I often have such thoughts when I pass on to mentoring clients some pearl of wisdom I have acquired that has made an enormous difference to my life.
Here are some of mine:
* My life and the story I've created about my life are two completely different things. Most of us have stories about our lives that we never question. We trot them out, year after year, assuming our stories are 'the truth' about us. We even say things like 'that's the way I am and I can't change'. If you can change your mind, you can change your story too. Now that I know my story is only a story I've made up, I can change my story any time I choose. And that changes my memories and my current and future experiences.
* We are not our thoughts. If we can notice our thoughts as separate from ourselves, then we can intervene when our thoughts are leading us to a dark or negative place and change them. Our thoughts create our feelings, so coming up with different ways to think about an issue can immediately change the way we feel - and then act.
* We are enough, exactly as we are. All of us. We lack nothing, so there is nothing needing to be done to make us OK. That doesn't mean that we can't continue to learn and grow and develop new skills and ways of being; it just means that starting from a context of 'I'm enough, exactly as I am' makes everything we do so much easier and life so much happier!
* Comparing ourselves to others is a fast track to misery. We invariably come off second best or, if we invariably don't, we're likely to be insecure to the point of being delusional.
* The beliefs we have created are the single greatest influence on the way we experience life. And our negative beliefs are the biggest barriers we have to overcome. We are not born with beliefs, we absorb and create them in response to the experiences and events that we encounter throughout our lives. The good news is, if we can be responsible for creating them, we can also jettison the ones that are acting as barriers to our success or happiness and create some new ones! With practice, we can turn those into beliefs that will work for rather than against us.
* Responsibility is a gift of freedom and power and not a burden. Many of us grow up with parental expectations that we will be responsible (eg for younger siblings or our own actions) but conveyed and received as though it is something heavy to bear. An added chore. I now understand responsibility as something that, when I choose to take it, releases me from being a victim. The most empowering question I can ask myself is 'What can I be responsible for here?' This allows me to see and take ownership for my part in any conflict or upset (it always takes two) and then clearly see what I need to do to rectify the situation. It also allows me the freedom to apologise and move on quickly.
* Responsibility is also very different from blame or fault-finding. To take responsibility for my part is empowering and enables me to take action; there is no freedom or power in blaming or finding fault with myself or another. Blame closes the door to resolution and leaves me feeling upset, resentful and victimised.
* It's OK just to be me and not try to be someone I'm not. My dear mother tried to point this out to me when I was a very insecure teenager and I remember thinking 'that will never work'. It says everything about the beliefs I had about myself at that time and I didn't understand that either.
Perhaps it's a case of 'when the student is ready, the teacher will appear'. To coin that famous old Gaelic saying 'you can't put an old head on young shoulders'.
Perhaps the whole point is we only learn what we need to learn for ourselves from our own experiences, when we're good and ready.
Having said that, I'd love to hear about what would have made your life easier, if only you'd known?