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What is a Life Lesson?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 23, 2024
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A life lesson is just what it sounds like -- a lesson you learn in life. It's really based on the idea of learning from your mistakes. These lessons could be described as defining moments that are remembered. Since they are based on an individual's life experiences, they are unique to each person.

Life lessons can occur in any area. Although we learn many things each day, we don't always learn something that we feel will affect our behavior for the rest of our lives. This separates a life lesson from everything else we learn. It is usually something we feel profoundly changed by.

For example, if we respond in a certain way to something and then face unpleasant consequences from our actions, this can make us rethink how we handled the situation. We would want to make different choices and decisions in the future to get the outcome we wanted instead of the one we didn't. This can serve as a life lesson so that when confronted with similar circumstances, we can consciously change our behavior. To put it simply, a life lesson teaches us not to make the same mistake twice.

Life lessons can serve to help us understand ourselves better. Since the lesson is learned through the consequences of our actions or reactions, in this way we can gain insight into how we think, act and react in certain situations. Perhaps one of the biggest lessons we can ultimately learn is that while we can't control everything, we can control our response to things.

An example of a life lesson in the area of work and career could be the revelation that making a modest living at something we are passionate about is better than working at an unpleasant or dull job for more money. Such lessons in relationships are as varied and unique as each relationship, yet there are common themes such as spending more time with loved ones. Some of us learn a major life lesson when a loved one dies and we wish we had spent more time with that person. This lesson can result in us spending more time with our remaining loved ones.

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Discussion Comments

By anon993456 — On Nov 16, 2015

Life is irony itself: nothing is worth it. It will all end, yet you have to do your best. That's a life lesson.

By anon122326 — On Oct 27, 2010

be careful who you trust. you have to harden your heart to the world. the people you trust are the ones who will hurt you in a heartbeat. most people would disagree but my story tells all. i trusted my biological father with everything in me. he raped me for a year and a half and is now being punished for it. you can't trust everyone, not even those who you think you can trust. --brittnay r.

By anon81619 — On May 02, 2010

the most important lesson in life is to have fun.

people seem to have money problems these days and are always unsatisfied with their wealth status.

What's more important? money or a good life? You earn money for better life but why not put down the greed and instead live a happy life with no money concerns?

By somerset — On Apr 11, 2009

One of the life lessons would be not to be judgmental. Very often we might not fully understand a certain issue or behavior, and later on in life when we are faced with the same situation, we realize, aha, that is what it really meant.

So be kind, always, a good life lesson.

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