1. Don’t ever try to explain to someone why you are worth their time. If you feel you have to, that’s a pretty sure sign it isn’t worth your time.
2. Don’t confuse deserving something with wanting something. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting something, for feeling that you need it, for chasing after it and striving for it. The danger comes in feeling that you deserve it or that it is owed you. You deserve nothing but what you have earned and nobody and nothing owes you anything.
3. Don’t allow your past to define how you see yourself. Those people who never change are those people who never learn and who never believe in themselves enough to be better, to be more. Don’t be one of those people.
4. Don’t walk through life with a closed heart and mind. Be open to new ideas, experiences, places and people. When we close ourselves we limit who we can become.
5. Don’t expect happiness to be a constant way of life. Appreciate happiness in all its forms for however long it lasts, but understand it is a fleeting state and that you will spend most of your life somewhere ‘in between’ and that is perfectly okay.
6. Don’t forget that most things in life come through balance. Work with play, love with logic and pain with happiness. You need one to appreciate the other.
7. Don’t rely on your expectations. Understand that expecting things of other’s is a slippery unrealistic slope. Its okay to feel like you need more, but understand that’s you, personally, not necessarily through any fault of the other party.
8. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Don’t be so afraid of being wrong that you never speak up or you never try. Say all the wrong things, make all the worst mistakes and learn from every single one of them. Everything of value came as the product of the mistakes before.
9. Don’t be so afraid of being hurt that you never let anyone in. It only takes the pain of one betrayal to shut us away, but we grow through our interactions with others. It hurts, and it’s terrifying, but eventually our walls must come down.
10. Don’t be afraid to change your mind, to reevaluate your values and to speak up about them. You don’t have to be the same person as you were yesterday; it’s your life and you can decide how best to live it, even if that’s through trial and error.
11. Don’t treat pain like a competition. Don’t use your suffering as a measuring stick to judge the worth of the trials of others. No two pains are the same, we all manage things differently; don’t let your experiences reduce the experiences of another.
12. Don’t blame everyone else for your problems. Take responsibility for yourself, for your thoughts, actions, desires and words. No one can make you do anything. How you feel and react is entirely up to you and you are responsible for the outcome.
13. Don’t hang on to your past grievances. Hating someone doesn’t hurt them nearly so much as it hurts you. Let go, move on, and live a life that is better without that person in it.
14. Don’t follow your heart and forget your head. Sometimes the things your heart ‘wants’ are not what basic logic tells you that you need. Again, life is about balance. Don’t let your heart run away with your head and leave you looking and feeling like a fool. (Remember, Romeo and Juliet both die at the end.)
15. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have a sense of humor. Have a dark sense of humor, a dry sense of humor, whatever, just hang onto it like your life depends on it. A sense of humor will pull you out of your darkest days.
16. Don’t take everything in life personally. The things people say have everything to do with them and very little to do with you. They experience life just like you do; through their own lenses. So instead of becoming immediately defensive, attempt to look at life through their eyes and dismiss whatever cruelties they might spew as their own personal contempt and move on.
17. Don’t allow anyone else to define what success means for you. Not everyone is interested in starting their own company or working for some powerful corporation. Success is what you make it and you should never let anyone else diminish that.
18. Don’t forget that life is as fleeting as happiness. Time is an illusion and every unrealistic second of it matters. We may not be able to avoid our regrets or mistakes, but we can choose to appreciate every minute of it. Never live as though you have an eternity.
19. Don’t apologize for being happy. Too often people use combined misery as a crux for their relationships and interactions. We stew in our misery and mock those who have risen above theirs, don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed for happiness.
20. Don’t define yourself by the things you read online or in print, don’t spend your life constantly comparing yourself to everyone else. Process, consider, and be whatever the hell you want to be. What do any of us really know, anyway?