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Run, Forrest, Run! 16 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Forrest Gump

Run, Forrest, Run! 16 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Forrest Gump

Just a few weeks ago was the 20th anniversary of one of America’s most beloved films: Forrest Gump. (When did we all get so old?!)

This fabulous film is equal parts funny, inspiring, and downright heart-wrenching. In fact, there are quite a few life lessons that can be learned from this fabulous movie—and not just about chocolates and running (although that’s definitely included).

Listen up, and prepare to have the intense urge to open up Netflix and start re-watching. (Yes, it’s on Netflix. You’re welcome.)

Life Lessons We Can Learn From Forrest Gump

1. Don’t be afraid to be honest…

Forrest always blurts out everything that’s on his mind, and it cracks everyone up—or helps them realize something huge about themselves. Sometimes it can be mildly offensive…but no one really minds, because he always means well.

sea legs2

    2. …no matter who you’re talking to

    Whether it’s the lady at the bus stop or the president of the United States, Forrest treats everyone exactly the same – with equal respect, but also with equal honesty. Brown-nosing doesn’t exist in Forrest’s world, because no matter the status, a person’s a person.

    pee

      3. Always tell those you care about how you feel

      Forrest never hesitates to demonstrate and express his affections for those he cares about. He wears his heart on his sleeve, and everyone who matters to Forrest knows that they matter to Forrest.

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      forrest gump

        4. Don’t be afraid to love…

        youremyiglr

          Just like he isn’t afraid to express his care for others, he isn’t afraid to love deeply, from the bottom of his soul. He’s not afraid of getting hurt, and he doesn’t overthink – he just loves. A lot of people could learn from this simplicity.

          5. …and don’t be afraid to lose

          Forrest experiences multiple deaths of those he cares about. Just like all other emotions, he feels his grief strongly and purely. He doesn’t shut anyone out, but rather faces it head-on: by visiting their graves and speaking to them like he always did. He faces death with his mother’s advice:

          mama

            6. Always try new things, because you might be great at them…

            Someone asks Forrest to play ping pong. He takes the paddle and does it – and he lets his natural talents kick in. After all, who knows what you’re good at if you don’t try?

            ping pong

              7. …but if you’re not, that’s okay

              Well, at least you tried.

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              gospel

                8. Sometimes, you just have to do the right thing, even when everyone tells you not to

                Lieutenant Dan may have wanted to die on the battlefield, but Forrest wasn’t about to let that happen.

                Your heart may be pulling you in one direction, while others are telling you to go the opposite route. Always trust your gut instinct. It may just save somebody’s life.

                lt dan

                  9. Don’t ever let anyone tell you they’re better than you

                  Never. Mama knows best.

                  mama2

                    10. Because seriously, what does normal mean, anyway?

                    mama3

                      As the awesome Mama notes, society dictates what “normal” is. It doesn’t really have a true definition – it’s all relative. Don’t ever feel like you have to be “normal.” Let your freak flag fly.

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                      11. You never know whose lives you’ll change

                      elvis

                        Forrest doesn’t give a hoot about “normal,” and look what happened: he made The King famous and helped someone come up with the smiley face and a clever bumper sticker. And he had absolutely no idea. Be yourself, and remember that your actions matter in more ways than you know…

                        elvis2

                          12. Be careful what you say, because you can’t take it back

                          In my personal opinion, one of the most heartbreaking moments in the movie was when Jenny rejects Forrest’s marriage proposal, and he brings up a particularly cruel insult that she had thrown at him years and years ago.

                          love is

                            Think before you speak. Words can wound—and those wounds take a long time to heal.

                            13. Never take true friendships for granted

                            Casual friendships come and go, but when Forrest finds people he truly clicks with, he knows how special it is—and he doesn’t let that go.

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                            friend

                              bubba

                                14. Appreciate—and share—the little things

                                Firstly, ice cream is awesome. Always remember how awesome ice cream is.

                                Secondly, always share with a friend or loved one in need—even if that particular person dumps your offerings in a bedpan.

                                ice cream

                                  15. Do what you love

                                  Live your life how you want to. Participate in activities simply because you want to.

                                  running

                                    Not everything has to have a deeper meaning—but when you start doing what you love, it will develop a deeper meaning on its own.

                                    16. Finally, always remember…

                                    chocolates

                                      Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/76791138@N07/9129073984/sizes/l via Bel Zamarbide

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                                      Published on April 7, 2021

                                      6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

                                      6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

                                      Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

                                      While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

                                      1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

                                      Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

                                      If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

                                      In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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                                      2. They Make Everything Transactional

                                      Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

                                      For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

                                      Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

                                      A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

                                      Some statements to be wary of include:

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                                      • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
                                      • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
                                      • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
                                      • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

                                      3. They Criticize Everything

                                      One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

                                      However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

                                      Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

                                      • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
                                      • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
                                      • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
                                      • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

                                      4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

                                      We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

                                      For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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                                      This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

                                      5. They Socially Isolate You

                                      Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

                                      Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

                                      This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

                                      In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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                                      6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

                                      It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

                                      Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

                                      Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

                                      • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
                                      • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
                                      • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
                                      • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

                                      Final Thoughts

                                      It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

                                      More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

                                      Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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