1. Let go of the people who are bringing you down.
You may not even recognize who they are right away, because they might not be doing anything overtly cruel or demeaning. But take note of the people who make you feel loved and energized and inspired. Those are the people you want to keep by your side. Gently let go of the rest and walk away.
2. By the same token, don’t let people’s words about you influence who you think you are.
Don’t allow them to make you love yourself any less. You are a perfectly flawed little human; you’re going to make mistakes. Focus on what you can do better rather than what you’ve done in the past.
3. Stop. Breathe. Then respond.
Think of how much someone has hurt you with a quick, biting response of theirs, and try not to do that to someone else. Your responses shape your experiences, as well as the experiences of others.
4. Act out of compassion and empathy.
Don’t assume the worst. Everyone (hopefully) is doing their best with their current circumstances. Give them the benefit of the doubt, just as you hope someone would do for you.
5. Stop focusing on physical beauty and start focusing on how you feel.
So what if you can’t seem to get back down to that 120 lb. weight you were at a few years ago? Stop hating yourself for not being the same size and shape as Gigi Hadid and focus on the satisfaction good health can bring you instead.
6. But: find balance.
You’ll just feel better if you balance out that bagel and cream cheese with some greens. Just don’t let your attempt at progress paralyze you from living your life.
7. Let yourself be affected by things.
This is huge for me. That beautiful sunny day or the adorable puppy you see on the street or your favorite song from 2006 that randomly comes on the radio? Take note. Take it in. Freaking sob your eyes out if you want to. Appreciate every ounce of sincere joy that it brings you. Be grateful for every joyful (and no-so-joyful) moment you are given in this life.
8. Tell people how much they mean to you.
Life would be nothing without the people we care about. Remind people that they’re loved and appreciated, and that you’re thankful they were born.
9. Compliment people – and not just about their physical appearance.
How special do you feel when someone compliments something about your character? Acknowledge the things you admire or enjoy about someone and tell them.
10. Get better at following a budget.
This one doesn’t need elaboration. We all want to be financially stable; budgets help with that.
11. Stop telling yourself you can’t celebrate your little victories.
Whether it’s not talking to an ex or not drinking pop for a day/week/month: acknowledge it and let yourself be proud of it.
12. Empower people.
Consciously recognize when you feel yourself about to put them down or tell them to “be realistic.” STFU. Unless they’re telling you it’s their dream to jump off a building with no harness or paraglider or whatever else has the potential to keep them safe, encourage them instead of being jealous of their purpose and clarity.
13. No, honestly, just be quiet sometimes. Listen to people.
Stop talking about yourself. Stop complaining about the same thing you’ve complained about for the past two months. Stop planning your responses or trying to one-up them or misconstruing what they’re saying to hear what you want to hear. Just listen. Someone else did it for you (and hopefully someone will do it again).
14. Don’t fall into the rut of being content with the same things you’ve always done if you aren’t happy with them.
Your job that you aren’t in love with? Take advantage of your current stability, and find ways to work towards what you want. Networking, taking that class you’ve been thinking about, attending graduate program info sessions – just do it, and then see where it takes you.
15. Stop the #nonewfriends mantra.
Practice being open and welcoming. Wouldn’t you rather be remembered by the stranger at the party or the new person at work as warm and kind than standoffish and bitchy? If not, you probably have a few self-esteem issues that should be addressed somewhere other than Thought Catalog.
16. Just fucking own it.
Whatever “it” is. Whether it’s a mistake you’re taking ownership of, a new haircut you’re self-conscious of, or a dream you’re wanting to pursue: just own it. This is your life – make it what you want it to be and don’t apologize for being yourself.