1. Embrace the ugly selfie.
Okay, so you took a picture with friends and to be blunt, it’s pretty awful. Here’s some advice that will flip your world upside-down: EMBRACE THE UGLY SELFIE.
Listen, you’re not going to look like a rock star in every photo, and not every day is going to be an amazing hair day. Embrace that. Social media should be a reflection of the real you, not the pretend, Photoshopped, filtered, flawless-but-fake you. Be true to the bags under your eyes and the weird, cross-eyed face you thought would look cute but totally didn’t. It might not be the best pic in the entire world, but it’s real. And that is more than enough.
2. Be civil when dealing with the human you hate strongly dislike with a burning passion.
Some humans suck. There’s no doubt about that. But at some point you’re going to have to interact with these sucky humans, whether at work or school or some random run-in at the grocery store. You don’t have to be over-the-top and put on this big show of super friendliness you don’t feel, but you also don’t have to be a rude dude either.
When dealing with someone whose mere presence makes you want to rip your eyes out, take a deep breath and smile. Be civil, respectful, and genuine, rather than fake. Be polite. Extend a hand, give eye contact, but don’t linger and play pretend. Be real.
3. Be totally honest during the 1AM heart-to-hearts.
So you’re sprawled out on the couch with a significant other and he/she asks you something deep, something personal, something that makes your heart start to flutter. They’ve asked you about something you’ve tried to hide, something you’ve buried under smiles and laughs and stuffed in the corner of your mind where it’s now collecting dust balls. So what do you do? The answer: be absofreakinglutely honest.
If this person loves you, he/she will listen. Obviously they care because you’re sitting with them at 1AM pouring out your hearts to one another (PSA: normal people don’t do that…so they’re totally into you.)
In a relationship, being your true self is essential. Exposing those hidden parts, even the parts that don’t look so great, or have scars, or are a little bruised and broken is necessary for your SO to really know you and love you. Real love is seeing all those rough parts of one another and deciding to love them anyways.
4. Be respectful post BFF-brawl.
You just got into an all-out screaming fest with your best friend in the entire world and you’re not sure what to do. You’re a mess—mad, sad, annoyed, bitter, confused, exhausted—and you don’t really want to see their face…but you know you should talk.
Regardless of whose fault it is, BFF drama is all about being truthful to the situation and to your feelings. That means being open to hashing it out together, explaining your side of the story as honestly as you can, and really listening. It means that you respect your BFF’s thoughts, but don’t have to agree just to patch things up. It means being a good person, and letting things fall together or fall apart naturally, while still standing behind who you are as a friend and person.
5. Breathe before making a legitimate heart-pounding, hands-sweating type of decision.
Life will give you 103,485,346 decisions (probably on a daily basis) and you’re going to have to choose. Some of these will be minor, like what kind of cereal you’re feeling for breakfast. But some of these will be life-changing.
In these heart-pounding, hand-sweating decision-making moments, the most important thing is to dig deep and really think about what you want. You. Not your parents or SO or friends or professors or colleagues or advisees. Breathe. Center yourself. And imagine yourself down the road of that decision, are you happy? If so, then you know your answer.
6. Reach inside yourself when you’re feeling stuck.
Stuck in a relationship, a job, a college major, a city, a home, an addiction. There’s thousands of ways you can feel stuck, but the good news? You can always turn your life around and start over.
When you’re feeling completely lost or in a situation you can’t gain control of, be yourself. Reach into your core and rediscover your wants, your needs, and what makes you smile. Then chase those.
7. Keep your cool during the awkward, no-fun-but-has-to-be-done confrontations.
Confrontations are an inevitable (and super rough) part of life. You might have to confront a friend, family member, boss, employee, teacher, student, the list goes on. In each of these not-so-fun confrontations, remember one thing: keep your cool.
Enter the situation with a plan and focus. Be relaxed and be you. Don’t try to overplay or underplay your position, don’t skirt around the real issue, and don’t try to diminish the problem for the sake of someone else’s feelings. Say it like it is, and say it with a respectful and confident voice.
8. Be above the internet trolls.
Ah, social media. The place where people can hide behind a keyboard and screen and say terrible things about one another without consequences. In the kid-world, we call that cyber bullying. In the real-world: internet trolls.
You may have faced a fair share of internet trolls: haters on your Instagram pics, nay-sayers on your Facebook posts, or people that post sass on your blog. Whatever your story is, don’t let these behind-the-computer haters (or real-life haters!) bring you down. Know yourself and know that you are (and always will be) better than that. Don’t stoop down to their level and engage in a comment war. (PSA: It’s not worth it, and can be pretty embarrassing.) But if you must respond back, respond with integrity and a sense of self. You know who you are and don’t need to hear their stupid typed (and probably not grammatically correct!) comments. Bye Felicia.
9. Remember your roots during a family feud.
Family: can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. Right? Family can be tough sometimes. These are the folks who know you probably better than anyone else, yet might not always embrace you as you try to figure out who you really are, or as you change into the person you really want to be.
When dealing with family, it’s important to be true to how you were raised. Respect your family no matter what. But don’t be afraid to be honest about who you are and what you believe. You’re not going to agree 100% with everything your parents or siblings say, and vice versa. This is okay. Be yourself. Be respectful. But always, always love. Family (no matter the differences) will always come first.
10. Chase your dreams when they’re banging on the door to be let in.
Under your layers are dreams, shouting and scratching and banging to be set free. You need to listen to them. You need to trust them.
You have to be true to yourself, to your hidden (but very real) desires and wishes, and to your bigger-than-life dreams. If there’s something you want or believe in more than anything—you have to go for it. Despite the haters, despite the advice to run in the opposite direction, despite the people that will flat-out say they don’t agree or don’t have your back. Go. If something is bubbling up inside you, pushing you in a crazy and unknown (but very real) direction, you have to go. Chase those dreams, chase yourself, and don’t let anyone stop you.