1. Your bank account or physical attributes say nothing about your character. There is nothing inherently moral about whether you have money or not, whether you work out or not, what you eat or don’t eat.
2. The only thing that matters is the purity of your heart. You may think people see your “things” or your body or your face, but what they really see is your soul. A lot of people have closed their eyes to the soul, though.
3. You do not deserve the love of another person. That, you do have to earn. You must give and give and give love without entitlement. Pick the person who gives back without making you feel as though you are striving, constantly, for more.
4. You do, however, deserve your own love. You deserve to give yourself happiness and joy, in whatever form that materializes for you. It’s your life and yours alone—you deserve to believe in what you’re capable of.
5. Sometimes you will do things purely for money. Other times you will do things purely because your heart tells you to. It’s not always necessary to earn money doing what you love. Sometimes monetary compensation for your heart’s labor ends up spoiling it.
6. You cannot only be grateful for the things you deem positive. You must be grateful, also, for your sadness or your pain or your breakdowns. You must find the lessons within these and be grateful they were brought to you in whatever form they were.
7. Breakthroughs are always sneaky. They disguise themselves as breakdowns but then, suddenly, you pull through them cleansed and clear.
8. Growth is a process made while fumbling in the dark. In order to move forward, you must shine the light on parts of you that you have kept hidden away.
9. In order to heal, you must purify. You must empty out your heart until it’s ready to be filled again with something better. The only way out of the darkness is through the tunnel, one step after the next.
10. If you want to know how to change the world little by little, here’s how: Every day strive to be the reason someone else believes in the goodness of people. Use your words to heal, never to puncture. Be someone’s story to themselves they repeat back when they’ve lost faith in the world.
11. “Sticks and stones may break my bones. But words will never hurt me.” This is a lie. Words hurt. Words linger. Words have power. Words are weapons or heroes depending how you wield them. Wield them wisely.
12. Your wild thoughts imprison you if not caught and disciplined. A past that is causing you anger, sadness, rage, jealousy, guilt can swallow you whole if you don’t become aware of the ways this past weaves a false story in your mind. Self-awareness will set you free.
13. The only way to be truly happy is to shut out the world and listen inward to your own desires. This world will teach you one path to happiness and many end up at the end of that path miserable, beaten, and angry. Forge your own path.
14. Do not live for the weekend. If you cannot find joy in the other five days of your week, something needs to change immediately. Do not wait to change your life. Change your circumstances or change your mind about your circumstances. Chase that everyday joy.
15. Do not settle for a life of watching the clock tick by. This is how you waste your life—by spending the majority of it waiting for time to pass. Create things. Follow the wayward journey of passion. Devote your time to something outside of yourself. Find the time. Do not just spend your days waiting to die.
16. Nothing matters more than how you treat people. This is all others will remember of you. Nobody truly cares how you look or what car you drive or what purse you own. It’s all a façade, one that has nothing on whether or not you treated another person well.
17. Never fall in love with someone who is rude to people in the service industry. How they treat others they are not trying to impress is how they will treat you eventually. You are not exempt. One day you will no longer be shiny.
18. Love is a conscious choice you make every day to the person you are with. Sometimes that choice is easy to make. Other times it is not. What defines your relationship is what you do when that choice isn’t easy.
19. Stop breaking plans with people. One day, they will simply stop asking and you will wonder where your friends went.
20. Learn how to listen open-heartedly. If something makes you uncomfortable or angry, breathe first. Think. In a world of instant communication, this can be difficult, but take a moment. Many times our defensiveness is a signal—not to lash out—but to understand something about ourselves. Listen within. Respond when clear. Not everything is worth your quick, throwaway thoughts.
21. Every word you say—especially on the internet—has an effect. What you say lands on someone else. If you think your words do not matter on the internet, you are wrong. They matter. What you say is read by someone. Be mindful. Be deliberate with your words. Stop thinking your harshness will have no consequence.
22. Save yourself. The only person who can set you free from your pain is you. You’re the only one that has to live with your life. Make a home for yourself inside your choices and beliefs—keeping only the ones worth your attention.
23. The easy way is overrated. Everything worth doing is done using everything you’ve got.