Life Lessons for my Younger Self from Pride and Prejudice

This list is why reading Pride and Prejudice will make your life better as well.

I’ve read “Pride and Prejudice” more than 10 times. I’ve watched the movies more times than I can count. I’ve essentially transformed Pride and Prejudice in an imaginary vision board of the perfect life and the perfect love. It worked. My life is wonderful and part of it is due to what I gathered from my times reading the book.

“Pride and Prejudice”, Jane Austen

1. Be patient and know a person before you form an impression on them.

Don’t fall for charms, wait to discover the person’s true character.

This is available for Everything, not only love life, though it sure helps there too. First impressions may be deceiving, as we are naturally predisposed to like people with charisma that make us feel good in the moment or struck our ego. However, they may fail us in the long term. Just wait to really get to know a person before judging them.

I’ve read Pride and Prejudice for the first time around the age of 12. It was eye opening, at the time, that I couldn’t see Wickham’s true character. Mr. Darcy’s attitude made me quick to dismiss him as disagreeable, the way Lizzie did as well.

For that age and for my reading experience at the time – shocking.

2. Choose well the person you’ll marry

There are studies today that confirm what the good sense in Jane Austen’s book told us long ago. This choice is the single most important choice that greatly affects your entire life. We understand this very well from the description of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s married life:

Her father, captivated by youth and beauty, and that appearance of good humour which youth and beauty generally give, had married a woman whose weak understanding and illiberal mind had very early in their marriage put an end to all real affection for her. Respect, esteem, and confidence had vanished for ever; and all his views of domestic happiness were overthrown. But Mr. Bennet was not of a disposition to seek comfort for the disappointment which his own imprudence had brought on, in any of those pleasures which too often console the unfortunate for their folly of their vice. He was fond of the country and of books; and from these tastes had arisen his principal enjoyments. To his wife he was very little otherwise indebted, than as her ignorance and folly had contributed to his amusement. This is not the sort of happiness which a man would in general wish to owe to his wife; but where other powers of entertainment are wanting, the true philosopher will derive benefit from such as are given.

Elizabeth, however, had never been blind to the impropriety of her father’s behavior as a husband. She had always seen it with pain.

“Pride and Prejudice”, Jane Austen

So we see here how future children will be affected by this, too. And maybe it is good sense now, but, for a 12 year old, all this made a lasting impression.

3. Respect different mentalities

Charlotte’s choice of a husband was surprising for me, as a reader. Mr. Collins’ character appeared to be a funny caricature. Who would want him for life? Well, Jane manages to explain this very well:

My dear Lizzy, do not give way to such feelings as these. They will ruin your happiness. You do not make allowance enough for difference of situation and temper. Consider Mr. Collins’s respectability, and Charlotte’s steady, prudent character. Remember that she is one of a large family; that as to fortune, it is a most eligible match; and be ready to believe, for everybody’s sake, that she may feel something like regard and esteem for our cousin.

“Pride and Prejudice”, Jane Austen

However, something else stood out for me: Charlotte’s fear of Lizzie’s opinion on her choice:

Mr. Collins, to be sure, was neither sensible nor agreeable; his society was irksome, and his attachment to her must be imaginary. But still he would be her husband. Without thinking highly either of men or matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want. This preservative she had now obtained; and at the age of twenty-seven, without having ever been handsome, she felt all the good luck of it. The least agreeable circumstance in the business was the surprise it must occasion to Elizabeth Bennet, whose friendship she valued beyond that of any other person. Elizabeth would wonder, and probably would blame her; and though her resolution was not to be shaken, her feelings must be hurt by such a disapprobation.

“Pride and Prejudice”, Jane Austen

We value so much the opinion of those close to us. And crushing someone’s spirit, desires and wishes may be done so easily! I resolved always to respect other’s choices after that and try to understand them.

4. True love is measured by action

The way you know Mr. Darcy actually loves Elizabeth is when he goes off and solves her family problems using his time and money, not expecting anything in return.

At the point of doing all this for her, she had already rejected him and he also bounds to secrecy all the parties involved so these acts of love are genuinely disinterested.

For me, this is true love and Jane Austen helped me understand how to practice it.

5. Read extensively

Of all the characters in the book, my favourite was Lizzie. I am definitely not an exception. Most people like her because of her intelligence. Though she is naturally smart, she is well spoken and opinionated because of everything she had read. She is capable of raising someone’s interest and fascination by witty conversation.

Given the times, she is different than other girls and that gives her the ability to surpass her humble financial situation.

So, to paraphrase Mr Darcy, “improve your mind by extensive reading”.

If you prefer, you can watch the lessons on my Youtube channel as well.

That’s it! This is my list of major life lessons from “Pride and Prejudice”. This is what helped me make my life better and it’s why I absolutely love classic literature!

Books like this are amazing and can be read and reread multiple times without getting bored. Their dialogue is witty and humorous, you learn about customs and behaviour at the time and, as you’ve seen here, long lasting life lessons.

Hope you like it as well!

3 thoughts on “Life Lessons for my Younger Self from Pride and Prejudice”

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