This semester has been the best one ever. I've learned more in school in a semester than I did this time around, but I think that I learned more about myself and people than ever before.
My religion teacher challenged us to write down the important lessons we learned at the end of every semester. I always naturally did that. I always feel like a better person because of the things I've learned and applied, and I like to go through and see why.
It takes more than one sitting to do this, and some things I keep quietly in my journal. But there are a few things I'd like to share.
I've learned that I am not happy when I don't do the things that I know I should. I've seen a lot of people who flippantly like to neglect things because they just don't want to do them. It seems like fun to do that. They seem independent and confident, not to mention a whole lot more relaxed than I am sometimes.
I can do that--it's not hard at all. I picked it up really quickly. But I'm not always happy with that. I notice something is missing. It's that feeling that says I've done a good job. It's much better to work hard and know you've made a small contribution in the world. You don't have to be told it's good. You know inside. You know when you've put 100% of yourself into something.
I've learned something else that is related to this. I've always found it hard to balance people and duty. I think it is a common problem. It seems like you have your hard working, ambitious people and you have your easy going, people-friendly people.
I've always wanted to be both. I can be a hard working, focused person without trying too hard. It comes naturally. But I've had to work at being a people person.
At the beginning of fall semester, a friend talked to me about that. I was frustrated because I was working so hard at being a friend and a good family member, and it just didn't seem like it was going anywhere. I kept falling back into old habits of how I treated people. I'd get grumpy at my family and really mad at people I worked with or went to church with.
My friend told me about something that she heard about how you treat people. They aren't objects. I knew that; I love people, I just can't figure them out. But I realized that sometimes I did treat them like objects--or like they were my horse, and I was doing things to get the reaction I wanted.
So how do you treat people? It takes a while to get into practice. It's a lifelong pursuit. You treat them like you love them. Even if you're mad, you treat them like you love them. If you think of it that way, it comes together sooner or later.