I often see people writing about what advice they would give their younger self. As beautiful as this may be, I don’t always want to live in hindsight. I personally want to remind myself in the here and now of how to appreciate life, because I don’t want to look back with regret. In turn, I want to give myself these simple reminders every day.
1. Do not base your value on success or praise.
This is especially important in the social media age. I often get caught up in thinking likes and amount of followers determine my worth. Remind yourself that you are so much more than what you put online. Your life is filled with little wins and moments that aren’t showcased, and you need to remember that success doesn’t always need to be broadcasted. Also, success is not about people’s approval; success is achieving your own goals without anyone else’s approval but your own. Praise is a difficult thing to untangle, because we have been taught from an early age that when we are praised, we are doing something right. But what you need to understand is that praise can be fabricated and inauthentic. That’s why you shouldn’t base your achievements on praise, but more your inner self feeling accomplished.
2. Patience is an important lifestyle choice.
Yes, patience is a choice. We are not born patient, and you need to realize that being impatient will create a self-centered and chaotic existence. Your goals do not happen overnight. As much as we see everything appear at our fingertips, we cannot assume all aspects of our life are instantaneous. You want food? Press a button on your phone and boom, you have dinner. It’s a very hard world to be patient in. We have to remember that sometimes faster isn’t always better. Hard work and patience make achievements feel deserved. Also, you shouldn’t fault yourself with taking time to do things; it’s not perfectionism, it’s crafting a life with care and love. Do not try to rush into anything like relationships or careers, even if you feel like you’re too late. Take the time to understand who you are and what you want. Nothing is a race.
3. Remember: This too shall pass.
I don’t care where you are or who you are—the world is scary right now for everyone, but we have to keep reminding ourselves that this will all pass. Living with the mindset that all of our current worries will never go away could make anyone lose their minds. The secret to sanity is knowing that everything is temporary, especially the small everyday battles. My favorite rule is if something you’re concerned about won’t matter in five years, then don’t spend more than five minutes worrying about it. There is so much more to life, and once you put things into perspective, you’ll spend more time enjoying the moments rather than suffering in them.
4. Find moments of joy in your day.
If you can’t enjoy yourself at all, your life will become a suffering, meaningless pit. I know we are all concerned for the state of the world right now, and I’m not trying to diminish anyone’s suffering, but we cannot accept the gloom as a permanent state of mind. Being in a perpetual state of worry will only make you sick; stress literally lowers your immune system response. During WWII, while bombs were going off around cities, people played games, sang, and enjoyed each other’s company. The fact is, human beings cannot sustain a life focused on misery. Joy is the only way we get through the day. In non-pandemic times, I also struggled with encouraging joy in my days. I’m often a workaholic and never carve out time to just have fun. I get in this mindset that I can’t “waste” my day. But any day without joy or silliness is actually a day wasted. When did we decide that growing up meant being serious and productive all the time? Never forget that child-like sense of wonder and enjoyment.
5. Take care of yourself and stop people-pleasing.
I have this problem, like my workaholic tendencies, where I feel pressure from other people to always be productive and stressed out. The world moves so fast, and you get so caught up in the idea that you haven’t done anything with your life, especially when people online look like they do so much with their days. You cannot base your life on the way other people’s lives appear, and you most certainly will not please everyone. People-pleasing is a horrible way to live, mainly because it’s impossible. The only person you should be worrying about pleasing is yourself.
6. You are in control of your life.
This is something I need to hear every single day. Whether it’s because I am a dutiful daughter, an obedient friend, or just an overall people-pleaser, I have to be reminded that I am in control. I decide my destiny and how I am going to live my life. If you don’t like your job, you can leave it. If you’re not happy in your relationship, you can end it. Everything in your life is determined by you. I need to be reminded of this because I always sense that someone will be upset with me if I take control, but this is what makes you an individual person. Everyone should know that they can change their world if they are not happy. You should never feel guilty for making yourself and your well-being a priority.