I published my first post on April 24, 2009, which means that blogging has been teaching me and changing me for almost six years. There are many people who think blogging is silly, stupid and a waste of time. They are also quite verbal about it when they find out I blog. You should see some of the condescending eye rolls, under the breath snickers or dismissive put-downs I’ve received over the years. It’s amazing how ignorant, close-minded people are so much more verbal and judgmental.
Today I thought I would share with you some of the lessons that blogging can teach you about life and how being a blogger has changed me. In no particular order I’m going to give you a long informative list. Well, in no particular order except for the last one. You know how I always have to leave the last one of a list for my most favorite or the one that’s the most important. Let’s get started and don’t jump to the end just because I mentioned the last one. Ha! Ha!
Top 41 Lessons Blogging Teaches About Life And How Blogging Has Changed Me
- Viewpoints have a back story – When you read something someone has written on a blog you’ve never visited before, it is important to remember that this person has a back story. Jump over to their “about page” and introduce yourself to their experience and who they are online and in real life.
It reminds me of the English idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover” and this is really important online. When someone puts their life into the public view to enjoy or dissect, it is important to understand what they have experienced because it is the basis of what motivates them. You’ll gain more from their writing if you “know” them and what got them to this point of their life.
- The world is small – At just a click of the computer mouse, I can visit people and locations all over the world. Not only can I view the landscape and go inside businesses, but bloggers often invite you in and give you a tour of their home. By being able to “see” the lives of people in far away places, it becomes even more evident that the world is really rather small.
- There are good people everywhere – It’s easy to get jaded and bitter because of the people around you. Sometimes we become so buried in our own lives that we can’t see very far past the people who have hurt us. By reading other blogs or the comments left on your own blog, it doesn’t take long to realize that there are a lot of good people all over the world.
- “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt had wise words when he said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” As much as I want to scream, “That’s not true!” deep down in my heart I know I’m wrong. It is my choice to take the evil or unkind words of another as the cold hard truth. Their cold hard truth may be the truth for their life or may be their opinion about you or your life, but there is no reason to let their words wreck what you know is the truth about you or your life.
- Listening is a skill – I’m a good listener, but I found that listening is not only necessary as a blogger, but listening is a skill that many people do not possess. The natural tendency as a human is to focus on me, me, me. Selfishness is easy. Willingly sacrificing and giving to others not only helps them, but also will make you a better person. You can’t focus on others if you are talking all the time!
- Life is not a competition – We all have one life. Everyone’s life ends the same way. Death. Life is not a competition. When you are about to die, you won’t get a big trophy for being the best person to ever live on the planet. Life also is not a race. Do you really want to race to the end and die? The journey is the sweetness of life. Each day, one day at a time, life provides a new opportunity to love, laugh and learn. Enjoy it!
- Change is inevitable – Man, oh man, have I learned A LOT about change by blogging. Night after night and blog post after blog post I’ve confronted change and the effects change has made in my life. Through all the self-introspection, I’ve been able to see where I came from, where I am now, and the path I will be on if I continue.
- Good blogging requires work – Blogging is not easy. Not only do you have to take photographs, think of topics to write about, organize your thoughts, promote your blog, learn all the technology required to write and promote your blog, but you also have to spend countless hours writing, writing and rewriting.
Juggling all the responsibilities in order to have a well thought out blog requires talent and unwavering commitment. That’s not only tiring, but it’s hard. Blogging is hard work, but in my opinion, it has been worth the effort.
Life is the same as blogging. Everyday is a new juggling act and it gets tiring and hard, but the rewards reaped make life worth living.
- People are slow to change their mind – Change is a slow process. Changing a character trait not only requires recognizing the need to change and having the desire to change, but also implementing all the different elements required to make the change. It is not a natural or comfortable feeling to make changes. People don’t like feeling uncomfortable. That uncomfortableness is what makes people change slowly if at all.
- You can only control yourself – Learning that I cannot change another person has really been a difficult life lesson for me. There must be more than a couple thousand ways to try and change someone and I’ve probably tried all of them. That’s not something I’m very proud of, but it’s really the truth.
The good news is that although the evil control freak occasionally rears her ugly red head, for the most part I’ve given up trying to change people. I realize that I can “suggest” changes and “show” how the changes can improve a person’s life, but I can’t MAKE THE PERSON CHANGE.
Can I just add “unfortunately” to this train of thought? Ha! Ha! Well! My life would have been MUCH easier if I had the power to change people. Duh!
- Blogging teaches you marketable skills – Who would have ever believed that blogging could teach you skills that are valuable and marketable workplace skills? Well, blogging can teach you so much! In order to have a successful blog, you have to either hire someone to do everything except write the material or you need to learn HTML, photography, marketing, social media, trends, analysis, design, organization, and new technological advances or changes.
- Be true to yourself – You know what you believe and why you believe it. Speak the truth about yourself and be willing to draw the line on the things you want to keep private.
For instance, you will find that I do not discuss specific religions, sexual preference, or politics on my blog. I’ve learned that life is much easier if I do not discuss those topics face-to-face either. All three of those topics are EXTREMELY controversial and are irrelevant to the intent or message that I try to convey in my writing. There are very few people that I discuss those topics and almost all of them are related to me!
The one thing I believe is that we all have the freedom to choose how we live. Those choices will bring about good and bad consequences. Your choices are YOUR choices which means that the consequences of your choices and actions are YOUR consequences. So do what you want with your eyes wide open as to where your choice will lead your future.
- Have an open mind – Before you jump to a conclusion, take the time to research the topic. Keep an open mind and try to see it from the writer or speaker’s point of view. The topic may be familiar or the words may hold a particular meaning to you, but the other person may bring a whole different slant to the your preconceived ideas.
Give everyone a chance to explain their view by being open-minded and tolerant of the differences. That holds true whether you are chatting with someone face-to-face or reading a blog post. Just because you see their viewpoint doesn’t mean you have to agree with it.
- It’s okay to be different – We are all unique. I don’t like the quote, “You are unique just like everyone else” because it minimizes the beauty of being an individual. Everyone IS UNIQUE and NO ONE will EVER be EXACTLY like you. That’s awesome. That’s phenomenal. That’s exciting. That’s beautiful!!!
It is perfectly find to be different. With that being said, it is also okay to have a blog that is different than every other blog. For an example, the “rule” is to have short blog posts. Ha! As a rule, I do not have short blog posts. I cannot express my full thought in 200 – 500 words. Well, I could probably express it, but I wouldn’t be able to give a story or explain it in detail with examples. I like doing it my way!
From the very beginning of my blogging experience I knew that I would not be like everyone else and it was okay with me. As a redhead I’ve always been different in most circumstances, so being a different kind of blogger didn’t intimidate me or make me feel wrong. I’m happy to have my blog be the way it is and I enjoy my own blog. That’s important too!
- If you want to make money, you need to blog consistently – Does a full time job usually require that you work five days a week and eight hours a day all year long? Yep! If blogging is going to be your business and you want it to make money, then you have to blog all the time. Blog posts have to be consistent so that your readers can depend on the material and can look forward to reading what you write. If you are sporadic or take long sabbaticals, you will lose readers and not make money. It’s just that simple.
- Blogging can be the journal of your life – The whole reason I started my blog was to write down the journey of my life with my daughter and so that when I pass away someday, my blog will be a comfort to her. My blog not only shares the events of my life, but also my beliefs, knowledge and experience. As time has passed, a lot more people than just my daughter read my blog. I never dreamed that anyone other than Alyssa and my family would read my blog consistently or that it would be helpful to anyone. Just like with your face-to-face friends, sharing your real life story can help the readers of your blog.
- You can make good friends by blogging – On October 30, 2010, Joan Oshatz made first contact with me via email and on December 2, 2011, Skip Dahlgren made his first comment on my blog. Over the years, Joan and Skip have become two of the best friends I’ve ever had and I met them both because I’m a blogger.
Joan lives in California, Skip lives in Arkansas, and I live in Richmond, Virginia. The three of us are spread across the United States. Without the Internet, we wouldn’t have ever “met” each other. We have gotten to know each other by phone, text messages, chat, Facebook, Twitter, forum messages, email, and my blog, but we’ve never met face-to-face…yet. I love both of them and will forever be grateful for my blog and the part it played in bringing us together.
- The list is endless – As a blogger, there’s always more to do. There’s never a time that I can say, “I’ve done it all and I’m finished!” After I’ve spent ten hours on the computer, so often family and friends will say, “What have you been doing?” I never quite know how to answer that question. Just saying, “Working on my blog or business,” sounds lame. If I actually gave them a list of all the things I actually worked on, they would either think I have lost my mind or that I should be a millionaire after doing that much work on a blog.
Blogging is time consuming. It’s the same thing with life. Even without a blog, at the end of the day I was never able to say that I had accomplished everything. There was always more recipes I wanted to cook, another thing I wanted to sew, more clothes to iron, another person to visit, the next book to read…The list of things I want to do is endless. I am never bored. I may be boring at times to some people, but I am never personally bored. There’s simply not enough time in the day for me to do everything I want to do!
- Your creative side is there somewhere – I used to write, not like I do now on my blog, but I had started a book a long time ago which I never finished. I didn’t have much confidence in myself back then and took the “you’re never going to make money writing” comments as a dagger to the heart. I simply put down the pen and stopped.
When I decided to start blogging, my skin was a bit thicker, plus I didn’t think anyone was going to read it except for family and a few friends. Over the past six years, not only has my writing improved, but my creativity and technical skills have flourished.
It is necessary to keep what other people say about your pursuit of your passion in perspective. It is THEIR opinion and not YOUR truth. Do not give up your dreams because of something someone says to you. Hold your dreams tight and don’t let go no matter what Hell falls around you.
- Be thoughtful, but do it – The tasks to perform in order to keep a blog going are often overwhelming, but I just do them one at a time. I don’t rush. I don’t panic. I thoughtfully plod along accomplishing one task after another. Giving up on my blog is not an option. The same advice can be applied to living a happy life….
The tasks to perform in order to keep my life going are often overwhelming, but I just do them one at a time. I don’t rush. I don’t panic. I thoughtfully plod along accomplishing one task after another. Giving up on my life is not an option.
In all honesty, sometimes I panic. You already knew that though, didn’t you?
- Pat yourself on the back – It’s great having other people pat you on the back, but there’s nothing like patting yourself on the back for a job well done or a life crisis finally tackled. Being happy with yourself and your accomplishments is so healthy!!!
- Sometimes the answer is “no” – If you work hard, you win the prize, right?
Sometimes you work hard, doing your very best, but you still don’t win the prize.
Sometimes the answer is “no” and no matter how hard you work or how good your best is, it simply doesn’t matter. Dreams do not always come true.
- It’s not all about me, but it is all about me – Blogging for me is personal, but by sharing so much of myself with you, my blog is also about you.
When I shared my story of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), there were two opinions – There were people who thanked me for being so open and people who ridiculed or shamed me for being so open. At the time, I was hurt that anyone would ridicule my openness, but I was in a bad place back then. Looking back, I get angry at people who ridicule or shame me for sharing my PTSD struggles.
Is a cancer patient ridiculed when they share their story?
Hiding PTSD not only doesn’t help the sick person, but it keeps the vast public ignorant. The lack of understanding about the disorder is one reason that it is so hard to heal. It also causes people to believe things that aren’t true.
Remember this people…KNOWLEDGE is POWER. If you UNDERSTAND PTSD, you can HELP those who are SUFFERING. You can’t get knowledge about PTSD unless people share their experiences with you and you take the time to listen until you understand.
Yeah, I’m a bit passionate about this subject.
- I can’t read everything – The Internet has so much information on it that no matter how many hours I surf and read each day, I’ll never be able to read everything. I also can walk into any library and the same fact remains true. There is a limited amount of time in each day, so I can’t read everything on every blog or website no matter how great my desire is to do so.
- Trust yourself – There’s a little voice in your head called a conscience. It is portrayed in cartoons as an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. Both are whispering in your ear and trying to persuade you to make a choice. I don’t know about your angel or devil shoulder dwellers, but I do know that deep down in your heart you’ll feel the right choice for you in any given situation. It may take solitude and meditation to connect with your feelings, but it is important that YOU choose instead of letting other people pull you to and fro.
- Blogging pulls you out of 1825 – One of the things I tried to do as a parent was to “be” in the same generation as my daughter. I took the time to listen to the music she liked, watched the movies she enjoyed, etc. Alyssa kept me in tune with what’s “hip” and remain “with the times” even though I often still chose the same old things for myself. No matter what I chose to do for me, I was knowledgeable about now.
I believe the same concept applies to blogging. It is impossible to be a successful blogger without changing, progressing and keeping up with the latest greatest technology and information. Blogging each day about our life keeps me very aware of today. I remember yesterday and can look forward to tomorrow, but TODAY is really what’s happening.
- Blogging can be a business – If you treat blogging as a business, it IS a business. As with any other business, if you work hard at it, you can make money and blogging can be your business.
- You can’t be a part of everything – Like blogging and social media, different activities in life can pull you into the abyss and steal every minute of the day. You can obsess over anything…watching television, going to the movies, eating, shopping, sleeping, traveling, golfing, hunting, skiing, horseback riding, gardening, dancing, and the list goes on and on. I could sit at this computer every waking moment and perform some aspect of “blogging,” but that would leave zero time for living.
It’s best if you keep everything in moderation!
“It is better to rise from life as from a banquet – neither thirsty nor drunken.” ~ Aristotle ~
- It is more interesting and easier to remember events with good pictures – Blurred pictures don’t fly on a blog. Crappy pictures are boring and can even be aggravating. A clear, well placed photograph adds so much to a blog post.
I take pictures ALL the time. Thousands of pictures. Even though I have so many pictures, when I flip through them, I can remember experiencing the moment in each. Photographs help me to remember not only the big moments of my life, but some of the quiet, introspective moments.
I have the first black and white photographs that I took and all I can say is, I’ve come a long way baby!
- Everyone was raised differently – When I sit down and write a post or talk to someone, I try to remember that we all come from a different childhood. I was very blessed with a lot of people who cared and loved me. Some people didn’t have that blessing. Rather than writing about my experience like someone throwing an apple pie in your face, I try to share it with you.
Whether I’m writing or talking to people, I remain aware that I have NO IDEA what they have been through, what they are now going through, or what they are thinking. It helps me to not only be more tolerant and accepting of our differences, but I also don’t have expectations or set myself up for disappointment. Being cognizant of this one fact sure has helped me to be happier in all my relationships.
- Pictures last forever – If you don’t want everyone to see the picture, don’t take it. You can apologize a billion times for being drunk and taking a naked selfie, but it will remain on the Internet forever to haunt you.
- Take time to think – Sometimes I can just sit down and type an excellent post without breathing, but most of the time it has to bake in my brain for awhile. There’s always about 50 posts cooking at any given time and I have to take quiet time to think about them.
When I’m driving in the car alone, the radio is usually off and when I’m home alone, there’s often no music or television. The loudest sound I hear at home is Bella snoring. I’m not kidding! That little dog snores so cute. That should kind of give you an idea of how quiet it is here in my home.
The silence is peaceful and it allows unencumbered time to think about not only upcoming blog posts, but life – my life. What have I learned from the past? Where am I now? Where do I want to go? How can I get there? What do I need to do now to get where I want to go?
To guide your life in the direction you want to travel, it is imperative that you take the time to roll the options, knowledge and experience over in your mind.
“He who fails to plan, plans to fail.” ~ Proverb ~
- Qwerty forehead – It’s okay to fall asleep on your computer keyboard and wake up with the imprint of the keys embedded in the skin of your forehead. Typing into the night until I fall asleep means that I’m tired or maybe even exhausted.
Live life so fully that you are so tired and exhausted that you fall into a deep slumber each night. Pack your life full of happiness on your terms by making your own choices. Things will not be perfect, but if today is the last day you get to live, make sure it was a good one!
By the way, just because I’ve learned this doesn’t mean I’m perfect at implementing it. I’m pretty good at getting qwerty face, but not so great at the living life fully thing…yet. Yes, I’m determined. “Yet” is temporary. I am going to learn to do this EVERY single day eventually.
- Valuable lessons and great advice – All you have to do is accidentally delete the HTML for a blog function that you’ve worked on for a few weeks one time before you learn some valuable lessons about blogging, coding, double checking, and taking your time. Giving tips and advice as to how to prevent it from happening to others is valuable. Writing a post on a blog allows the advice to be delivered to those who want to read it.
Sometimes people don’t want advice and they don’t want to hear about your experience. Even when you write from your heart and share your experience, they take it personally or way out from left field. I’ve come to realize three valuable lessons about advice:
* Don’t give serious advice to people unless they ask you for it.
* Don’t take it personally if people don’t follow through with your advice.
* Some people will criticize you and twist your words no matter how you deliver them.
- You’ll learn to see yourself through the view of other people – I think that’s pretty self-explanatory. I have nothing really to personally share on this item because if I lie, Joan or my mother will call me out on it and I’m not really willing to tell the truth.
How’s that for being honest?
- Walk away from the computer – I can HAPPILY sit in front of the computer ALL DAY LONG. If I do that though, my world is quite limited. Step away from your comfort zone and out of your box to try new things, go to places you’ve never been, eat foods you’ve never tried, see things you’ve never experienced and live a full life of variety.
Doing the same old thing over and over again the same way can be comfortable, even comfortably miserable, but keeping things fresh and new will fill your life with happiness, contentment and knowledge. You will be able to accomplish more than you’ve even dreamed because your dreams will grow bigger as your life becomes richer.
- Ask until you get what you want – When some technical aspect of my blog gets me stuck, I reach out for help. That’s the only way I can fix things that I have no experience with correcting. The same holds true with life problems. If you don’t ask for it, you won’t get what you need.
Open your mouth.
Don’t be ashamed because you don’t know something. Life is for learning and experiencing. After someone teaches you, THEN you will know how to do it too.
- The blogging community is savvy and can make a difference – I’m not quite sure why the blogging community is so savvy, but they are and it is fun to be a part of it.
Everyone on the planet is part of the human community. There is a wide range of people types, but if you try hard enough, you can find a place with people that make you feel a part of their family or community. When you’re with a group of people who care for you, it is easier to make positive things happen. Find your “people” and share your life experience with them. You never know who needs to hear what you have to say.
- It’s okay to tell – Some people believe that you should not share anything private on the Internet and a lot of those same people believe that you should remain hush hush about things in your personal life with family and friends. That’s not my philosophy.
Silence often hides domestic violence, mental illness that leads to suicide, and a long list of unpleasant things that happen in life.
It’s okay to tell.
The sky doesn’t fall. The oceans don’t monsoon over your house. Tornadoes don’t fly you into orbit. Telling is healing. Sharing is therapeutic.
I often receive emails from people who do not want make a comment on my blog about a very personal experience. They connect with things I’ve written about in my own life and they feel safe sharing their unhappy, painful baggage with me. I feel honored to have their trust and feel very connected to them as I respond back. A few days later after the person has had the time to think about it, sometimes they write me back and apologize for unloading. I always tell them the same thing…You don’t have to apologize!
Helping each other is what life is all about! What they and you don’t realize is that when I read your emails or the comments you make on my blog, I feel heard.
Being heard is such an important aspect of being human and feeling cared about.
Day after day I write on my blog and I tell all about my life in hopes that it will help someone somewhere someday. You know what? It has helped many someone’s and THAT makes me feel heard, happy, useful and grateful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, experiences and life with me while allowing me to share mine with you.
- There are so many reasons to be grateful – Life is full of experiences. Some are happy. Some are sad. Being grateful for all experiences opens you up to peace. When life gets tough, it is imperative that you take time to feel and show gratitude.
Right now my life is not “ideal” nor is it what I planned, but I have SO MANY things that I feel a deep gratitude for regardless of the present circumstances. The thing I am MOST grateful for is that I’m loved. I know that I’m loved because not only do people show it, but I feel loved. That is a priceless blessing above all other blessings. As long as I am loved, everything else will eventually fall into place.
- Blogging saves lives – Last, but not least, I’m making a dramatic and bold statement. Blogging saves lives. I’m not really sure that “lives” should be plural, but I know for a fact, that blogging has saved at least one life.
There were so many circumstances and aspects of blogging that saved my life. Everything from being able to write my chaos, share my sadness, and draw comfort from other people were all huge contributors to my PTSD healing and recovery.
Actually, it is nothing short of a miracle that I’m still alive and sane. That’s why I have to finish writing my book. I know it will give hope to people with PTSD and a better understanding to those people living with loved ones who have PTSD.
That was such a long post. It’s taken me quite a long time to write it and you to read it. I hope you gleaned something valuable that can add value to your life. Thank you for reading it, for supporting my writing, and for being kind and encouraging to me.
Now, what will I write about tomorrow?!!!