25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years – Part 3

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11. Be genuine and generous with your compliments.
There is absolutely no reason to keep your positive thoughts about others to yourself! Text your mom when you remember a sweet moment from your childhood. Remind your best friend that you really admire her work ethic. Tell your boyfriend that he has a great butt. Thank your professor when she gives a really thought-provoking lecture. Basically, if you have a positive reaction to something, give that positivity back in the form of a genuine compliment. Not only will it make the other person feel great, it’ll give your mood a boost too.

12. Value your relationships over your ego.
You don’t always have to be right. Apologize first, try to understand the other person’s perspective, and admit when you’ve been a jerk. People are much more likely to hash things out and apologize for their part in the problem if they don’t have to do it first. As hard as it is, you’ve got to let go of your frustration and hurt and be willing to talk things out.
This also means letting sleeping dogs lie. Don’t stir the pot just for the sake of it! By all means, if there’s a real issue at hand that needs to be discussed, bring it up in a calm and loving way – but if you’re fuming over something trivial or something that’s just a difference of opinion, just let it be. Accept the people in your life for who they are, how they act, and what they believe.

13. Your truth is not universal.
Your perspective is shaped by forces that you can’t control. The country, family, religion, and socioeconomic bracket you were born into all affect how you perceive and understand the world. The important thing to remember is that each and every person has a different way of seeing things, and that we can all learn from each other. Nobody is right or wrong, because life is a subjective experience. Don’t let difference of perspective get in the way of meaningful friendships or harmony at home.

“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t” – Bill Nye

Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt

14. Take a nude drawing class.
One of the best things that ever happened to me was a curriculum-required nude drawing class at the Alberta College of Art and Design. Not only did it change my perspective on nudity in general, it made me much more forgiving of my own flawed body. Over several weeks, different models stripped down and posed on a platform in the middle of the room, completely vulnerable and at the mercy of our charcoal. There was an elderly retired ballerina, graceful and stoic, a jolly, hairy middle-aged man with a giant moustache, a smirking bodybuilder with rippling, brown muscles and not a hair on his body, and an obese young woman with huge, pendulous, tattooed breasts and a wild thatch of dyed-blue hair between her legs. Magically, in the process of drawing, each one of them ceased to be imperfect, and became a series of shapes, shadows, and textures. All the things we are supposed to be ashamed of – wrinkles, rolls, body hair – became beautiful on paper and in person. The best thing this class did for me was made me realize that all bodies are beautiful. When you take the naked body out of the realm of sexuality, beauty ideals, and puritan narratives about shame and modesty, you realize that nudity isn’t actually that big of a deal. Everyone has a body, and all those bodies, big and small, young and old, are perfect just the way they are.

15. Date people for the fun of it.
Just because a relationship ends doesn’t mean it wasn’t a success. Every person has something to teach us, something to leave us with. It’s totally fine to date people just because you like being around them, even if you have no intention of culminating the relationship with a joint bank account.