Very often in life, there are moments that change who we are. Moments that change how the rest of life will play out for us. For me personally, one of those moments was a suicide attempt in 2015. The next 5 years of my life would become about growth, rebuilding, positivity, health, self-care, and fulfillment. I decided to put together a list of all of the life lessons I learned as a result of my suicide attempt. I went about 18 months after my suicide attempt just processing trauma, and then, my self-discovery began.
While I’m not trying to glorify suicide in the name of knowledge, I am trying to share some of my realizations. A lot of my writing is about the human experience, and how we use what we learn to positively impact others, so I believe there is a lot of value in me putting all of these thoughts down in one place and sharing it. I hope this list can provide value to someone who is struggling.
Here are 49 Life Lessons I Learned From Suicide:
1 – The past is irrelevant now.
There is only right now, what comes after, and what you’re doing to shape it. It does not matter how many bad days you’ve had already, it’s about what you do with the current day you have when you wake up in the morning.
2 – It is literally all on you.
You can build and build and build and the only person that can tear you down is yourself. Life is about what you allow yourself to feel and what kind of energy you invest in. Nobody is coming to save you. If you don’t like what you are and what you see, it’s on you to begin to live something different.
3 – We, as human beings, are capable of absolutely anything that we set our minds to.
People have confused pessimism with “being realistic.” 98% of people don’t believe in themselves so when people want to chase their dreams, people feel the need to project their own disbeliefs and doubts onto other people – “You can’t do that!” or “You’ll never make it!”
4 – The mental health system in America is insanely broken, and emphasizes what’s wrong with us as human beings, rather than working to make us feel whole.
The system reinforces the idea that we’re sick and are supposed to represent a certain kind of person and lifestyle. Drugs are marketed as an appealing, “one-size-fits-all” solution to right the mind. We’re lead to believe that we have something wrong with us internally that needs to be fixed – and that it can only be fixed by pharmaceuticals.
5 – Medication will not save you.
It has the potential to make things more manageable in the short-term, but meds can also set you up for far more severe problems than you were initially having. You can’t just take meds and expect everything to change. It’s meant to control the environment while you work on the change and work on yourself. There is still a lot of work that has to be done internally, in addition to medication. Therapy and self-awareness will get you much farther than medication will. Additionally, medication was never meant to be taken long-term, but we live in a society that has accepted this as the norm.
6 – The people you spend your time with will become a part of you and how you approach life.
If you are around bad people all the time, you will slowly become desensitized to their behavior, and you will soon become one of them. By contrast, if you’re around good people all the time, you will come to develop a certain standard of ethics and morals, and you will slowly be molded into one of them. Our environment shapes us, be careful about who you choose.
7 – Good people are out there if you’re willing to look for them.
But you are about 10,000 times more likely to find them and spend time around them if you are actively working on being a good person yourself. The law of attraction, you get back what you put out.
8 – 9 out of 10 people want to talk about being good and positive, but are not.
9 out of 10 people talk the talk but do not walk the walk. The majority of people you come across will say one thing, and do another. So when you find someone who is genuinely bound by their word, keep them close.
9 – Falling in love with life is not an overnight thing.
It’s a journey, a healing process. You are responsible for your progress and most people are not careful enough about who they allow into their path and the impact that this decision has on their progress in life.
10 – Life is not a game of checkers. It is chess.
There is not one standard set of rules for how we move across the board, there are a vast array of options and directions to travel in. We get to pick the piece, we get to pick the move, we get to pick the direction we travel in, we [usually] have some control over the pace, we get to decide what it is that we’re working toward, and when it’s time to change the plan of attack. But you have to play the game if you want different circumstances. Sitting still and not moving any pieces will only depress you more.
11 – Failure is not fatal.
Everyone is walking around, petrified of failure. Petrified of falling flat on their face, because they don’t want to hear other people say “I told you so.” But guess what? Failure is necessary to grow. Failure is necessary to find your success. I have long said “there is no such thing as true failure.” And I stand by that statement. True failure is to die without having ever positively impacted anyone. It’s so rare that it doesn’t actually happen. So we act as if we’re dying by every small hiccup along the way. Guess what? People are going to say “I told you so.” And you’re going to fall flat on your face. But you know what? Sit comfortable in the decision and knowledge that you even got off your ass and tried, because that’s more than can be said for them. Failure is a stepping stone – a building block, and it is a necessary component of the process and journey. To deny yourself opportunities because of the fear of failure is to deny your own growth. There is no such thing as failure. Win or learn how to do it better. Period.
12 – Isolation isn’t all bad, but it’s a dangerous line to walk.
Being around other people, interacting with them, being a part of someone else’s journey and doing positive things for other people – not only are these things that give you more purpose in life, but there’s a lot of research as to how these things improve your quality of life and actually help you live longer.
13 – Being positive is harder than being negative.
Being good is harder than being an asshole. It takes more work, it takes far more composure, and above all else, it’s far healthier. Negative, pessimistic thoughts and behavior literally deteriorate your health. Again, there’s research on this sort of thing, but basically, a negative mind will affect your immune system and eventually lead to an unhealthy body and make you more vulnerable to cancer. Get into the habit of saying positive things about yourself, to yourself, for yourself. Be good to yourself and be good to the people around you – lift up everyone.
14 – As Jim Carrey once said in a very powerful speech: “you can still fail at the safe play.”
The only growth in life happens outside of your comfort zone – by constantly challenging those boundaries. I was consumed by negative self-talk, and so every decision I made was about the “perceived correct move” by society. And I still found myself bleeding out in a bath tub, because I was wildly unhappy. Please, do everything in your power to make your dream life come true. Because you are not getting a single fucking second back. Do not live a life that sets you up for regret. It’s not the rest of society that has to live with the decision to not chase your dreams, it’s you. It’s you at 1am alone and cold in your room, when you have to be up in 5 hours to get to the office and you’re miserable and just want a break. Living for your dreams is YOUR decision to make, don’t let other people rob you of it with their judgment and opinions.
15 – Time is an unbelievable concept.
And all I can really say about it is, when you’re hurting… give it time.
16 – Most of the negativity and pessimism in our heads is actually just the voice of someone else that we’ve adopted as our own voice.
A lot of self-doubt and disbelief about our own abilities has to do with the people that we are around or people that we’ve been around in the past, occupying permanent real estate in our minds. Meditate and learn to get that extra shit out of your head. It’s unneeded noise, and people don’t deserve to have real estate in your head like that.
17 – Meditation is a mental reset button.
Meditation teaches us to let go of fear, guilt, shame, anger and resentment, anxiousness, sadness and depression, stress, etc. There are tons of different disciplines of meditation and it is THE FIRST TOOL we should be turning people to when they’re depressed or anxious. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who “tried it once” and wrote it off as something that doesn’t work for them, and they’ve influenced others to believe the same. Let me say this as clearly as I can. Two of the most important things you can do to be a healthy person are meditation and exercise. And yes, they do work for everyone and there’s a lot of research and data as to why that’s the case. THE CATCH, is that they must be done consistently. But it’s easier to say it doesn’t work for you than it is to practice it consistently.
18 – If you wanted it bad enough, you would figure out how to make it happen.
19 – Your diet and what you fuel your body with affects your mental state.
It affects how you feel, it affects your energy levels, it affects your mindset and your attitude. Making good food choices isn’t just about looking good, or physically feeling good, it’s about maintaining a positive headspace. It becomes a lot harder to think positively when your body isn’t getting the right nutrients and feels run-down and sluggish.
20 – Our world emphasizes immediate gratification.
You have to be focused on the long-term play if you want to live a happy life. Without that perspective, you’ll get discouraged every single time.
21 – Our societal construct of love is flawed, unhealthy, toxic, and unrealistic.
There is no one person out there who is the perfect match for you, who was made for you. Life is not a fairy tale or a love story. It’s life. It extends longer than the 2 hours of that romantic movie, a few seasons of that tv show, or the several weeks it took you to read that book. Those forms of entertainment are not reality – real life love stories are far more complex. There is no one out there “made” for you. There is only an infinite expanse of other human beings who are on their own healing journey. Love is learning. Love is patience. Love is unique, for every single person that experiences it. It is not something that’s already been defined. It is a part of the future that must be built, sculpted, and shaped. And this naive, unfortunate notion that your partner is your property is destroying relationships and people’s self-esteem. Every individual in this world is their own person, it is not our place to take that away from other people. If a relationship prevents you from being yourself and having your own life, it’s likely becoming unhealthy.
22 – Question everything.
Also, never be afraid to ask questions, and know that there is no such thing as a stupid question.
23 – Your success is for you to define, no one else.
Not your parents, not your significant other or spouse, not your best friend, not your boss – YOU.
24 – Stop buying shit you don’t need.
You are spending all of your time getting caught up in making sure that you have the correct material possessions to be perceived the way that you want to be perceived by society and you’re not actually living because of it. Give up the gucci belt, pass on the sports car, deal with having an older model of iPhone. You don’t gain anything with these possessions. Nobody gives a flying fuck. Do you.
25 – Believing and speaking things into existence is a part of creating your reality.
I only ever saw myself as a depressed drunk, and that is what I became until a very bitter end. My journey and my growth lead me to adopt a much healthier mindset of seeing myself as a musician, business owner, and mixed martial artist – and so, I learned to become those things instead.
26 – Your daily grind is what is shaping your future – 5 years, 10 years, 25 years from now – you will be living what you created in the past.
If you spend your time working on your next move, on the next chapter of your life, you’ll probably like some of the things you see in the future. If your daily grind is about watching hours of tv every night, binge watching shows on netflix, or scrolling through social media, then that speaks to what your future holds. Because you’re not building things with the time that you have.
27 – You need to develop the capacity to hold yourself accountable and set guidelines and rules for yourself.
If you want to watch a show on netflix, great… limit yourself to 1 or 2 episodes. If you want to lose weight, then hold yourself accountable – eat less, track your calories, stay hydrated better, or choose a smaller plate. YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO HELP YOURSELF.
28 – Social Media has had a far more negative impact on the world than we want to believe.
We’re seeing more and more people that don’t know how to interact with one another. More intolerance. More greed. More anger. More envy. All the while, we’re experiencing skyrocketing numbers for depression, anxiety, and suicide rates. Though there are positives to tools like social media, it’s very important to understand that we’re playing with fire by spending time on these platforms. Even just scrolling through a news feed impacts your focus and attention-span. We’re being flooded with so many different messages and ideas all at once, and letting these platforms have a direct impact on our well-being and brain chemistry.
29 – Ending the pain is not the answer.
Working through it, learning from it, growing from it, and using those experiences and lessons to create something positive is the answer. It’s the healthier and more fulfilling option. It also takes a lot of hard work.
30 – You don’t have to be a shitty person just because you’ve been through shitty things and been around shitty people.
31 – It takes a lot of strength to admit when you’re wrong.
32 – Sometimes you’re the toxic person.
This is, unfortunately, a door that many are too weak to open. But as flawed human beings, sometimes YOU are the person that needs to correct their behavior. You have to be able to have that conversation with yourself and admit that to yourself in order to be able to live a healthy and happy life. Hold yourself accountable and be able to tell yourself when you were in the wrong.
33 – Everything you want in life is within your grasp.
It’s a matter of figuring out the first step and beginning to define your plan of attack.
34 – You have to start with you.
You have to start internally. You can’t chase your wildest dreams and help other people and be a powerful, positive force for change and positivity if you don’t know about yourself first. Figure out what makes you tick, so that you can figure out how to be your highest self. When you learn what and who you’re working towards, only then, can you contribute to the world.
35 – Content is powerful.
The content you consume begins to shape who you are and what you become. Music, movies, television shows, podcasts, YouTube videos, social media photos and memes, video games, professional presentations, all of it. This is all content. And the content you spend your time with very often challenges and reinforces beliefs and behaviors within you. So be very mindful of the content you consume, as it can very quickly become toxic and poisonous – in both quality and quantity.
36 – Life, in itself, is in a constant state of change.
Nothing is really truly lasting forever. So when things are good, make sure you savor the moment. Immerse yourself in it and live life. And when things are bad, understand that it won’t be bad forever – that’s just how life works. Good and bad are always coming and going, and sometimes you just need to hang on to get to the next chapter, where the bad isn’t there anymore and you can just enjoy more of the good.
37 – Live your life gratefully.
Especially if you live in America and have an opportunity to make literally anything happen with your life. You have that freedom to choose. But live gratefully and never forget what you have. Never take the good things in your life for granted. A roof over your head, food on the table, clothes on your back, a car to be able to travel to and from work – be grateful for these things, always. Life will get vastly more complex, and it’s important to stay grounded in your understanding and gratitude for having the essentials.
38 – It is literally never too late to pick up and go in a different direction.
There’s no such thing as “too late.” If you’re still breathing then it’s not too late.
39 – You are a soul with a body, not a body with a soul.
Understanding that fact and knowing what it means will help you live a vastly different and more meaningful life.
40 – Your body is your vessel, and your voice, the communication of that vessel.
Every word out of your mouth and every action you make is reflecting who you are as a human being and the person that you are becoming. Choose your words and actions carefully, as they will one day be what people remember about you when you’re gone. Make sure there is something of value to be said about you.
41 – Life is not a competition.
Nobody out there is competing against you. Nobody is your rival. Just live your life, do you, and create something that you’re proud of and that was positive for other people. This journey is entirely your own, and it’s about your own development rather than trying to impress or do better than other people.
42 – Crown yourself first.
Nobody is going to see you as someone unique, as King or Queen, if deep inside you still treat yourself like a worthless peasant. You have to decide “YES! I am King and I have value, I have worth, I am important, and I can do something that’s important.” Most importantly, you have to be able to say “I deserve better.” Treat yourself right, so that others will better understand how to treat you as well. I write this one especially for people who are frequently putting themselves down, particularly with self-deprecating humor. The things you say about yourself and the way you treat yourself play a very large role in how others approach and address you. Putting yourself down harms you and your relationships… and no, it’s not cool.
43 – Pain isn’t cool.
Being sad and depressed isn’t cool. And while we’re at it, let’s also get rid of this ridiculous notion that you have to be sad or hurt to be inspired. A lot of media has directed people to this idea that it’s cool to be the lonely, isolated, dangerous, person. It’s not. Trust me, I’ve lived and died in that life. What’s really fucking cool is setting goals and working toward your wildest dreams.
44 – Being a positive, optimistic person, who is supportive of others isn’t about being “a good person,” it’s about the fact that these things actually make you physically, mentally, and spiritually healthier.
45 – The most precious thing that we have in this life, is time.
We never get any of it back, and where you choose to spend your time will determine a lot about your life. Protect your time, be wise with your time, do not waste your time, and do not surround yourself with people who waste your time.
46 – Having big ideas is great, but only the hard work will bring these ideas to realization.
It’s great to have a grand plan, but the grand plan only matters if you’re taking steps to achieve that dream. Additionally, natural talent will only take you so far. Even if you’re extraordinarily good at something, you will need to put in the time, effort, hard work and dedication in order to advance within it that craft.
47 – What others say and do is far beyond our control.
The only thing that we can control is our reaction, and what we allow ourself to feel. Ultimately, you always make the decision about how you choose to feel.
48 – Investing in yourself.
Focusing on yourself. Ending friendships and relationships, and working to find your happiness. None of this is selfish. When you start doing these things, your life will restructure, and many people may call you selfish. But it is not selfish to make decisions for your own life that are about improving your long-term happiness.
49 – Holding yourself and others to unrealistic standards will cause burnout.
You can’t be perfect and the people in your life can’t be perfect. Perfection does not exist. What does exist, however, is communication and hard work. When you have unrealistic expectations, you will get discouraged and disappointed every time, because you have expectations of a reality that does not exist – You are essentially denying your own reality.
I am 25 years old and speak like a 75 year old with infinite wisdom – Not because I think I have it all figured out, but because I have made an incredible point of learning from my life and my experiences. This article was really different for me to write, but I felt that it could be a piece that speaks for my platform and what I’m trying to do – so thank you for taking the time to read it.
If I was able to provide value for you in any way, please help support my writing by sharing it with anyone you know who might be interested.