Preparing Yourself for Life


Lisa Alioto

03 April 2022 24 comments

I don’t think anyone can ever truly be ready for what life throws their way.  There is always the unexpected that can happen in the outside world, or even growth in unexpected ways within ourselves.

One thing though that I have learned over the years is to prepare myself for what life throws at me in a more productive way. In short, to develop a bit of a harder shell while still choosing to stay soft to the world.

Everyone has their own way of living their life so this is not to say that this is the choice for everyone but for me, this seems right. The problem with choosing to live in this “grey” area is that you need to develop skills in both areas.

Hard Shell

This perhaps was the hardest thing for me to develop.  But as I went through school and sometimes got grades or feedback that hurt, I had to learn not to just retreat or go in defense mode.  I had to learn to take the feedback with all the grace and style I could muster and learn from it.

Tied to that, I had to learn to not let it break me down personally.  This perhaps was the hardest lesson to learn.  It can, at times, be quite easy to put on an act that nothing is phasing us.  However, we can’t fool ourselves.  To be quite honest, I used to take feedback, criticism, and little digs quite hard, even if they came with the best of intentions. I had this mentality that I wanted to be perfect to everyone.   After much pain and hardship, I learned this wasn’t possible.

What I also learned was that I couldn’t keep punishing myself for my imperfections.  Rather, I had to learn from the ones that would help me in life and brush aside the ones that simply were not of value.  I’ll admit, at times, it’s still a work in progress, but my shell is hardening when it needs to but not so much that I’m not allowing for the growth opportunities that often come with feedback that is constructive.

Soft Shell

This was pretty easy for me to maintain as it was my default life modus operandum.   The hardest part was not letting life’s knock-downs keep me down, which was a bit hard given my very soft inner shell.  These were the moments I had to rely on my hard shell to kick in a bit.

While this overall is an easy state for me to maintain, I find I do still need to monitor it.  Sometimes having too much of a soft shell can cause me to become generous to a fault.   I give too much of myself or I fall for the sad story too much to my own detriment.  With some diligence though, this state has definitely been an easier one for me to manage.

The Balancing Act

All in all, I’ve learned that life is a balancing act.  I think we all put forth a little of each of these shells but just fall in various spots on the spectrum with each. Some of us are at the extreme ends while others, like me, fall somewhere in the middle.  Each come with their challenges.   The initial challenge begins with choosing where on the spectrum you want to live your life.  Once you have that figured out, half the goal is achieved.  Then you just need to learn how to live a healthy life in that spot.  To roll with the punches and give with your heart to the level you have chosen.

Soft Shell or Hard Exterior?

Where do you fall on this spectrum?  How did you decide where your “happy place” was?  Do you still find you struggle to maintain it?

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24 thoughts on “Preparing Yourself for Life

  1. Great perspective on life. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Thank you Andrea – I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

  2. This is very honest. Thank you for sharing

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Thank you Nicole – I appreciate the comment!

  3. Dan "Jay" Reyes says:

    Balancing our life is important. Thank you for sharing your perspectives on the subject 🙂

  4. Lisa Alioto

    I agree – balance is key! Thank you for stopping by and commenting Dan!

  5. Great read. Bringing balance does requires some amount of struggle. But at the end it’s gives ultimate peace.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Very well said Jais – thanks for sharing your insights!

  6. Having a hard shell as you put is wicked important. the number of things that life throws at you can be insane. It’s extremely important to grow your outer shell and not take things too personally or think it’s the end of the world. Everything will work out in the end, it’ll just take some time!

    Casey Anne

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Very well said Casey Anne! Thanks for sharing!

  7. You have presented this topic so nicely. Its not easy to handle life the way we want. We have to just face everything in life as it comes!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Very true Nisha, very true!

  8. This is good advice. I definitely run on the defensive side and have a hard time accepting criticism.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      I do too at times – it’s hard not to take it personally. It does seem to get better though with practice. 🙂

  9. I would say I am a bit on the softer side, but I’ve been doing a lot of work recently to not take things personally. It’s hard, but you can’t take everything to heart or you’ll go nuts.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      My thoughts exactly Jen!!

  10. Oh, I’m definitely a soft shell person. I need to work on the hard shell part! I’m getting better at it as I get older, but I do still struggle.

    A happy balance for me would be somewhere in the middle and not too much of one thing.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Same here for me Amy! 🙂

  11. I’m the complete opposite, my hard shell is all that’s there 90% of the time and it takes a lot to break through it. Definitely haven’t got that balance right yet x


  12. Lisa Alioto

    I’m sure you”ll find that right balance for you Sophie! 🙂

  13. Very interesting. I needed to read this for sure 🙂 Thank you!!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      You are very welcome Ann – glad you enjoyed it!

  14. Life isn’t always easy but having some sort of balance is the key. Developing isn’t always the easiest route. Some people learn things faster than others and thats OK. We have our own pace and as long as we still reach the end goal, it works out. Thanks for sharing!

    Nancy ♥

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Excellent points Nancy! Thanks for sharing!

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