Ever wonder what it’s like to have a perfect life, the life you’ve always dreamed of since you were a curious little kid who couldn’t wait to grow up and rule the world? Spoiler alert: there’s no such thing as a perfect life. There will always be thunderstorms interrupting perfectly sunny days. Don’t expect everything to be all puppies and rainbows.
As a 23-year-old chick who’s gone through hell on earth (not really, just trying to sound dramatic, just because I feel like it), I wanna share some hacks as to how you can have the “almost-perfect-but-not-quite-just-yet” life you’ve been longing for. I mean, I’ve been practicing them, and so far, I’m kicking ass (I think).
1. Fuck what everyone thinks about you.
If you’re a people-pleaser, then my friend, this is gonna suck. Why do you have the need to impress anyone? Why do you even have to wear different masks just to get affirmation from others? I mean, seriously. It’s your own life, for gosh’s sake. Be you. If they don’t like you, so what?
Each individual has a different perception. Each one has his/her own interpretation on things. Take this for example, a cute guy might find you creepy for stalking his Facebook profile, but that shy kid from Chemistry class will find it ridiculously flattering (and you were able to up his ego, so kudos to you).
Others may see you as being a drama queen when you’re being too emotional, while some will perceive you as being brave for wearing your heart on your sleeve. So whose opinion matters more? (I got you thinking now, didn’t I?)
You see, that’s the beauty of perception. How you view yourself will always differ from the rest. What’s important is that you are happy with the choices that you make.
You want to wear that cute leopard-print dress that you bought, but are too afraid that some middle-aged, religious lady will call you out for dressing so provocatively? Wear it. You’re not dressing for her. You’re dressing for yourself, for your own pleasure and comfort, and because you know that you look so damn good on it. Why did you even buy that dress in the first place?
Let’s face the cold hard truth – there will always be someone out there who’ll judge your actions, your demeanor, your whole individuality. There will always be someone out there who’d remain displeased with the kind of person you are, no matter how much you’ve tried to impress him/her. It’s not your job to make him/her like you. A little reminder to everyone: don’t waste your time kissing someone’s ass. You’ll only make a fool out of yourself, that I’m sure of.
Now, do yourself a favor and throw away all those hideous masks of yours. Shine on and show ‘em what you’re really made of, sister/mister!
2. Take the driver’s wheel. You are in charge.
Never allow anyone to dictate your life. You’re the only one who knows what’s best for you. Sure, you ask advice from your loved ones, but who gets to make the decision? YOU. One major thing I’ve learned from my Individual Therapy course is that therapists are only there to guide you. They don’t get to decide for you. They are only there to accompany you on your journey. They serve as your co-pilots. They’re Robin, you’re Batman. You’re the one who makes the itinerary. You call the shot.
Don’t be anyone’s bitch on a leash. Your parents tell you to be a doctor to continue the family legacy, but all you want is to be a crime journalist. Your friend prohibits you from eating carbs on a daily basis because, “thigh gaps, biatch!”. Your sister-in-law sets you up with her perverted cousin on a candlelit dinner by the beach just because she feels sorry for your prudish lifestyle.
What do you do? You follow them because you’re an obedient child/friend/in-law? No. You do your thing. Take up a degree in journalism; that’s your future. Your parents will eventually understand and realize that you’re deciding for your happiness and fulfillment. Eat whatever you want; that’s your body. You could always go for a run to burn those carbs off. Humbly refuse the date. Stay single for as long as you like; that’s your relationship status. Find someone when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely (or horny).
You are your own bitch. You only have one shot at life, so live it the way you want it. You are the driver, you are the author, you are the captain, okay okay you get the point. So, strap that belt on and drive along the road we call “life”.
3. Carpe Diem.
That’s right. Seize the day. Live in the mother-effin’ moment. Life’s too short to get stuck in the past or over-think about the future. What’s happened happened; accept the fact that you can no longer change it. Excessively stressing about the future will do you no good either. “What happens if I won’t get promoted next year? I’ll probably go batshit crazy!”, “What if I don’t get married after 30? Am I seriously gonna be that lonely cat-lady for the rest of my life?”— if you keep asking yourself these sorts of questions, you better stop it. Reality check: things will not play out normally as what you have in mind. I mean, yes, planning ahead is kinda important, but if you dwell too much on it (especially with the “what ifs”), then that will only make it worse for you. You gotta enjoy what’s in front of you. Be an enthusiastic spectator of life. Appreciate the people around you. Take risks. Be present in the “now”. Dive into the deep water of life and just flow along with the current.
4. Don’t look back in anger.
Oasis fan, anyone? This song has always been one of my life’s anthems (well, only the title, technically). I hate to admit it, but ALL of us have had our taste of bad medicine; we’ve had our struggles, our battles with our personal demons, but guess what? We’ve learned to defeat them. We’ve moved on with our lives. We should be proud of ourselves for that.
Now, let’s talk about the people who’ve inflicted pain upon you, and I’m talking emotional pain. The only way for you to heal is to let go of the resentment you have against them. Plotting revenge or holding grudges against them will only fill your soul with more hatred. Forgive them, and you will find inner peace. Forgiveness takes time, especially if the damage done was so severe, but you’ll get there eventually.
Accept everything that’s happened to you in the past, and be awfully glad they did. You wouldn’t be this awesome human being you are right now if it weren’t for those rocky roads.
“When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you”. I couldn’t agree more with the late Louis Armstrong. Would it be a nice feeling to give out free smiles to every stranger that passes you by? You could be brightening up someone’s gloomy day unknowingly. Smiling is contagious, trust me, I googled different scientific articles to back this shit up. Smiling even makes you appear younger and more attractive. You’re gonna put cosmetic shops and plastic surgeons out of business, for sure!
Who knows? You could be smiling at a stranger who turns out to be the CEO of a well-known toothpaste company. By seeing that wonderful and angelic face of yours, he decides to make you the face of his company. Never in your whole life have you thought of becoming an instant celebrity, and you have that smile to thank for.
I’ve got more situations in mind (can’t blame my imagination), and I’m afraid I’ll get carried away, so I’m gonna have to stop. Now go out there and show the universe that dazzling smile your momma gave you!
6. Speak up if you feel like doing so.
What good is a mouth if you’re not using it to express yourself? Well of course, you could use it for eating, kissing, or God-knows-what-else (if you know what I mean *wink*). Thought on point, speak up whenever necessary.
You’ve been working so hard to earn that promotion, but you still haven’t heard any news about it? Ask your boss. He could have forgotten to tell you about it due to his busy schedule. You wanna ask that chick out for coffee? Go ahead. She could be your future ex-wife. You oppose the idea of your colleague? Voice out your opinion. She might prefer yours more, plus she’ll even like you more that you’re challenging her. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? You’ll hear the dreaded response, the big “N-O”? So? It’s better than not having any answers at all. At least you tried.
It’s better that way, than not taking the opportunity to do so. I mean, you will definitely miss out on a lot of what-could-have-been-your-greatest-moments-in-life.
7. Don’t take everything seriously. I mean, seriously.
I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard of this popular saying: “Don’t take life seriously, no one gets out alive anyway.” Hells yeah. Being serious all the friggin time will suck the endorphins out of you. You won’t be able to attract anyone with that foul attitude of yours, the only three entities you’ll attract are Mr. Stress, Dr. Anger, and Mrs. Misery. Besides, who would wanna spend their time with a non-smiling human being?
You made a mistake? That’s fine. Laugh it out. We all do. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Laugh your worries out. Relax. Lighten up. Turn that frown upside-down, honey.
8. Keep an open mind. Always.
People nowadays tend to brush off opinions that don’t coincide with their beliefs. They’re only limited to their own values and inferences. They’re quick to dismiss the ideas of another, even ridiculing the person himself/herself. They believe that they know everything and that they’re always the right ones. The question is, are you one of these people? Are you usually one to immediately disregard the opinion of a stranger? Or do you consider exploring that opinion? If you identify yourself with the latter, then I applaud you.
Be open to the ideas of others. Sure, they might have a different set of beliefs and values than you, but that doesn’t mean that you have the right to mock them for it. Instead, you internalize them. Listen, understand, and learn from them. Having an open mind will guarantee you a new perspective of life, trust me. It will bring you a new pair of eyes and you get to see the universe differently. Lastly, you get to connect and be friends with people of diverse beliefs, culture, and background. Now isn’t that just nice?
9. Get introspective.
Introspection, or self-reflection, is good for the soul. Get in touch with your inner self. Meditate every once in a while. See where you are right now and decide if you are happy with what you have become. It’s only through introspection that you discover your flaws. Change happens when you accept your flaws. It begins within you. No one can change you but yourself. So, you want personal growth and self-contentment? Better get your introspection on!
10. Embrace rejection.
Whenever you hear the word “rejection,” you cringe. You don’t like the idea of being rejected, whether by job recruiters, by someone you admire, or by the bouncer in the VIP area. I hate to break it to you, but rejection comes in life’s gigantic package. No one’s perfect, after all. Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey – they’ve all been there. Stephen King’s “Carrie” was even rejected 30 times, yes, 30. Had these successful people decided to give up and walk away, they wouldn’t have ended up where they are now.
Life wouldn’t be this exciting if it wasn’t for rejection. You are challenged to do better for every rejection you’d encounter. You want to do better the next time around. You get to recognize your full potential and capabilities that you haven’t even discovered yet.
When you get rejected, take it as something to motivate you further. Don’t throw in the towel right away. Instead, have a positive attitude about it and dare yourself to do better. Success comes from rejection. Let me leave you a quote from one of my childhood heroes, Rocky Balboa (don’t judge me): “Every champion was once a contender that refused to give up”. You gotta rise up after every fall. Gotta show life who’s boss.