9 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Being Homeless

Those of you who have never been homeless probably despise or just simply don’t care about the homeless. You may find them irritating to look at, a nuisance or you just see them as someone to give some spare change to.

Homeless people are an unfortunate part of every society. They can be seen wandering the streets, trying to find somewhere to sleep, or begging for change so they can buy something to eat. Everyone knows about those impostors who play at being homeless, and these shameful people are not worth mentioning again in this post. Real homelessness is no joke, and the causes can be anything from sudden and unexpected financial hardship, emotional failure, and substance abuse. Homeless people become homeless for a variety of reasons, and some stay homeless for a considerable amount of time. Depending on the climate and the attitude of the local inhabitants, homelessness can be incredibly tough and painful to endure. It can also be an incredibly enlightening experience that can change ones life.

Some countries have systems in place to take care of these people. In some parts of the world, homelessness is managed by allowing people to stay inside temples and they call them monks. In the west, one of the richest areas of the world, homelessness is a big problem and one that leaders try to ignore. But, homelessness is not going away and has to be managed.

Although being homeless is a very difficult experience to endure, both physically and mentally, it can be a highly enlightening and eye opening experience. There are lessons that can be learned and self realizations that simply can not be realized in any other setting. If you ever find yourself in a homeless situation, hang in there and never give up. If you’ve never been homeless, here are some things that you could have learned from this tough experience.

You realise you are truly alone in this world

and the only person who will ever truly love you unconditionally is yourself. As you wander the streets and you’re constantly ignored and even despised, you realize that the world is not all roses and violets. People really don’t care about you and they are not filled with love for their fellow human. You are in it alone and if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will.

You find out what you care about the most

When you’re in a homeless situation, you have no valuables and the only possessions you have are completely necessary for you. You don’t carry around anything useless because you don’t have energy to waste carrying something around that isn’t of value to you. As you begin to rebuild your life, you begin to acquire more possessions. With the newly developed skill of only keeping the things that are important and of value, you build a life filled with necessity not frivolity.

You build the resilience and the skills you need to look after yourself

Not just physically, with food and water, but mentally, by controlling and understanding your thoughts. You get a strong sense of self control, meaning that you don’t waste time on anything that’s irrelevant. Everything you do is an essential part of your survival, both physically and mentally. This is a new way of living life. There is no passivity or monotony in homelessness. It is a frantic quest to get away from that situation, which keeps you in the zone 24/7.

Even those who have nothing can offer you something

You don’t have to have a lot of money or possessions to be able to offer something to someone to make them feel good. A moment of generosity or kindness doesn’t cost anything, and even those who are living on the street will help you, without the thought of getting anything back from you ever crossing their minds.

Everyone is struggling in one way or another

People deal with their struggle in different ways, but they are all struggling. It is no ones right to impose their pain on others, but if someone wants to lessen the suffering of others, they can go and seek it. You find a deeper level of compassion for people when you realise this, and your actions become much more focused. Trying to alleviate the pain of others is a noble goal, but it is also a very difficult one, unless you have suffered great pain and become free from it yourself. Being free of pain can be mans greatest achievement, allowing you to only alleviate the pain of others as you have no pain of your own. A truly great achievement.

You discover how little you need to be happy

It is an extremely liberating feeling to know that you can survive on far less that you thought and still be happy. You need to eat, you need water, but being able to survive on the street and still sleeping a peaceful sleep at night is extremely powerful. It brings you closer to all the people in the world. You can relate to them all. If you’ve tasted the top and the bottom, you’ve experienced the entire spectrum of human existence on the planet today. You realise that at every level, there are issues to deal with. You realise that you can take bigger risks than you thought, and any fears that you had of outcomes that could be detrimental to you are gone because you learn what you can handle, and still be happy.

You learn about judgement

What you think you see isn’t always what you see. People aren’t always as they may seem to you so its best to reserve judgement before you know someone deeply.

You become aware

The longer  your homeless experience goes on, the more confident you become and the less you care about other peoples judgement of you. You become aware of your surroundings and your experience of life as it happens around you. You are not distracted by thoughts and aware of how life is being interpreted by you as you pass through it. Buildings that you’ve passed dozens of times suddenly seem beautifully designed and you don’t understand how you’ve missed it in the past.

You learn what it takes to be a truly good person

Truly good people are very few and far between. You will learn that to be truly good means that you feel utter compassion for others, you do not judge them, you take the time to analyse the facts before making any decision, and you’re transparently honest and keep your word with good people. 

More than anything, you learn to be happy and content. This doesn’t mean you stop trying to improve your life, but when you see yourself happy when you have nothing, you prioritize your life and only fill it with things that are good for you and the world, not just things that bring you momentary pleasure. You don’t waste money, you don’t waste time, and you don’t waste your mind by occupying it with useless thoughts. Happiness seems more attainable and the memories of your homeless experience remind you of your strength and integrity.

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