1. Learn to take compliments simply and without complication. You don’t need to berate yourself in order to ‘deserve’ a compliment.
2. Remember that you deserve to be treated with dignity, love, and respect – but that you are not entitled to anything and everything you want.
3. Let yourself have a few minutes to be annoyed with someone who is rude to you, and then forget about them and move on. Otherwise you’ll just be carrying around (and passing off) the same negative energy that they gave to you.
4. Accept that you’re always going to experience fear in some form, no matter what.
5. And rather than wasting energy on trying to not be afraid (which is pointless), instead focus your energy on doing things anyway, regardless of the fact that you’re terrified. That kind of mindset is where a full life comes from.
6. Spend more time thinking about the fact that some of the most powerful, famous, and/or successful people in the world still want stuff. Their lives are still lacking in one way or another. This not only humanizes them, but also puts life and power and success into perspective for you, in a very freeing way.
7. Stop trying to solve the problems of your loved ones and instead try simply listening to them and saying, “I’m here.” See what happens.
8. Tell people when you admire them. Making them feel good will make you feel good too.
9. Read more novels with characters who have complex human emotions and relationships. It’s a way to walk in someone else’s shoes and to remember that of every real person you know or will ever meet – that none of their lives are perfect.
10. Accept that sometimes you’re just going to have a really bad day and you’re allowed to feel mediocre or bummed or even really sad.
11. When you do have a bad day (or week or year), remember that you’re allowed to cry, you’re allowed to lean on people, and you’re allowed to feel overwhelmed. What you’re not allowed to do is ignore the pain, or let it consume your entire identity. Surviving pain is about a healthy balance between acknowledging it and feeling it fully, without letting it entirely become who you are.
12. Be okay with the fact that you’re going to be a lot of different versions of yourself around a lot of different people. This is normal. It doesn’t make you inauthentic.
13. Hold eye contact with people for longer than feels comfortable. Once you cross over that very weird and unnerving part of it, you’ll reach a point where the tension will break, and talking to them will feel different than before (in a good way).
14. Always open your eyes to your surroundings, and try to find things you’ve never seen or noticed before. Never stop being curious.
15. Don’t feel weird about literally ‘scheduling’ time to be with people you care about. In adulthood, that’s often the only way it ever happens.
16. Remember that no one spends nearly as much time thinking about your life, and who you are as a person, as you do. This can become a very freeing idea to you, if you let it.
17. Do something every day that makes you feel proud of yourself. Don’t even worry about aiming big. In fact, aim as small as you want – let someone go in front of you in line or give someone your seat on the train when they look tired or respond kindly to a passive aggressive email. These things are small, but when you do them every day, this is the entire person that you become – someone you like and someone you’re proud to be.
18. Make your bed every day. You will fail. But always keep trying.
19. Care about stuff. It’s so much cooler and less exhausting than trying to be casual.
20. Let tiny worries flow through you, feel them entirely, and then let them leave. If it’s something small that you can’t do anything about, acknowledge it and then let go of it – otherwise you’re wasting energy that could go towards something way more worthwhile.
21. Forget about being a person who never makes mistakes, that’s impossible. Instead, focus on being a person who takes responsibility for everything that they do. That’s possible and that’s admirable.
22. Save the cards and notes given to you by people you love, even if it’s nothing extraordinary. One day you might miss their handwriting.
23. Make decisions based on how you’ll feel about your choice later, not how you feel about your choice right now.
24. Prioritize the people who make you feel the most like yourself.
25. Be thankful for everything. Every tiny little thing.