Recently, I asked my adult yoga students what they wish they had known, what kind of advice they would have liked to receive as a teenager. Oh, how insightful the answers were. I passed the wisdom on to some high school yoga students, but surely we can all learn from this tally.
1. Worry less.
It’s good to be prepared and have foresight, but as my 12-year-old daughter says, “Only worry if it is really happening.” Learn to live in the present moment. Worrying too much about the future takes away the energy you need to enjoy your life right now.
2. Be courageous.
So you think you can dance? Step outside your comfort zone and do it. If it feels right, don’t hold back. Do it, try it, pursue it. Ask the question, push the envelope, and be like the Lion at the end of the Yellow Brick Road.
3. Respect your elders.
Life experience cannot be bought with money, nor can it be acquired ahead of time. So love and respect your parents and the older members of your communities. Their wisdom and insight are valuable.
4. Trust yourself.
Have faith in your abilities! You are capable of so much more that you think. Trust your gut instinct and listen to your inner voice, your inborn truth. You need to trust yourself first, before others can trust you.
5. Don’t be so serious.
Take life as lightheartedly as possible, knowing that your habits reflect and shape who you become as a person. Learn to laugh about yourself, and learn from your mistakes.
6. Smile genuinely.
Watch how an honest smile offered from the bottom of your heart to the hearts of the people you meet changes your life.
7. Love yourself.
Self-love is where it all starts. If you get this right, there will be a lot less suffering in your life. Only when you can truly love yourself, can you be loved by others.
8. Forget what people think about you.
What people think about you is none of your business. It simply is a reflection of their own life values and experiences. This is an essential truth that takes a bit of practice.
9. Have fun.
A no-brainer really! Go, do it!
10. Be yourself.
As they say, everyone else is already taken. Find your spark, find what makes you YOU, find and celebrate your uniqueness. This will give others the courage to do the same. Shine your own light!
11. Don’t judge people.
Rather, practice empathy and compassion.
12. Be as kind to yourself as you are to others.
Of course you are kind to others, right? So give yourself some self-respect and be as kind to yourself as you can. One of my favourite sayings in life and in yoga class is “Be kind to yourself,” then others can be kind to you, too.
Which ones do you see fit for your top fives? Do you have a favourite?