20 Life Lessons That Are Total BS

We were all lied to! Well-meaning parents and grandparents often told us words to live by throughout our young lives. Little did they know they were setting us up for soul-crushing disappointment. They had the best of intentions but the grass isn't always greener if the neighbor next door doesn't own a sprinkler. To make matters worse, it wasn't just our family members who ruined life for us, either. It seemed as if all adults, from teachers to the sweet old lady who pinched our cheeks at church, bestowed falsehoods upon us.

Many of these phrases stayed with us throughout our childhoods. We learned easily digestible lessons with each snappy saying. While they may have served us well when we fell and skinned our knees, they don't always translate into adulthood. As we grow up, it seems we have farther to fall. We all leave home and enter reality wide eyed and ready to take on all that might come our way. Inevitably, we get knocked down and experience ushers in the truth. Parenthood often puts these idioms to the test. Children tend to be the great equalizers

The are a few lucky people out there in the world. Eating an apple a day really did keep their doctor away. Maybe someone has managed to have their cake and eat it too. If that's the case, congratulations! Please allow me to spare everyone else potential heartache in the near future with this list of 21 Life Lessons that are actual BS.

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20 You Can Be Anything You Want To Be


How many of us spent our childhood singing into a hairbrush and dancing in our bedrooms in hopes that we would one day be a pop diva? Many children are told to reach for the stars because they can be anything they want to be. Parents may think they're being encouraging and giving their kid confidence to dream big.

What they many not realize is they might be setting their child up for disappointment. What if little Sally sounds like a confused chicken when she sings? Under no circumstances should that girl be given a microphone or a stage to sing on. What if a certain little girl wanted to be a unicorn when she grew up? How devastated would she be when no amount of glue or glitter could make that fake horn fuse to her head? You will never magically transform into a unicorn. Trust me, I've tried.

19 No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk

We've all heard it. A minor incident in life occurs. Maybe you dropped your half-eaten lollipop on the ground. Just when you folded your arms to stomp and pout, your mom looked at you and smugly said, ”No use crying over split milk.” So, you dried up your tears and watched in horror as your treat fell into the trash. The message is, don't waste your time worrying about little things you can't change.

My guess is that the person who coined this phrase wasn't a new mom, whose baby refused to nurse at 3 am, so she used a hand pump to express her milk. Maybe this person didn't wake up confused later and accidentally hit the container of said milk with her elbow, sending the precious liquid spilling all over the floor. Let me tell you, at that point in time, one most defiantly cries over spilt milk.

18 Enjoy Them While They're Young

Parents of young children are told this all the time. The lady in the minivan parked next to you slides open the car door only to have middle school kids spill out. They wrestle and she scolds them to no end. She watches as you buckle your tiny angel into the carseat. A look of longing overtakes the stranger's eyes and she sadly says, “Enjoy them while they're young.”

Time moves fast and they do grow up quick. Yet, it can be hard to appreciate the moment when you're a new mom. Countless late nights, brutal early morning wake up calls, and evening meltdowns can make the days seem like years. It's a challenge to appreciate every fleeting second with your little one. Don't believe me? Ask any mom who spent the night with a drooling toddler sleeping on their head how much they cherish their little one at 1 am.

17 It's Not You, It's Me


Breaking up is hard to do. Many people try to soften the blow of heartache with the dreaded phrase, it's not you, it's me. The scorned lover is left scratching their head and wondering exactly where the relationship went wrong. Not only is this the worst break up excuse ever but often times it is just a downright lie. By not telling your ex about their annoying qualities, you might be releasing a horrible person back into the dating world.

I think it's better to be honest. If someone smacks when they eat and it drives you crazy, by all means, tell them to close their mouth while they chew. Was your last boyfriend clingy? Tell him to get a hobby before he updates his on-line dating profile. You'll be doing a huge favor for the other ladies out there that might find themselves on a date with this guy.

16 Never Say Never

Adults love to say this to unsuspecting children. Especially at the diner table when the child just announced that they will never eat broccoli. The parent plops a spoonful of broccoli onto their kid's plate and scolds them, “Never say never.” Ugh. That's the worst. The child wrinkles their nose and takes a bite.

The intended lesson is that you should not ever say that you will not ever do something. This is misleading advice because there are plenty of things in this world that one should say they will never do. We're taught from a young age that we should never lie, cheat, or steal. Beyond that, experience teaches us even more examples of things we should never do. Ask any mom whose child has thrown a temper tantrum in the checkout line. You should never, under any circumstances, take a hungry child with you to the grocery store.

15 Be Yourself

How many times did your mom tell you to just be yourself when you were a precocious child? She celebrated every quirky quality you possessed. It's rather innocent to instruct a vocal child to sing their little hearts out. Yet, this advice can take an ugly turn.

Did kids run away from you on the playground because you screamed when you didn't get your way? Perhaps your mom was wrong to encourage you to be yourself. It wouldn't be good If you grew up and threw a hissy fit when people didn't do what you wanted them to do?

Chances are, an annoying child will grow up to be an obnoxious adult. I've met plenty of people out in the adult world who need to rethink being themselves. What if you're a bad person with no conscience whatsoever? If you like to kick puppies, then please, don't be yourself.

14 Slow And Steady Wins The Race

This false life lesson comes to us from the story we're all told as children, “The Tortoise and the Hare”, from the book, Aesop's Fables. It talks of a slow turtle and fast rabbit who engage in a race. We all know that the tortoise ends up winning because the rabbit thought he had it inn the bag and took a nap. The story is used to illustrate that consistency and perseverance outweigh speed.

I don't think that this is necessarily always the case. For example, if you are a pregnant woman who needs to pee in a public place, you high tale it to the bathroom, and try to beat the skinny lady in front of you to the stall. If you're a soccer mom that's late taking your kid to practice, and there's only one parking space left, you drive like a bat-out-of-hell to snatch that parking spot.

13 Just Do Your Best

Many well-intentioned parents instruct their children to do just do their best. Trying out for the dance team and you have two left feet? That's okay, just do your best. Do you want to play football but couldn't catch a ball even if you tried? Oh, as long as you did your best. This can be misleading in so many ways. The harsh reality is that there will be many times in life when your best just won't be good enough.

Not only that, it seems this life lesson could create an insecure perfectionist who might not be able to function in the world. Kids these days seem to be more and more stressed out. Maybe it would better to encourage your child to explore their natural talents. Is Timmy a total ham who was made for the stage? Awesome. Take that kid to auditions and skip the baseball tryouts.

12 Two Heads Are Better Than One

There was nothing more annoying than being assigned a project and your teacher decided to pair you up with the smelly kid who sat next to you. You held your nose and winced as she announced “Two heads are better than one.” This idiom teaches us that two people maybe be able to solve a problem better than one. This may be true in many cases but I've found that sometimes it's just better to work alone.

A perfect example would be when your decorating the nursery for your expectant baby. The last thing you need is your mother-in-law to come waltzing into the house with a zebra blanket when the décor is clearly butterflies. That's just a travesty. Now you have to pull that ugly blanket out of it's hiding spot in the linen closet whenever she comes to visit the baby. That's just a hassle you don't need.

11 The Early Bird Gets The Worm


Almost every kid heard these words in the wee hours on Saturday morning. You might have been snoozing when your bedroom door flew open to reveal your mom. She shook the bed to wake you up. “The early bird gets the worm.” she'd say as you grunted and rolled over to go back to sleep. This saying is supposed to teach us that the person who arrives first is the most successful.

As I've grown into adulthood, I've come to learn first hand that this is just not true. Especially if you happen to be a mom. In my experience, the early bird gets to change the diapers, make breakfast for everyone, and clean the kitchen. Maybe it's better to pretend to be asleep and let your partner get up for once in their life and help out around the house. I don't mean to sound bitter. I'm just exhausted.

10 Take The Road Less Traveled

This life lessons comes from Robert Frost's poem entitled, The Road Not Taken. The last three stanzas tell us “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” Many people quote Frost to inspire people to act independently and not give in to the conformity of others. I tend to take a more literal interpretation of this phrase.

Chances are, if I'm alone in the woods, and come upon a fork in the trail, I would take the path that's been traveled more. I have no sense of direction and would get lost if I took the path less traveled. Really though, my children will probably be hiking with me. So, not only would we get totally lost, but I'd have also to deal with my cranky kids complaining about the heat and how their feet hurt.

9 Don't Rock The Boat

There is nothing worse than knowing you've been wronged and when you attempt to stand up for yourself, someone says, “Don't rock the boat.” This phrase was coined to teach us to not upset people by trying to change a situation. Although, this mindset may make for a more agreeable person, it certainly isn't something anyone wants to hear.

In my opinion, you should always stand up for yourself. Don't let anyone silence you if you have something to say. I've learned the hard way that if you don't make waves, you'll get left behind. So I say, grab yourself a life jacket, hold onto something tight, and rock that boat until it flips over if you have too. I can't promise that you'll be invited to come aboard many pleasure cruises but who wants to go on a stupid boat ride with some jerk that took advantage of you?

8 Treat Others As You Would Treat Yourself

Many childhood fights end with a parent breaking up the argument and saying, “Treat others as you would treat yourself.” This is a simple philosophy that may serve you well. Especially if you're kind to yourself and often reflect on the importance of treating people with respect. These are important traits that will help you to grow up and get along with others.

This may seem like an easily digestible life lesson. However, you should not make these your words to live by if you have no self-respect and hate yourself. If that's the case then you might end up a sociopath who has no idea how to interact with others. I've encountered plenty of adults that somehow suck other people into their vortex of insanity. So, if you find yourself picking fights with the mirror, do yourself and the world a favor, don't treat others how you treat yourself.

7 Money Can't Buy Happiness

The person who coined this phrase must have been rich. The notion is that you shouldn't focus on material items or monetary gains for happiness. This is a great concept because greed can be isolating and even millionaires need someone to love. If you spend your energy trying to make cash, you may end up very lonely. It's important to to have your priorities straight.

However, it can be challenging to find happiness if you're broke. Just ask the struggling college student who eats Ramen for every meal. What about a single mom struggling to buy diapers for her baby? I bet a little cash flow would make her smile. We've all seen the movie Annie. That poor girl was miserable at the orphanage until Daddy Warbucks came along and made all of her dreams come true. So, there are times in life when money can absolutely buy you happiness.

6 Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Did you ever get caught with your hand in the cookie jar? Chances are, you were scolded by your mom when the allegations were denied. There was only one problem, you had chocolate smeared all over your face from scarfing down those chocolate chip cookies. Inevitably, your mom would say, “Actions speak louder than words.” We've all been taught the concept that what you do is more significant than what you say.

This life lesson has been proven wrong again and again. What about two faced people? Their fake smile would not be as significant as when they talk behind your back. In that case, their words would be more harmful than their smile. Maybe it's best to align your actions with your words. I learned this the hard way in middle school when I was busted on a three way call talking trash about one of my annoying friends.

5 Act Your Age

I can't count how many times in my childhood I acted like a spastic moron. I always tended to goof off at social functions. My mom would simply roll her eyes and spout off, “Act your age.” I would do my best to stand up straight and behave but in the end, my silly side always won. Now, as an adult, I cherish my silliness because it keeps me feeling young.

Please do not act your age. By all means, hold onto your inner child. Life is hard and will always try to knock you down. Having a sense of wonder can really help you get through life's challenges. Don't conform to what society says is appropriate. Do a cartwheel if you feel like it. Now, I can't promise that won't pull a neck muscle in the process. Just be sure to keep your chiropractor's phone number on speed dial.

4 Get Back On That Horse

Have you ever been recovering from a break up and someone has told you to get back on that horse and start dating again? It seems like good enough advice. This misleading saying means to return to or resume an activity that one has previously failed at, had difficulty with, or which has previously caused one harm.

It seems to me that if a horse has bucked you off, then something is wrong with that horse. Do not under any circumstances get back on that saddle. Only an idiot would do that. In all seriousness, if you are are heartbroken, perhaps it might be better to take some time off. Do not push yourself to get back out there until you have mended that broken heart. There is nothing worse the being out on a date and ending up crying in your cocktail because you are not over your ex-boyfriend.

3 Good Things Come To Those Who Wait


I have the patience of a carrot. If a person is supposed to call me back, chances are I will be staring at my phone obsessively until it rings. Many times over the course of my life, I've been told that good things come to those who wait. This phrase is intended to teach us all the virtue of patience.

This is another lie the world tells us. Sometimes bad things come to those who wait. Have you ever put off going to the dentist? That cavity you had to have filled wasn't so good, was it? Also, one should never wait to pay their monthly bills. That is, unless you enjoy being told that you're water and your power are moments away from being turned off. It's better to go ahead be responsible. Please do yourself a favor and take care of the important things in life right away.

2 Don't Be Afraid To Fail

Teachers tell students all the time that they should not be afraid to fail. The message is that you should put yourself out there and take risks without fear. On the surface, this sounds like sage advice. If you don't take risks, you may miss out on overcoming the challenges of life. Some people believe that facing failure actually makes you a stronger person.

This is false. There are times when a healthy dose of fear is a good thing. It is a really bad idea to attempt climbing to the top of Mount Everest if you've never climbed a mountain. Don't run for class president of you have a fear of public speaking. You'll just end up freezing in front of the entire school and everyone will laugh at you. Better to know your own strengths and focus on not failing. Winning is much better. Everyone loves a winner.

1 If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade

It never fails, when you're down and out there is always some joker out there who says, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” This proverbial phrase encourages optimism and a positive can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune. Okay fine, I can appreciate the metaphor that the lemons represent the sourness in life, while lemonade is the sweetness.

There may be some truth to this idiom. A perfect example would be how Beyonce reacted when Jaz-Z was a stupid lemon and cheated on her. She made Lemonade. Guess what? The song and video became huge hit and everybody loved it. Who doesn't love lemonade? It's delicious and refreshing. I just to make one amendment to this advice. When life gives you lemons, grab some tequila, and make a margarita. I think that you totally deserve a tasty cocktail after all that you've been through. Enjoy it!

Sources: thefreedictionary.com, poetryfoundation.org, storyarts.org,

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