What We Know For Sure: MN Editors Share Their Most Poignant Life Lessons

January 9, 2013  |  

 

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You cannot reward foolishness and expect a different outcome

This truth spans romantic relationships, friendships, and even professional partnerships. You cannot reward people for poor behavior and expect them to act any differently than they always have. A reward doesn’t have to be a monetary token, although in business relationships it typically is, but your simple presence in someone’s life and your decision to remain there despite not having your needs met is rewarding the other person. If there are no consequences to their actions, i.e. you are still actively invested in their wellbeing or paying them for services not up to your standards, there is no motivation for the other party to treat you better or rise to the occasion. After so many instances of poor treatment, the issue becomes yours and not theirs, after all, what indication would they have that they need to change if they are still reaping the same benefits as someone who is doing what they should? Not to mention, you will not be taken seriously if you only threaten to halt the rewards if things don’t change, yet you still remain in the various relationships despite the lack thereof. The only solution is to remove yourself or your investment from the situation in order to demand and receive a more positive outcome. — Brande Victorian

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 You know it’s time to take a risk when the fear of remaining where you are is greater than your fear of the unknown

If you’re not a risk taker, just the very mention of that phrase can instill tremors in your heart and butterflies in your stomach. The thing is, risk is just a four letter word that really means you are willing to do something different because you believe things can be better than they currently are. And when you think about what that really says, the bottom line is you have hope. We typically only think about taking a risk when the chips are down and we feel stuck in our current circumstances and there’s a great way to measure whether you are in fact ready to take that leap of faith: Which is greater, your fear of remaining in your current situation or of what is unknown? If you’re more afraid of the unknown, you really may not be ready to take whatever chance it is that you are contemplating, but if you can’t fathom surviving another minute, hour, day, or month with things as they are, allow that to motivate you to receive better things once you step outside of what really is your (un)comfort zone. — Brande Victorian

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Most times we don’t fail to act because we don’t know what to do, we’re stuck because we’re scared to do it

How many times have you been in a difficult situation and thought, “I don’t know what to do?” Next time, ask yourself is that really the truth. There truly are times when we don’t know what to do and we lean on others for clarity or advice, but if we’re still not acting on that input after asking virtually everyone we know and trust what they would do, the real issue isn’t lack of knowledge, it’s lack of courage. Instead of mulling over the details one more time, or asking one more person for their two cents, we have to acknowledge that we really do know what to do and what we want to do, we just need to figure out what’s really keeping us back from doing it. — Brande Victorian

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Age Does Not Equal Wisdom

There’s a phrase that’s exclaimed in our office anytime any celebrity over 35 is acting a fool: “S/he’s too grown for that.” Well, what I know for sure is that age does not equal wisdom. Just watch any reality show to prove that theory right. Anytime we have a debate in this office about some reality star acting a fool and acting too wild for his/her age, I chime in with the phrase “character endures,” meaning that the core of a person is more important than age when it comes to maturity and decision-making. So with that, I judge people not by their age but how they handle themselves overall no matter their age. I don’t expect anyone to change drastically because of their years on the earth because someone who is shady at 25 will most likely be shady at 35 unless they take conscious action to change themselves. — Marissa Ellis

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Intuition Trumps All

I’m not going to tell everyone that they should 100 percent rely on their intuition, because learning to trust your intuition and understanding the distinction between other feelings like fear and your inner voice is a learning process for everyone. I have developed a very honest and comfortable relationship with my intuition over the years. Initially, I fought against it at times because like so many others, I had very strict ideas about what was the right decision and what was the wrong decision. Now, I have a greater acceptance for my distinct path in life, and that has helped me trust my intuition more. Instead of going against myself when making decisions, I’ve learned to listen to myself and follow my instincts in times of decision-making. Learning to trust myself has spared me a lot of anxiety and angst. If I didn’t follow my intuition, I would have probably stayed in a relationship that was good in many ways, but not fulfilling, and stayed in a secure job instead of moving across the country to follow a curiosity I had. –Marissa Ellis

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You Can’t Force People To Do Anything, So You Need To Know When It’s Time To Move On

This can be applied to any situation, but the statement came after the sad ending of a friendship I had with someone for most of my life. We had a big falling out because she didn’t want to be friends with a once mutual friend we both shared, and when I felt as though she was trying to turn me against the other young lady, I called her on it. Things got messy, and before I knew it, she wasn’t returning my calls, texts or anything. I made continuous efforts to hit her up because I knew that outside of our quarrel, she was going through major stresses because of the economy and the lack of jobs available. I would explain to her that I would love to talk to her if she wanted to talk to me, and after most of my attempts were rebuffed and I was removed as her “friend” on Facebook, I decided enough was enough. It’s one thing to sit back and play the “I shoulda, coulda, woulda” game when you half a**ed the opportunity to mend fences, but when you know you make a conscious effort to salvage something important to you and the other party isn’t willing or ready, you can’t kick yourself. To this day, I wish her nothing but the best of luck, and if she needs me in the future, I would pick up the phone, but I definitely can’t be bothered trying to beg someone to be friends with me if they don’t want to be. – Victoria Uwumarogie

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You Really Do Need To Think Before You Speak

When arguments happen between people, you really need to stop and think before you say something you will regret. As is often said, sometimes our first response isn’t our best response, and I’ve learned that from spending the last year and a half doing social media for the site. But I’ve also learned this in my relationships. After years of always arguing about insignificant things or saying something ugly because I was pissed off, I’ve learned to stop, think about if what I’m feeling is really deep enough to go back and forth about, and try to explain myself in a calm and collected manner. Or better yet, just shrug it off if that’s what I so choose to do. But saying the first thing that’s on our minds without thinking about it can get us in trouble if we’re not careful. So if after he pisses you off, your first response is something to the effect of, “That’s why you ain’t s**t anyway wit yo dumb a**!” then this one is for you. – Victoria Uwumarogie

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Pain From The Past Shouldn’t Hinder You From Allowing Yourself To Have New Experiences…And Love

Everybody plays the fool…sometimes. And when you find yourself in that role, it can hurt very badly. After my last big breakup, I relished in the single life, happy not to have to worry about anyone else. But after years passed without meeting anyone worth calling a boyfriend, I thought I really really wanted one. That was until I met the guy who is my boyfriend now. At first, I was excited about him, but our differences in age and in our ways of thinking definitely had me worried. And most importantly, I liked him so much that I was most worried about being hurt again, so much so that I thought I might need to leave him alone. But a good friend once said that I shouldn’t let the threat of something going wrong keep me from experiencing something that could be beautiful. Boy was she right! You can also apply this idea to trying new things in general, because just because you had one bad apple, doesn’t mean the rest will be sour.  – Victoria Uwumarogie

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We’re Responsible For Our Own Happiness

People will hurt us, things won’t go our way, we won’t get what we think we deserve. Life is going to disappoint us. And while it may take hours, weeks, months or years to get over our latest obstacle, it is our responsibility to get over it. Looking for someone or something to sweep in and alleviate all the pain is where we go wrong; because ultimately those people and things end up disappointing us too. We have to be our own cheerleaders, motivational speakers and therapists sometimes. Not that we shouldn’t seek outside help when things get to be too heavy; but at the very end of the day, a pastor, therapist or good friend, or significant other can’t make us happy. Even those suffering from depression will have to decide whether they’ll continue to suffer or seek treatment. Deciding to be happy, or at least actively pursue it, is a choice we have to make for ourselves. -Veronica Wells

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You Can’t Do What I Do…And I Can’t Do What You Do

It’s human nature to compare and categorize things. It’s the way the brain works. But I’ve learned that thoughts of measuring yourself up against someone else’s journey and achievements is an exercise in futility and destroys self confidence. And because self confidence is a key ingredient in achieving much of anything anyway, comparing yourself to others can ultimately end up being very dangerous to your overall growth and development. Einstein said it best: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” I might not be able to do what you do, the way you do it; but I have, and we all have, gifts and skills, talents and aptitudes that are unique to us and which are designed to help us find and fulfill our own purpose in life. If you’re going to have any success at finding it, it’s going to take more self observation than external comparison. -Veronica Wells

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We Really Know Nothing At All

It was in the Bible, Socrates said it, then Erykah Badu made it popular in modern day times when she told us  “The man who knows something, knows that he knows nothing at all.” When that song, “On and On,” first came out, I was young and couldn’t fully grasp what she meant by that; but the older I get the more I realize that as mere mortals there are some things we’re just not privy to. And even when we think we understand certain concepts we still might be missing the mark. Sure there are a few things we can know for sure, as this post illustrates; but we’ll never grasp why tragedies happen, why natural disasters cause so much devastation or why George Bush was elected to two terms. As young children we accepted the fact that we didn’t know much, as teenagers we thought we knew it all and hopefully, as partially actualized adults, we’ll realize that we might be sure of somethings but others, a whole lot of others, might forever be out of our reach and we have to make peace with that. – Veronica Wells

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