1. Change Your Peer Group
Sometimes, you’re young and just want to be liked. You have baby fat, a goofy smile, too many dreams scribbled on bits of paper and hope. But the bullies find you in subtle ways and crush your confidence once in awhile. What do you do? Stick to your best friends like glue. They’ll know what to do. They’ll tease you but never cause you the kind of pain that doesn’t seem to go away no matter how forcefully you wipe away those angry tears. Know your tribe, those people who’ll raise you up when it’s the hardest, make you laugh so hard it hurts and make you smile.
2. Take Care Of Yourself
Clothes didn’t seem to look as good on you as they did on other people. You smiled at your Mom who got you a fresh set of clothes every time there was a decent sale and things weren’t as expensive. You give her a hug because she loves you anyway, a little more on your bad days. But she couldn’t save you from the world every time. You fall hard when your illusion shatters and you’re left in a puddle, all alone. You get up, wipe the dust off your clothes and walk. Slowly, at first but then you get faster and faster. You start doing it more often because you like it. It becomes a habit, a part of you, your anchor and your dream.
3. Embrace Change
Things start changing. Not like magic, not in a day, not even in three months. But as more time passes, you shed your baby fat, start running, wear sneakers everywhere and keep your goofy smile. You accept compliments gracefully, scratching your head a little. You find beauty in everything and everyone you see and realize that body shaming is a waste of time. You compliment someone you barely know; you smile at a stranger and fall in love.
4. Find What You Love
Travel makes you so happy that you start drawing itineraries in your notebook even when you have no money. You write down a new place whenever you hear about it and think about all the beautiful strangers there. Somehow, you’ll hit it off with some of them at the most unexpected times. You’ll share jokes and bad meals together, talking about current affairs while exchanging notes on your next destination. You’ll come back with a wad of notes in a currency you don’t need, a silly smile, tanned skin and more photos than you can count. You’ll store seemingly insignificant things like the flight ticket and an entry pass to the Burj Khalifa in your shoebox, remembering the view and how tiny everything looked. But you could only think about the twinkling lights at night. They made you feel a little hopeful, a little wistful at night.
5. Be stupidly optimistic
You wrote exams, got application forms, took up jobs, quit jobs, made new friends, lost some old ones, laughed and cried. You’re still not very happy all the time and think a robot could do your job better. But yesterday, you got to write a new article and talk to someone so energetic, you couldn’t help feeling excited too. You went back home and enrolled for a new writing course, singing yourself to sleep at night, smiling.