Important Life Lessons from Women in History
These are the top 12, most important life lessons to learn from these 4 women in history, to not only improve and enhance ourselves and our own lives, but the world and humankind as well.
Our history is filled with incredible and inspiring women, who did some amazing work and acts of service. Women, who were pioneers in their ways and times, who paved many paths, so we can follow them much easily. So more women could have more opportunities, and do more with themselves and their lives. These strong-willed and ambitious women, along with their creations and work, have not only inspired and motivated many other women around the world to do the same… They also taught us all some very important life lessons – for men and women alike. Especially as a single woman, in her 30’s, facing a lot of scrutiny, pressure and stigmas from society. And learning how to face it all, while trying to become a strong, independent and confident woman. Who is a whole being on her own, and doesn’t constantly depend on others to be empowered.
There are many more women to learn from than I can write about in just one blog post. I did, however, curate for you the top, most important life lessons, which I’ve also learned throughout my life. Especially in my singlehood.
Anne Frank – Be kind, do good, believe & remain hopeful
There’s much to learn from this young lady, who held on to hope, even when there wasn’t much to hold onto, if at all. This beautiful soul who still believed in the good of humankind, even when humankind showed its worst, horrific face. You may call it naivety, but if more people kept more of this youthful innocence… Perhaps there would be less hate, violence and toxicity in this world.
1. Focus on the small, simple things in life
“Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. People are just people, and all people have faults and shortcomings, but all of us are born with a basic goodness.”― Anne Frank
Happiness doesn’t lie in anything materialistic, nor could it be found in things like ego, power or wealth. Happiness lies in the small, simple things in life that we often tend to overlook, in favour of the big, shiny and loud. We seek out content and people that will blow our minds, that will provide us with huge life revelations. Yet, it’s the small acts of service and gestures that matter most.
2. Believe and remain hopeful
“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquillity will return again.”― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl
One of the most difficult things to do in life is to remain hopeful and keep believing, even though there’s so much hate and evil in the world. Even when it’s hard, and there’s one challenge after the other. What helps us get through these challenges and hurdles, is the hope for a better world and life. The belief that we can make it though, and even come out stronger and better on the other side.
3. There’s always beauty to behold
“I’ve found that there is always some beauty left — in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these can all help you.”― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl
Even in the most difficult of times, even when we’re surrounded by negativity and ugliness… There’s always something beautiful to focus on. Something better that can also give us hope. Yes, it’s terrible that the evil and ugly even exist, but at least they enhance the beautiful and good things, and make us appreciate them even more. Focusing on beauty will also give us strength and power, and help us get through the rough times. They will spark hope inside us, and motivate us to get and create more beauty.
Hannah Senesh – You are stronger than you know\
This brilliant, strong woman is the epitome of just how strong a woman can be. That women are not the weak links, nor are they inferior to the power and strength of men. This was a woman, a soldier, a warrior, who fought in battle and held captive across enemy lines. This was a powerful, strong-willed woman who remained loyal and refused to be broken, even when she was threatened and tortured (which is not something many could do).
4. Strive for change and impact
“There are stars whose radiance is visible on Earth though they have long been extinct. There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world even though they are no longer among the living. These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark. They light the way for humankind.”― Hannah Senesh
No matter how small you think you are, how insignificant any change you make will be… Continue striving to be and do good. Keep making the changes, no matter how small they are. You’re always making more impact than you think. The small individual power of many, together creates an unbeatable force. It also creates a ripple effect of sorts, and inspires others to do the same. Making changes to yourself and your own life isn’t selfish if you also use it to be a better person, and help others do the same. Personal change impacts the whole world, and creates a bigger change for everyone around you. It can even come down to the smallest of actions you take in your day… That you think are insignificant, but carry forward, further than you can even imagine.
5. Be willing to give from yourself to help others
“Blessed is the match, consumed in kindling flame.― Hannah Senesh
Blessed is the flame that burns in the heart’s secret places.
Blessed is the heart that knows, for honour’s sake, to stop its beating.
Blessed is the match, consumed in kindling flame.”
Are you willing to let your match burn, to light up many more lights and hearts? I preach a lot about putting yourself first, and that you need to build a self-relationship first and foremost. About being your best self, and living your best life. Part of doing so, however, is to be strong and able enough to also be there for and help others. Not only so we can spread love and healing, but also so we can improve as humans as well. Paying it forward and being able to give to others, is an inseparable part of the journey and process. It also encourages others to do the same. Imagine how much better the world would be if more people thought of more than just themselves and lended more helping hands, right?
6. Commemorate small moments of happiness in your life
“My God, my God,― Hannah Senesh
may it never end –
the sand and the sea,
the rustle of the water,
the brilliance of the sky,
the prayer of man.
When was the last time you just paused and took a moment, in your day to day life, just as you are, to just be? When was the last time you were at a place you go to daily, or walking down the same route, and took a moment to appreciate it? Technology isn’t the only thing in life that is automated these days. Many activities and things we do in our life are too, and we don’t even realise it. We rush through the walk with our dog, or the journey to work. We monotonically go through the motions, and rarely ever look up and around us. Let alone take a moment to cherish it, brand it into our brains and hearts. To just say thank you. Not only for our huge successes in life. But also for the smallest of things. Like being able to breathe, walk and talk. For the place we live, for the views we see.
Maya Angelou – Be true to yourself & who you are, you’re enough
If you’re struggling to believe in yourself as you are, that you too can be a pioneer… There’s no better place to turn to, than this wonderful, amazing and talented woman. A woman, who didn’t only stand up for her work at a time where it wasn’t ‘acceptable’… She also did so in her own way. Being unapologetically herself. In her own unique and special style. Normal is boring, so is perfection. In fact, what should be normal is being abnormal, being imperfectly you, and perfectly content with it.
7. Your self-love is irreplaceable
“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”― Maya Angelou
While I don’t believe you need to love yourself to love others and be loved… I do agree with Maya Angelou that you cannot truly trust someone’s love for you, or your love for them if you don’t even love yourself first and foremost. If you don’t love yourself, you’ll likely always doubt anyone else’s love for you. You also accept mediocre love, because you don’t believe you deserve better. You may even force yourself to love someone to avoid facing it, or to prove that you can love and be loved. And you’re certainly too dependent on other’s love for you, and impacted by it more than you should be. It’s more important than your own self-love, even replacing it – although it never can truly do that, at least not properly. And really, how can you ever give anything you don’t even have for yourself?
8. Don’t let life just happen to you
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”― Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter
While many things in life are not under our control, and many things will happen to us whether we want to or not… We can always choose how and if we let it impact us and control our lives moving forward. The easiest option is to just use it as an excuse, blame the world and its sister for the pit we’re stuck in. wallow and drown in self-pity, instead of using it as momentum to do and be better, by learning from it and how to prevent it in the future. No one thing and event in your life can define you, not unless you allow it to. You can easily allow it to taint everything else you do. Or you can choose to fight through it, and come out stronger for it.
9. If you want it and if you want to be good at it, do it & practise it regularly
Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.― Maya Angelou
If you want to be good at something, if you want to improve anything in life, you actually need to spend time doing it. Not just once in a while when you have time, you need to do so regularly. You also need to challenge yourself, enhance the difficulty and add weight, to become stronger and better. You won’t ever learn to enjoy your own company, if you don’t spend quality time with yourself. There’s no way to be strong and independent on your own, if you don’t take the time to be with yourself. You’ll never have a good, healthy self-relationship, if you don’t develop and maintain it. If you have a passion, it won’t ever become your career if you don’t build it up to be one. If you don’t continue to invest in learning and getting better, no matter how advanced you are, you’ll remain stuck in place.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Fight for change for yourself, as well as for & with others
This powerful, amazing woman was a force to be reckoned with. Who fought not only for her own rights and place at the top, but also for other women. She paved a way for herself at a time that it was almost unheard of. Even more than that, she opened gates and created paths for women in general, to follow her and do the same as she did. Ruth Bader Ginsburg inspired generations of people, but especially women, to break barriers in general, and specifically – gender barriers.
Read more about Ruth Bader Ginsburg
10. Pave your own way, but don’t gate-keep it
“Whatever you choose to do, leave tracks. That means don’t do it just for yourself. You will want to leave the world a little better for your having lived.”— Ruth Bader Ginsburg
An inseparable part of living your best life and being your best self, is also paving the way for others to do and be the same. You don’t need to help everyone do exactly what you did, and you don’t have to constantly worry about others and their dreams. You should, however, inspire and motivate others. Show them how you achieved your goals, and that they can do the same. You don’t have to give away for free your whole life’s work blueprint. You’re just lending a helping hand, and giving pushes in the right direction. Because helping someone doesn’t mean you need to show them the whole way. You need to lead them in the right direction, and they need to put in their own work and make it their own.
11. Pause, breathe and think before you act & react
“Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”— Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Most emotions come and go, and often we can’t control them, their intensity or how long they last. We should never, however, allow them to control and consume us completely. We certainly shouldn’t allow them to dictate our actions. More often than not, when reacting in the heat of your emotions, especially with anger or envy… We tend to make a bigger scene than we should. Acting and reacting in such ways, only causes explosions and regressions. I found that taking time before responding to anything in life, not only reduces the intensity in which you respond… But also gives you time to put things into perspective, and react more maturely. Perhaps even realise that some things don’t even deserve your attention or time. You certainly won’t manage to make change or a difference in someone else’s opinions, when reacting with full force emotions. Your emotions will overpower the point you’re trying to make, and that is all the other side will see.
12. Be your own person, no matter your status in life
“My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.”— Ruth Bader Ginsburg
No matter what you do with yourself and your life, no matter your relationship status… You should always strive to be your own person as well. Don’t lose your identity in other people and relationships. Don’t be defined by other people and relationships in your life. The one and only relationship that should and could define who you are and your life, is your own self-relationship. You can still be in relationships with others, grow with them together, while still remaining a whole, empowered individual on your own. No matter how many people you surround yourself with, you should always be comfortable on your own first. Be strong, confident and independent enough to do things alone, with and for yourself.
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