1. Forgiving yourself for all of the times you were quick to say something nasty about your own body, even something that you can’t help. (Yes, even the time you saw a stretchmark or patch of cellulite and stared at it in the bathroom mirror for upwards of 25 minutes.)
2. Cleansing yourself of the people who make you feel badly about yourself, and not feeling as though you owe anyone your time if they are only going to waste it or make you feel like you have wasted it yourself.
3. Saying “no” to a social outing when you just don’t feel up to seeing people, or you are feeling sick, or you are having a hard time of late.
4. Receiving care and understanding when we are going through a difficult moment of mental health, or are dealing with a loss or disappointment that prevents us from being happy about other things in our lives, even if we “should be.”
5. Indulging in moments of self-care which, though they may look ridiculous to someone else, make you feel much better about the work you have to do and the place you fulfill in the world. If your thing is watching Top Chef while doing your nails and eating Lunchables, you don’t have to justify that to anyone.
6. Making the choices that you want to make in your life, pursuing the career you dream of, and dating the people who you feel are right for you — provided that you assume the responsibility for the possible consequences afterwards.
7. Being treated with as much respect as you give someone else. If said respect is not being reciprocated, you cannot allow yourself to think that it means you aren’t worthy of it. You are absolutely worthy of getting what you give, and you will find someone who provides it.
8. Feeling good about ourselves and beautiful in our skin regardless of what an advertisement or magazine might tell us. Enjoying your body and feeling positively about who you are is not offensive or in need of justification to anyone.
9. Having the space to choose what kind of mental and physical health maintenance is appropriate and feasible for you.
10. Treating your own problems the way you see fit to — whether that entails medication, time alone, or a change of scenery — and taking all of the time you need to figure out something difficult in your life.
11. Having the amount of connection with your family that is healthy and positive for you. There is no set amount of attachment that one needs with the people they were born into, and if you are in an abusive or hostile environment, you don’t owe anyone your time.
12. Breaking up with a partner that, for any number of reasons, is no longer what you are looking for in your life. As long as you are compassionate and kind in your execution, there is no reason that you are a bad person for letting someone go.
13. Having the body that you feel most comfortable in.
14. Being respected for doing good, hard work, even if it is in a field which someone else might think useless or beneath them. Anyone who is trying their best deserves to be recognized and appreciated for what they are, and if you are not receiving that, you have no reason to give that person your time.
15. Deciding to stop a certain behavior — be it drinking, spending excess money, or frequenting a certain place — if you have realized that it is bad for you.
16. Having whatever kind of sex life you want to have (provided that they are always practicing safe, consensual relationships) without being treated like a monster or inherently less valuable.
17. Living in the city which you feel most understands and accommodates you, even if it takes you far away from friends or family.
18. Having the option to have a family or to not have one, and to not be scorned for that choice one way or the other, even if you are a woman and you have a path that you are “supposed” to follow.
19. Loving exactly who you want to, and treating those people with respect and empathy. If you know they are a good person who makes you happy, they are. And that’s all you need to know.