Let’s be real, there isn’t a single person in this world who can say that life is easy, because spoiler alert: it’s not. There isn’t a playbook or best practices for how to get through in one piece – it’s emotionally, mentally, and physically draining, yet exhilarating. It’s overwhelming and complicated, yet all-encompassing and inspiring. It can turn your temporary weaknesses into your greatest strengths. It can be what sets your soul on fire, forcing you to become the person you were always meant to be.
Before realizing how invaluable and delicate life is, I thought I already knew everything I needed to in order to live my best, most fulfilling version. I thought I already knew everything when it came down to what I wanted or needed in finding a life partner. I thought I already knew the fundamentals of maintaining an optimistic mindset and practicing self-appreciation. But boy, was I so wrong.
There isn’t a playbook or best practices for how to get through life in one piece, but I can tell you what would be written if there was:
1. Never apologize for who you are. The people who are meant to be in your life will never make you doubt or question yourself, your ambitions, your humanity. They will never make you apologize for having a big heart.
2. Embrace the life you love to live. You complete yourself, no one else does that for you. You don’t need someone else in order to feel desired, content, or fulfilled because you are able to do that on your own. The world is too big to put your life on hold. Keep living, keep dreaming, keep trying, keep going.
3. Don’t chase after potential. You want to be that one person who can change someone for the better. You see a glimpse of potential in the qualities you hope will stay for good, but the reality is it isn’t up to you to change someone. You can’t make someone be something they’re not; you can’t make someone ready for something they’re not.
4. People will treat you the way you allow them to treat you. You determine your own worth – stand up for yourself, be your own biggest fan and advocate. Say what’s on your mind. Ask for what you want. Be honest, but genuine and humble. Listen and learn from others. Communicate and teach others. Allow yourself to be respected, because at the bare minimum that is what you deserve.
5. Learn to love yourself. Become your best friend. Enjoy your own company. Grow as an individual. Learn how to love yourself first and keep your heart open. Accept yourself, your mistakes, your failures. Embrace your achievements and aspirations – what has gotten you this far and what motivates you to keep going.
6. Listen to your intuition. You know that pit in your stomach feeling you get when you get a hunch that something just isn’t right? Listen to it – it’s called your intuition, and 90% of the time it turns out being right.
7. Sometimes people aren’t meant to stay in your life forever, and that’s okay. Sometimes, the greatest lessons you learn are from the people who come into your life, only to teach you how to gracefully forgive and let go. Keep your standards high and be open to accepting what’s not yours to keep.
8. Forgive and move forward. Stop holding grudges, it does no one any good and it’s a complete waste of time. Forgive yourself. Forgive those who have hurt you. Fail, try, and succeed. Screw up, learn your lessons, then pick yourself back up. Hold your head high. Life’s too short to stay tied up over something so little when there’s a world filled with new people, places, adventures, and memories.
9. Choose happiness. There are many things in life that are out of your control. The one thing you will always control is your mindset and perspective. You choose how you react to everything that happens in life. So, choose happiness. Choose gratitude. Choose compassion, and spread it like f**king confetti.
10. Always keep learning. Always keep growing. Learn what makes you tick, then learn how to manage your response. Learn your insecurities, then be open to exploring how to transform them into your strengths. Learn new hobbies. Teach others your passions. Share what makes you who you are.
11. Don’t dwell on the little things. There are times when something so small can take up so much time in your life. Learn to let go – learn to look at the biggest picture. Learn to gracefully accept what is and look forward to what’s to come.
12. When you’re busy, slow down. Life can get pretty crazy sometimes, and when you have lots going on all at once, sometimes that is life telling you to pump the breaks, listen to your body, and slow down. Take time to relax and rejuvenate because although your body wants to keep moving, you do more damage than good to your mind, body, and well-being. Be okay with pressing pause every once in a while.
13. Be okay with being vulnerable. Be okay with being uncomfortable. It’s scary, being both vulnerable and uncomfortable. But, it’s what we have to do to get through life in one piece sometimes. Be okay with challenging yourself. Be okay with taking a step out of your comfort zone.
14. Take time to explore the world. Some people like familiar and routine, and that’s perfectly fine. But you weren’t put on this earth to just stay in your hometown for the rest of your life, work 9-5, pay bills, and go to sleep, I can tell you that. You were put on this earth to test your limits; to leave your footprints and memories around the world; to rewrite society’s norms and create your own captivating story. Explore more, because it’s food for the soul.
15. Take more risks. While there is the obvious knowing “right from wrong”, there are many circumstances where there is no right or wrong option. Sometimes you have to have faith and trust in taking a leap of faith and embark on a new journey.
16. Tell the people you love, that you love them. Life goes by so fast, much faster than you realize. You never know when someone’s time will come or when you will no longer have the opportunity to share your love with those you love most. Cherish them, be grateful for them, and let them know.
17. Live with gratitude. While the world we live in is a beautiful world, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. Understand that while there is war, death, anger, and fear, there is more love, hope, faith, and inspiration out there. Be kind, be grateful every day.
18. You have a voice, use it. Believe that you can make a difference, because you can. Use your voice, your passions, your talents, your creativity to be an advocate for positive change. Believe you matter in this world, because you do.
19. Pray. There isn’t a playbook or best practices for how to get through life in one piece, but I can tell you what would be written if there was – prayer. It’s not always easy to trust the process, to put the reigns in the hands of someone, something that you cannot see. God knows your worth – trust that He knows you far better than you know yourself. Trust He knows when it’s your time. Have faith that God has a bigger plan for you than you have for yourself. He will guide you, He will forgive you, He will heal you, and He will use your brokenness to move mountains.