33 Life Lessons on my 33rd Birthday

By Eleni Meraki

eleni meraki

On my 33rd birthday I want to give something back to this world and its people. To you.

I had the privilege to experience a life so rich and full leaving me in awe; every day and every year a little more. With age comes wisdom they say. I believe that's true. This is the curated version of the wisdom I gained the last 33 years walking on this planet and my gift to you today.

Happy birthday to me ❤ and thank you for being part of my life's journey. Even if it's just by reading this today, you’re part of my journey and I’m very, véry grateful for that.

Cheers on me. On us.


1.    It takes guts to be happy.

Only with courage you can create a life that makes you happy as you’d inevitably won’t be able to follow the path that is carved out for you.

2.    Happiness should not be a goal.

Happiness is a produce of what you think and do every single day.

3.    Fear is not real.

Fear is a mental construct and a produce of your own thoughts. You can think yourself into fear. Danger is real and a survival mechanism. Understanding the difference between the two is key as everything you want for is on the other side of fear.

4.    No one and no thing can make you long term happy, but yourself.

What might seem like happiness upon achieving it, essentially will fade away and you’ll focus on something or someone else that you want in order to make you happy. Happiness has to do with your own mind. Your happiness should never be in someone or something else’s hands cause that’ll leave you clinging onto that thing or that someone, leaving you powerless.

5.    You get what you think you deserve.

How much you value yourself is directly represented in how you’re valued by others.

6.    Energy and time are your most precious resources.

You’ve got to spend them wisely and you’ve got to spend them doing what’s best for you.

7.    How you feel should be your first priority.

You’ve got to feel good yourself first as you can’t achieve anything, and you can’t give anything, from a place of emptiness and not feeling good. You can’t give from an empty cup.

8.    Clearing out negativity of your life is essential to live a happy life.

What you watch, read, listen to and surround yourself with is essentially what you’ll become. Cut out the negativity of your life and see the magic that occurs.

9.    Society is not build to make you happy.

But rather to fit in a structure that works (or used to work). If happiness is your aim in life you’ve got to carve the path out yourself.

10. Take what works for you out of your culture, family and religion and ditch all that doesn’t.

You’ve got to question all that comes with your culture, family and religion and decide for yourself what works and what doesn’t work for you. And then you’ve got to have the courage to not follow the rules that suffocate you and make you unhappy.

11. Being open and curious in life will get you to places and meet people that can teach you more than any book or Netflix series ever will be able to.

Traveling helps a lot with that.

12. Forgiveness is the key to freedom from emotional pain.

(and it’s not the same as acceptance or forgetting)

You have to forgive people to set yourself free from anger, resentment, hate and all those negative emotions that eat you up from the inside. Letting go is the only way you can move forward and upwards in life.

13. On your road to personal happiness and success you will disappoint and lose a lot of people.

People don’t like it when you change because it requires them to change as well and that’s threatening.

14. Don’t stay in a relationship with the potential of someone.

See your lover for who she/he is and if you don’t like it, don’t try to change them but accept them or set them free.

15. Love doesn’t hurt and if it does, it’s not healthy.

A healthy relationship doesn’t involve harmful or dramatic circumstances. Love is meant to make you grow and become more of yourself, never make you shrink or become less.

16. There are two kinds of people in life.

People with a mindset that is set for growth and expansion and people with a mindset that is fixed and not open for change. Make sure you are in the first category and the people you hang out with too.

17. We are all just energy.

And so is all we see, hear, taste, touch and feel. We are so much more than what we’ve been taught to be in the Western World. With our own minds we can change the energy thus change the things we see in our lives.

18. Make sure you cultivate emotional intelligence.

You need people and people need you. Emotional intelligence is key to having healthy and fruitful relationships in your life.

19. Luck doesn’t exist.

What looks like luck from the outside is essentially the right mindset to attract whatever it is that makes you look “lucky”.

20. It’s not how smart you are that determines where you end up.

It’s how confident and committed you are that gets you were you want to go. And consistency is key in everything you want to achieve. A healthy mind, a healthy relationship, a healthy body – anything.

21. Balance is the key.

Even if you do what you love on a daily basis, you’ve got to have a break. Even if you have the perfect partner, you have to spend time alone or with your friends too. Even if you like chocolate cake, you’ve got to eat salads too.

22. Having goals will make you able to set priorities in your life so you can actually achieve them.

And achieving these goals is great but you should not hang up your happiness upon them.

23. History repeats itself.

You’ve got to let go of all that you are not to become all that you are. We all say we don’t want to become like our parents but we all do if we don’t do the required work and change deep-rooted patterns. It’s really hard to become all that you are and be confidently yourself. The price seems a high price to pay at times, but the price you’ll pay by not being yourself over a long period of time will be much higher eventually.

24. You’ve got to understand the difference between fantasy, illusion and reality.

Which in some cases is essential, and in some cases can be catastrophic. You’ve got to learn when fantasy, illusion and reality based on facts should be used.

25. You are not what you think you are.

Thinking that your thoughts are who you are is the most dangerous thing.

26. Self-Love and the process of learning to accept and love yourself unconditionally is the most difficult yet most profound journey of your life.

27. Boundaries are not selfish, they’re essential.

If you don’t set boundaries in your life, people will take what they can, leaving you with nothing. Not because they are bad, but because you allow them too.  Setting boundaries is essential in order for you to be able to give back to the people around you and to the world.

28. Your reality and my reality are never the same.

What you see is not what others see and vice versa. Understanding this will make you being able to empathise much easier. People have all their own realities and none of us has the right answers. Be humble in your approach to others.

29. There are no ups without lows in life.

We could never experience the joys of life if we didn’t experience the lows in life. How long we stay in those lows however is ultimately our own choice.

30. Patience is essential, as things need time to ripe in life.

Ideas, relationships, businesses. Don’t be fooled or mesmerised by speeding up process and picking fruits that are unripe.

31. Silence speaks and has all the answers you’re looking for.

The power and wisdom of silence goes beyond any words, experiences and pictures you’ll ever be able to consume. Your inner voice has many answers and only in silence you can hear and listen to it. You can be in silence in many ways and don’t necessarily need to do that on a mat meditating.

32. Your subconscious programs in your mind determine your life.

We live more unconscious than we do conscious. 95% of what you daily think and do comes from subconscious programs. Only 5% is conscious effort. Changing your deep-rooted subconscious programs is your key to a free, happy and meaningful life.

33. Be genuine, real and humble in all you do.

And life will give you the rewards. And if you don’t get what you think you want when you rea genuine, real and humble, than probably it’s for the best of you and not what you should have in the first place.


Written by Eleni Meraki

Eleni is the founder of Guts & Tales. She is a hypnotherapist, mind-trainer, coach and creator of the women’s coaching program Be Your Own Muse. She helps women become clear, confident and courageous to be and live true to themselves.

Photography by Annouk

ArticlesEleni Meraki