Let’s talk about death – I know, not the most uplifting topic, but bear with me. Most of us don’t really think about death until it happens close to us. We see it as something that happens to other people, people far away from where we are. But the truth is, death can teach us some valuable lessons about life.
When my Dad passed away recently, everything changed for me. It was like a switch flipped and my entire perspective on life shifted. I realized how fragile life is and how limited our time here really is.
While dealing with the pain and grief that followed, I also found some positive takeaways from the experience. There are valuable lessons to be learned from death that can transform our lives for the better.
I thought long and hard about whether to share these lessons with you, and ultimately decided that they are too important not to.
So, without further ado, here are the lessons I learned from death. I hope they inspire you to take action and start making positive changes in your life today.
1. You are a survivor
After a tragedy, it’s easy to feel hopeless and defeated. But if you’ve survived even one moment after that loss, you are a survivor. You have the strength to live this life you’ve been given.
It’s not about forgetting who or what you’ve lost, it’s about living life without running away from it. Life is not about defeat; it’s about taking the hits and getting back up. So, if you’ve survived a loss, know that you are strong, and you can keep going.
2. Focus on the good
Even in the midst of despair, there’s always something to appreciate in life. When I lost my parents and sisters, I still had wonderful friends in my life. It’s essential to focus on the good in our life and try to be happy. Being sad and focusing on what we don’t have doesn’t change the circumstances.
We can make a list of what we have, or we can make a list of what we don’t have. The first list will bring us peace and happiness, while the second list will only bring us sadness. Even if we have a lot of things that make us unhappy, we can focus on the one thing that’s going well. The more we consider the good in our life, the more things seem to come together for us.
3. Cherish your loved ones while they are still here
Life is unpredictable, and we never know when our loved ones will leave us. That’s why it’s important to cherish the time we have with them. Call them often, visit them often, and share your life with them. The people who love you are the most important people in your life, and they deserve your time and attention.
4. Let go of your expectations and accept life as it comes
Life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect it to. Sometimes, we don’t get what we want, and we can feel disappointed and upset. However, it’s important to let go of those expectations and find reasons to be happy with what we have. Life becomes a lot better when we learn to accept it, even when it doesn’t turn out the way we hoped it would.
5. Don’t blame yourself
Blaming yourself for the death of a loved one is a natural response, but it’s not a productive one. Guilt is a harsh taskmaster that will only lead you down a long and lonely road with no end in sight. Even if you had meticulously planned out your life, unforeseen circumstances could still disrupt your plans.
You could not have changed the circumstances surrounding the loss, nor could you have prevented it in any way. When my mother, father, and sisters passed away, life continued on, and I realized that blaming myself would not change the situation. Instead, I found strength in the idea that God was helping me through these difficult times.
6. Embrace the positives in life
It’s easy to get lost in the pain and sadness of death, but it’s important to remember that life is full of surprises. Even when you’re going through tough times, there’s always the possibility that something wonderful could happen at any moment.
The highs of life can bring you unimaginable joy, so it’s important to be grateful for any blessings that you have. No matter what happens, try to enjoy the life you have. It’s up to you to make the most of it, and no one else can do that for you.
7. Live your dreams
Many of us give up on our dreams and settle for what society considers “normal”. We put our true selves in a box and turn our backs on who we are. But when faced with death, we realize that we should have gone for it after all. We start to wonder “what if” and “if only”.
That’s why it’s essential to do everything in your power to bring your dreams to life. Life is too short to live someone else’s dream. You have one life, and it’s yours to live and enjoy.
So, go out there and make your dreams a reality. After all, if not you, then who?
8. Be yourself
A valuable lesson I learned from death is how much time we all spend not being true to who we are. We often wish we were someone else, act like someone else, or care too much about what other people think. But the moment things become a matter of life and death, everything else melts away and seems very trivial. That’s when you realize that nothing matters more than being your true self and letting your light shine.
By doing so, you open yourself up to unexpected and amazing things. Moreover, when you’re busy being someone else, you miss out on the connections and depth of relationships that you could have had if you were just yourself, unencumbered by anything.
9. Let go of the small stuff
We all have a ton of thoughts running through our heads every day. And let’s be honest, most of them are pretty minor. Like, have you ever been lying in bed worrying about something as silly as the way you worded an email?
I know I have. It’s easy to get hung up on these little things, but they’re not worth it. They just take up space in our brains that could be used for better thoughts. Plus, when you think about the fact that we’re all going to die someday, those small worries seem even more trivial. So, if it’s not important in the grand scheme of things, let it go.
10. Action beats worry
Okay, so we know that sweating the small stuff isn’t worth it. But what about the bigger things in life? Surely, those are worth worrying about, right? Well, not really. When I was sitting by my dad’s bedside, I realized that even the big worries didn’t seem that important anymore.
Of course, some of them required me to take action, but worrying wasn’t helping anything. What I needed to do was make a plan and take action. It’s easy to get caught up in worrying, but it’s just a placeholder until we figure out what we need to do. So, next time you find yourself lost in worry, remember that action beats worry any day.