Charlotte Bronte gave the world a novel called Jane Eyre in 1847. Even over 150 years later, people continue to read and enjoy this amazing book about a girl growing up, venturing out into the world, and then working for a mysterious host.
There are many lessons to be learned from this novel, but here are the five that made the biggest impact on me:
1 – Move on, even if it’s scary and unpredictable.
“I remembered that the real world was wide, and that a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had courage to go forth into its expanse to seek real knowledge of life amid its perils.” Narrator, Ch. 10
There’s so much out there in the world to see if only we are brave enough to leave the comfort of our homes. It takes courage, but it’s worth it. It was certainly worth it for Jane – not without challenges, but she always found a nice place to rest.
2 – Know who you are.
“If all the world hated you and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved you, and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends.” Helen Burns, Ch. 8
In your heart, you know who you are and what you stand for. As long as you have a clean conscience, it shouldn’t matter what others think. Jane was picked on at her new school in the beginning due to her aunt’s harsh words, but she survived because she knew she wasn’t the demon child her aunt made her out to be.
3 – Forgive.
“No ill usage so brands its record on my feelings. Would you not be happier if you tried to forget her severity, together with the passionate emotions it excited? Life appears to me too short to be spend in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.” Helen Burns, Ch. 6
Holding grudges does nothing but harm the person holding the grudge. Forgiveness is the path to a peaceful soul. Jane’s aunt treated her horribly, but Jane wasn’t free of that hate and suffering until she forgave her cruel aunt.
4 – Keep your dignity and stand firm, always.
“…and I don’t call you handsome, sir, though I love you most dearly – far too dearly to flatter you. Don’t flatter me.” Jane, Ch. 24
Don’t let others try to sway you and fool you with charisma and flattery. Jane knew who she was and what she was and she would accept no more and no less than what she knew she deserved.
5 – Being alone is not necessarily a bad thing.
“…without a companion, yet not feeling lonely…” Narrator, Ch. 6
Being by oneself doesn’t mean lonely. It can be liberating to spend time alone.
On a less serious note, by reading Jane Eyre I also learned that if a potential spouse is crazy, the money you’ll get by marrying him/her is NOT worth it.
Jane Eyre is great. I suggest you find a copy and read it because you just might learn a ton about life. Even if you don’t learn anything, you’ll be entertained by a heartwarming story.
Thanks for being alive, learn from everything, and stay true to yourself.
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