Adulthood is rough, especially when you’re just starting out. Everything is new and hard and weird, and it’s easy to get lost in the struggle. We do the best we can at the time, but more often than not, we are in desperate need of some brutal honesty and tough love.
When I look back at my 22-year-old self, I cringe. There are many things I wish I could change, and I’d love the opportunity to have a stern chat with my former self. Here are 5 pieces of tough love I’d dish out to the younger, stupider me:
1. The World Doesn’t Revolve Around You.
Your mother was actually right about this one – you’re not the center of the universe. The world is much, much bigger than you and your little problems. The fact of the matter is, you’re just not that cool. Make a point to get out of your head and see more of the world. Help others. Travel often. Read books. Realize that your problems would be other people’s blessings. You are just a small speck in this thing called life.
2. Stop Expecting Things To Just Work Out.
The truth is, you’re not entitled to shit. Stop being a basic millennial who thinks things will be handed to you simply because you exist. There’s a thing called effort, and it’s crucial. Show up every damn day for the things that you want and try your hardest not to screw them up. Get your hands dirty. Wake up early and do the work. When an opportunity comes your way, grab onto it and don’t let go. Everything you want is on the other side of effort.
3. No One Cares.
It doesn’t matter if you have a pimple or gained 5 lbs or having a bad hair day. Chances are, no one will notice. Everyone is wrapped up in their own shit and people just aren’t paying that much attention to you. This is a good thing. Now you can stop living your life with a permission slip that you need everyone in the world to sign. Now you can show up as yourself and let the chips fall where they may. Now you can be real and true and raw and open because other people’s opinions are no longer the currency you use to get through the world. Now you can run on something much more sustainable- self-respect.
4. Stop Treating The People You Love Like Shit.
Pay attention to this one. You’ve been blessed with so many people who love you, and yet you take them for granted. You’re treating the biggest gift you’ve been given like garbage. You think the people who love you will love you forever so you stop paying attention. You become indifferent and apathetic and distant. You don’t pour into these relationships because you think you have a well full of water. But nothing stays full forever. Relationships require work and attention and love. These people are your cheerleaders and your secret-keepers and your home. You need to be there’s. Again, effort.
5. You Have To Save Yourself.
Stop waiting for other people to bail you out- your parents, your boyfriend, your coworkers. Stop assuming that someone else knows what to do. You are the expert on your own life. You are the master of you. Which means that you get to steer the ship in any direction you choose. Stop waiting for a lifeboat to show up. No one is coming. The only one who can save you is you. And girl, you can do this. You know what you want. You know how to take care of yourself. Take a deep breath and go out and do it.