20 lessons in 20 years of my life


Paridhi Laddha

Psychology Associate

OMG! I will be 20 tomorrow and before I enter my 20's, I am trying to revisit the lessons that I learned in these 20 years of life. I hope you'll enjoy reading it.

Also, I would be extremely grateful to know from each one of you about the lessons you have learned in the comments section. We can help each other and maybe not commit the same mistakes, and try new ones!

1. Heartbreaks and healing

When I had a serious breakup, I felt like it's the end of the world, I thought I would never be able to surpass it and I felt everyone just lies when they say that it will get better with time. I couldn't believe it gets better. But trust me, it really gets better and you move past it and now I consider it to be one of the best experiences of my life: the relationship and healing from it. It made me the person that I am today, extremely happy, strong, independent, and confident. I am extremely thankful for the way things turned out.

2. Self-worth

One of the most important things in life is the ability to see your self-worth. It might sound a little harsh, but self-worth doesn't just come by itself. Simply saying ‘I love myself’ is not self-worth, it is loving yourself with the flaws you have. And there are two options: Number 1- You accept and embrace your reality and Number 2- You relentlessly work for the things that you don't like and try upgrading yourself. I believe in the latter option, you have to make your mind believe by working, that you are worthy.

3. Don't compare your life with others

In this era of social media, we always feel that the other person is prettier, has a better life, has more friends or is very happy and sorted. But trust me, it's not so, the grass always APPEARS greener on the other side. When I was a teenager, I used to believe that my acquaintances have such a great life, but after knowing certain people closely, I realized it's all superficial.

So, don't try to compare or change yourself for something superficial. I know a lot of people putting up big birthday stories on social media for each other who don't even talk the whole year. It's all a bait. Live your life on your own terms.

Don't let peer pressure degrade your values. Your heart will scream to give in but again not giving in will be the best thing you can do for yourself. A lot of times I feel that all my friends are seeing someone (just for the sake of it) and I should also do so, but I have made it a point that I won't compromise with my values just to appear cool.

4. Fake it till you make it

When I shifted to Pune in a hostel for studies: I meet my roommate, she had this very beautiful, happy, and positive aura and I was really attracted to it. And to be very honest, I wasn't this positive or a happy person before meeting her. But over time, I started imitating that same persona, I started faking being positive, I always used to laugh and be cheerful, and some years down the line, now I too am a very optimistic, jolly, and cheerful person. And I think that's the best thing I did for myself, I see the world differently now and it's way more beautiful.

5. Family, Family, Family

Your family will always be there to support you. When the rest of the world seems chaotic, know that your family will always be there. Cherish every single beautiful moment with them. Just as your friends become your family as you get older, your family will become your (very best) friends. I belong to a normal family, my parents may not seem very cool, but since a child, I always made it a point to share everything with them. They also need to accept things which change in time and that's only possible if we have the courage to communicate. And now thanks to that, now I share everything with my mother and she is my best friend.

6. You only need a few good friends

When I was younger, I thought that the more friends I had, the happier I would be. I always felt that it's cool to have more friends and be popular. But I will happily admit that I was wrong. Over these 20 years, I have realized that it is much more important to have a few good friends rather than many acquaintances.

Don't force friendships or relationships. They come organically to you. Throughout my life, I have been truly blessed with the amazing people in my life. Many that I consider as family. I know that I am never going to be friends with everyone so I am really grateful for those few amazing persons I have in my life. When it comes to friendship, it’s always the quality over quantity.

7. Stand up for yourself

Your voice deserves to be heard. Whether it’s in a conference room or in your daily life. You’re there for a reason. And you deserve a spot at the table. Make sure you are vocal about your opinions and you have nothing to regret ' I should have said this', ops! No, I already did.

8. Be very wise about your relationship

Choose real ones over temporary bliss. You will thank yourself for your entire life. And never even think to hurt or cheat others intentionally. Never settle for less than what you deserve, it's better to wait. Wait for a peaceful relationship rather than following the bandwagon and ending up in a toxic one. And when you find the real one, it will be worth every second of the wait.

You have plenty of time to find someone to fall in love with, in the meantime fall in love with yourself.

9. Individuality is wonderful

A lot of times, we crave a partner, friends, and people, and it's fine. But at the same time don't lose yourself and your individuality for others. You are YOU first, then somebody's partner, somebody's friend and etc. So, first leave space for yourself before committing to anything else and you will always be thankful to yourself. And if something bad happens or if any of the people close to you leave, you will not lose yourself and I think that is very important.

10. Listen to your heart

I know it's a clichè, but it's a blessing. Always listen to your heart or gut. After my 10th all my friends took science and commerce, and I scored in the merit list too, so everyone around me laughed at me for taking up arts for study. But I had the courage to listen to my heart and chose psychology and hands down, it's the best decision of my life. It's the reason, I wake up every day with a purpose.

11. Know and define your boundaries

Don't give people too many chances, they will misuse your kindness. Learn to walk away when you feel you are getting less than you deserve, learn to walk away when ‘sorry’ just means a word and not change, every time. You don't have to be there for everyone.

Always choose self-respect over feelings. If you’re gullible, people WILL take you for granted. Stay strong and you will get your value from the world.

12. Forgive yourself

You will make mistakes during these years (lots of them), but we’re all human. Give yourself both the grace and the compassion to be able to accept that, and remember it for the future. Life is too short to spend being at war with yourself. Learn the lesson, forgive yourself and move on with enthusiasm.

13. Karma

I am a firm believer of karma: I have myself seen good people getting their rewards and people who indulge in bad things and hurt others, getting their retributions. So, I believe we should always keep our actions and thoughts noble, not hurt others, and maintain integrity, values and ethics tight. Not as a theoretical lesson, but a practical life principle.

13. Don't be a people pleaser

You don't have to please people to be somebody else to be loved. You don't really need anyone else's approval to be yourself, you should have your own back.

14. Learn to be vulnerable to the right people

You’ve put up a wall around you as a barrier to prevent being hurt. It’s been hard to find the right people to open up to and let them in. I understand. The world’s a scary place. I’m not saying to share your life story with a stranger or even an acquaintance, but rather take little steps to be more vulnerable to people who are close to you that you trust. Because once you do it, you’ll find full acceptance with the right people and it will make you feel more whole.

We always mask a persona and we think that we shouldn’t open up. But we have to allow ourselves to feel and express and unburden the heavy weight off our shoulders. Best friends are truly like unpaid therapists!

15. Be full of life

Live your life pals. Go for that spontaneous ride to Lonavala in the monsoon.

Go partying, go on adventures, don't sleep the whole night, and just watch the stars and talk about life. Make new connections. Laugh as much as you can. It's all these things you remember. Miss that test. One time I and my roommate went to college for a test at 7 am, we knew nothing, we looked at each other and returned, went to a stall, had some samosas and went back to the hostel and slept! It hurts our stomach when we remember that time and laugh about it.

16. Not everyone matters

Not everyone deserves to hear your truth. DESERVE. It’s a strong word. A lot of people think they deserve a lot of things… but you and you alone get to decide with whom you choose to share your truth. Be mindful of who you reveal your innermost thoughts and feelings to. You don't have to justify your actions to everyone, they don't know what it's like to walk in your shoes.

Not everyone is going to like you. No matter how kind, caring, and thoughtful you are, there are always going to be people that won’t like you, and it should not matter to you at all.

17. Dare to be different

There is only one you. There has only been one you and there will only be one you. Be unapologetically yourself. We all have our own purpose, our own path. Have confidence in yourself. People won’t know that you are someone they should get to know unless you show them.

18. Work, Work, Work

Work the hardest you can, these are the most crucial years of your life. Your ambition, determination and hard work in this phase direct the rest of your life. All play and no work, makes Jack a foolish boy.

Hard work will eventually pay off, but maybe not at the same time as other people around you. Seek every opportunity you find on your way and keep adding more value to yourself each day.

19. Put yourself first

I am a caretaker. I prioritize others well-being before mine. Something I do way too often. In most cases, I end up burned out and tired because I don’t take care of myself too well.

But the thing is if you don’t prioritize yourself, no one else will. And eventually you’ll get so tired that you won’t have time for others anyways.

20. Everything will work out!

In the end, everything will work out. Don’t stress out too much over the small things. Some of those things will pass and it won’t even matter. Once you’ve hiked to the top of the mountain, you’ll be amazed at all the small steps you’ve taken that have led you to the top. The view from the top is one of the best!


Remember, it’s gonna get worse before it gets better. I’m going to be honest with you, these years may be very trying and confusing. You will feel like you can’t pick up the pieces, but I am sure you, you will. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Embrace this season of your life. It will never come again and believe me, it will go very quickly. Spend less time worrying about the future, and more time being present right now. Time never comes back!

Enjoy every step of the way. You have a long path ahead of you. There will be plenty of ups and downs, but that’s all part of the journey. Think of your journey as a hike. With every step, you have to make a conscious decision to look around you and take in the beauty you’re surrounded with. There are lessons all around you, whether you’re in a good or bad situation. Take it all in. They will be handy in the future.

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Discussion Board

Which lesson from Paridhi's life did you find most useful?

Rohit Chopra
The lesson on putting yourself first. If you don't put yourself first, no one else will ❤️❤️❤️
Asmi Patil
It's Super wisdom words.. thanks a lot sharing with us. M so grateful that I found this post and very useful 🙏👏 more power to you 🙌
Kunal Sinha
There is always light at the end of tunnel.