By Ouk Suntharoth
Having been on this planet for nearly 23 years, I have observed and learned that everyone makes mistakes.The difference is some people do not learn from their mistakes and keep repeating them over and over again, while others use them as a reminder to avoid doing the same things in the future.
So I came up with a question for myself, “How many mistakes have I made in life so far?”
At the time, I thought deeply about it and found the three biggest mistakes or regrets that I wish I could undo. However, rather than blaming myself for making those mistakes, I have converted them into life lessons. They are very helpful to me, and hopefully to you as well after you finish reading this blog post. Without further ado, here are the three mistakes!
1. Trusting people too much
When I was younger, I believed everyone approaches me with no hidden agendas and loves me from the bottom of their hearts. So, I foolishly treated them with kindness and respect and told them every single thing that happened to me, whether it is good or bad news. As a result, I ended up being made fun of by others because the people I put my trust into turned out to be two-faced. They acted kindly in front of my face but ended up stabbing me in the back.
The message I am trying to convey here is, do not trust people too much on anything, regardless if they are your relatives or friends. Some of them are happy when we are facing troubles and become jealous when we have found happiness. It hurts so badly when people you trusted turned into someone else that you have never thought they would become. Therefore, again, some things are better kept untold and so don’t just lightly put your trust in anyone!
2. Trying to live up to other people’s expectations
As mentioned earlier in my second blog post for VoY, I sadly used to be a victim of body shaming from a young age. At that time, many people said I must become thinner to be beautiful or accepted by others. I followed those expectations and lost about 10 kilograms. But if you ask whether or not I was once happy with that result? My answer will always be “NO” because during that time, I was living in fear that people would notice when I gained weight and ridicule me again. Due to my own foolishness of trying to live up to those expectations, I ended up living several years under pressure before I found a way to break out.
What I am trying to bring across is to live your life the way you deem as perfect. Do not live by other people’s expectations because you will, for sure, fall into the trap I was once in. You only have one life, live it according to your liking and do not betray yourself, whether emotionally or physically, in order to fit in and be accepted by others!
3. Choosing to live in the comfort zone
I must admit that this point sounds a bit cliche because I am sure you have heard it hundreds of times from other people both on- and offline. So, I will touch on this point only briefly.
My comfort zone is where I do not have to take risks and only do the same, safe old things again and again. It used to be where I felt secured; however, as I grew up, I became bored with the routines because I did not learn anything new at all. Staying in my comfort zone stopped me from accepting many opportunities that were given to me.
So, I decided to break out of my small bubble and start exploring the outside world. One example among others, is to apply for internships and training programs that mainly involved writing, even though I have never been a good writer, especially in English. This action has helped me to become more confident and encouraged me to keep practicing until I become satisfied with the result.
The lesson here is you should be adventurous! Never look down on your own ability and embrace your fear, regardless of any judgments made against you.
These are the three mistakes I made that have become life lessons, which help me to remember clearly to be more aware of the intentions of the other people, to not care about what people say and to live a more adventurous life. These are the precious lessons that I have learnt and I hope that you can also learn something from them to avoid making the mistakes I made. The year 2018 is coming to an end, let’s start reflecting on your mistakes this year and turn it to lessons for many years to come!
Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.