Lesson Notes

Nnebuugo Paul.
4 min readMay 27, 2024

Every life experience is a learning curve. The good, the bad and the what in the world?

Someone once told me, “I think you think you are perfect,” and I remember the shock I felt. I immediately retorted, “I don’t think or act like I am perfect. I know I am not,” to which the reply was, “Do you really?” Well, even if I thought that in my imperfections I was better than a lot of people, does that make it seem like I see myself as perfect? I had a conversation with myself about this exchange and decided to be more intentional about being open to my flaws, especially when they are pointed out. I titled this journey “Project Me 2.0,” and so it began.

The first thing I learned was that pride doesn’t always take the form we envision. Sometimes, it’s thinking you can do life alone and that no one could ever understand your struggles. I saw that pride could sometimes disguise itself as helplessness. What if you weren’t helpless? What if it was just that you weren’t reaching out for help? Wanting not to be dependent on anyone is admirable, but it’s not really how life works. You need people, and people need you.

The second thing I learned is that wanting to be in everyone’s good books is unrealistic. I’m not saying don’t do your best to be at peace with everyone, but to think that you are beyond being misunderstood or disliked, or that you must be forgiven by everyone you hurt, is delusional. Sometimes, “sorry” is not enough, and sometimes we really can’t do anything to right our wrongs. It’s important to know this because it helps you understand when to let go and move on.

I learned that being right or winning arguments has a satisfying feeling to it, but it is not always worth it, especially with people you love. Sometimes, in fact, most times, it’s not about what was said or the people involved. It’s usually an underlying battle that needs to be fought, and the easiest way to win is to fight together. What I mean is, sometimes it’s not about being vindicated or having the last word; the real battle is against what’s trying to break you or your bond.

I learned that sometimes things don’t go away, like grief, anger, pain, or trauma. They don’t just disappear into thin air. You learn to coexist — your grief alongside your joy, your pain alongside your happiness, your trauma alongside your light — and somehow, in the coexisting, a balance emerges. One day, you realize that your breathing has normalized, that your smiles are once again full, and your laughter genuine.

I learned that sometimes good is enough, and when good is enough, there is no point pushing for perfection. I know it sounds mediocre, but if it is not broken, why fix it?

I learned that even though it sometimes feels like it, there are no prolonged seasons. There is rain and sunshine, periods of pain and periods of joy. Some periods are longer, but like the feelings that don’t go away, you learn how to adapt. You have to, or the seasons may consume you.

I learned that worry is not always baseless, but even for the worries that are not baseless, you have to learn to surrender and let things happen naturally. Worry may not always be baseless, but it is almost always useless. I know it is easy, very easy, to just say, “Oh, don’t worry,” but it is really hard not to actually worry. Just remember, if worry weren’t useless, no one would have anything to worry about.

Here’s my favorite and final lesson: We are not going through worse things than other people, and other people are not going through worse things than us. I have a theory that everyone has their fair share of troubles, just enough to torment them, and that while our troubles can look like a piece of cake to others and vice-versa, everyone has their respective plates full. This changes everything. This means that rather than demand people’s time, money, or warmth, see every single second, dime, and hug as a privilege, an act of kindness. If one person or more than one person decides to take a chance on you in friendship, love, etc., it is a privilege, something to be thankful for.

Till I share my next lesson notes, cheers.

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Nnebuugo Paul.

Words are beautiful, stories are beautiful pieces of memories.