the way you are. He doesn’t ask you to change or to be different only to satisfy his needs, desires and selfish expectations. So do you, when you really love, you accept. Not because you make compromises but because nothing bothers you about your partner. That’s compatibility and that you should always look for in your couple relationship. When you want the other one to change in order to accept him, you don’t love him, but you manifest your desire to control him, your possessiveness and the need to nourish your ego.
  24. Don’t be afraid of solitude. In fact, seek to be alone from time to time, even a few minutes a day. This way you’ll always remain in contact with yourself, you’ll know who you are and what to do next. Noise, agitation and the company of others can keep you away from yourself and your own way.
  25. Read from the wisdom of the great minds of mankind, assimilate the ideas with which you resonate and permanently improve your thinking. Clarity of mind, wisdom and reason will always support you to make the best decisions for your present and future.
  26. Your only purpose in this world is to look for happiness, so do everything you can to achieve it. Sometimes is necessary to build it, and sometimes you have to remove the obstacles in its path - that means to give up on everything that makes you unhappy.
  27. Have fun, travel as much as you can, dance, relax. Nature, with all that it has to offer, is and will be your best friend.

In twenty years I have learned all these lessons and I am very curious what other lessons I will learn in the next twenty years.

What would you tell to yourself if you had the chance to talk to the one you were twenty years ago?

Dr. Ursula Sandner


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