Growing up, information is deliberately withheld from us, either because the truth hurts or because we’re not ready to hear it yet. We were taught that there are no winners or losers in life, real beauty can only be found on the inside, and that good things will happen to good people. Somehow, it is considerably more complicated than that. The same could be said for that one disgruntled office worker of twenty years who was denied that much deserved promotion, only to walk in on his wife cheating on him with his boss. He, too, discovered that perhaps the world isn’t as friendly as he was lead to believe, and that his life could be uprooted in any instant. For this reason, I have devised five universal truths that society was either too afraid or unwilling to teach us as children.
Truth 1: If something is too good to be true, then it probably is.
As someone who is now undeterred by disappointment, I cannot even begin to delve into the number of times I was confident that a wish of mine would come true, only to get severely burned. I just couldn’t help myself.
You do not have to make the same mistake that I did. Question not just the bad, but also the good things that happen to you, understanding there is always more to the story than the first few pages. That way, you will be prepared for any abrupt change in circumstances that might arise, like walking in on your boss who denied you that much deserved promotion courting with your wife.
Truth 2: Expectations do not always correspond to reality.
I’ve always said that it’s better to be a pessimist than an optimist, because at least the pessimist can take solace in knowing that the future event he or she expects to turn into a disaster… turns into a disaster. Although you shouldn’t view every opportunity as a potential train wreck, you should nevertheless remain skeptical and most of all, cognizant. Expectations of future events more often than not take unexpected turns in the present, and not always for the best.
Truth 3: You can’t cry when the forest is reduced to nothing but ash when you were the one who started the fire.
If you’ve ever been through the five stages of grief, you’ve probably asked yourself, “How could this have happened to me?” The question you should have instead asked yourself is, “How could this have not happened to me?” While this might be difficult to hear, we are always the cause of our own suffering. It is the premise by which many self-help books have based their entire platforms on. Of course, it is easy to default culpability to another person or some inexplicable, all-controlling and ubiquitous force in the universe, but really we should be coming to terms with how even our deepest wounds are self-inflicted. Only by changing our attitude toward these wounds can we ever permit them to heal.
Truth 4: Humankind is the architect of its problems.
This one extends from the previous point, albeit on a larger scale. You always hear stories on the news of corrupt governments, degenerative societies, and terrorist attacks, yet one thing these stories do not cover in much depth is that all of these depravities are instigated by man and not natural forces. The greatest problems mankind faces, like climate change, war, genocide, famine, and poverty, can all be traced back to none other than mankind itself. Imagine how much more peaceful the world would be if everyone got along and had their ways. Talk about a real pipe dream.
Truth 5: People don’t change. They grow.
Sometimes I hear from people that, “He’s changed. He would never hurt me again.”, “I’ve changed.”, or “I can change.”, when they’re really excusing themselves for tolerating blatantly abusive and destructive behavior. Actual change, at least from a personality standpoint, is not possible. No matter how many times we attempt to adjust some aspect about ourselves that we do not like, we always revert back to the state we were in when we made the adjustment. The reason I substitute change with growth is because growth implies some degree of permanence, whereas change assumes that we could end up the way we were. Everyone is the sum of all their experiences, and every experience stays with us.
And there you have it–5 universal truths society never taught us as children. Are there any that you are guilty of denying on a regular basis? I’m guilty of at least two.