The Four Key Life Lessons Milk And Honey Taught Me

by Catriona Beck
The Four Key Life Lessons Milk And Honey Taught Me

Every now and then, you come across something that saves you. Times might be tough, love might be cruel or life may be getting overwhelming. People deal with troublesome times in different ways. When life is hard, I write or I read. I came across Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. These words came to me when I needed them the most.

The New York Times Bestseller, Milk and Honey, has four chapters: the hurting; the loving; the breaking; the healing. Each chapter is moving but there was one piece from each section that sang to me. Words can be strong and words can stick by you. I learnt valuable lessons from Rupi’s words in Milk and Honey and these are the poems that taught me the most.

The Hurting

how is it so easy for you

to be kind to people he asked

milk and honey dripped

from my lips as i answered

cause people have not

been kind to me

Be kind. A simple, but effective lesson. Everybody has experienced unkindness in some way – and everybody has experienced kindness. When someone is unkind to you, how does it make you feel – low, self-loathing, upset? Yet, when someone is kind, it makes you feel high, self-loving and happy.

When you are exposed to unkindness, the importance of kindness becomes so much more valuable. In so few words, Rupi captures the feelings of kindness and unkindness in their entirety. In the simplest way, she reiterates one of the many things we are told at our youngest. Treat others how you want to be treated. 

From this poem, I realised the beauty that kindness can bring into someone’s life. Try and always be kind, no matter how you feel yourself, because nobody wants to be treated unkindly.

The Loving

“i do not want to have you

to fill the empty parts of me

i want to be full on my own

i want to be so complete

i could light a whole city

and then

i want to have you

cause the two of us combined

could set it on fire”

Love will always be confusing. When love is cruel, it can be the most painful feeling in the world. When love is great, it can be the most euphoric, surreal feeling in the world.

I often feel like I need to make life work on my own – I crave independence and making it, step by step, on my own two feet. Sometimes, having someone else there might make life more vibrant. I tell myself I don’t need this, and then someone comes along that makes me feel, just like Rupi says, that we could set the whole city on fire.

But sometimes love does not work, and you can be on your own. This is more than okay – being on your own is a positive thing. Embrace those feelings of meeting that person who you could set the city on fire with… but if setting the city on fire doesn’t work with that person, that’s just fine too. Accept and embrace the confusion that loving brings – it’s part of life.

The Breaking

“we began

with honesty

let us end

in it too”

Honesty is the best policy. How many times have you been on the receiving end of dishonesty? Answer that question – never forget how it made you feel. It’s a difficult feeling to process and move on from, so tread carefully with someone elses feelings. It’s important to prevent being the cause of this feeling for someone else. 

Remember those times that someone was dishonest with you, and how it made you feel, and remind yourself to always be as honest as you possibly can. Dishonesty can break someone. Like Rupi says, start with and always, always end with honesty. Life is too short to live with lies.

The Healing

“I thank the universe

for taking

everything it has taken

and giving to me

everything it is giving”


Be grateful. Life works in funny, strange and unusual ways sometimes, but everything happens for a reason. This poem says, so effortlessly, that whatever life throws at you – be grateful. And continue to be grateful for everything life and the universe gives you.

You may also like

Leave a Comment