1. Other people’s opinions of you.
Not everyone is going to like you and that’s okay. Their opinion should not dictate your actions, your hopes, your dreams, or any other way in which you live out the best possible version of yourself.
2. The idea that to be successful, you must do everything alone.
Those who are at the top of their field do not do everything alone. Beyoncé has help. So does Oprah. So does Ariana Grande. So does Reese Witherspoon. The list goes on. It’s okay to delegate, ask for help, and lean on those who wish to be a part of your journey.
There is no timeline for love. There is no timeline for career success. There is no timeline in which you must buy a house, have a kid, get a dog, travel the world, or write your first novel. Does this mean that you shouldn’t have a schedule? No, of course not. That’d be silly. Routines are good, schedules are good, and our habits are the brushstrokes that paint the picture that is our life. But don’t get so caught up in timelines that you forget to live. Forget about checking things off a list and start paying attention to what’s on the list. Let yourself make a squiggle of a journey—it’s so much prettier than a straight line, anyway.
4. The idea that you must know everything.
Admitting to a lack of knowledge is one of the most significant trademarks of the wise. Nobody knows everything, and there is always something to be learned. But if you let your ego get in your own way regularly, it will be impossible to fill in the gaps of what you do not know.
5. Your fear of the dark.
It cannot be sunny all day long—night has to come at one point. Sometimes, the darkness will creep in and your shadows will dance before you. And even though it can be scary, it’s crucial to be able to stand in the dark without covering your eyes. Look at how your shadow moves. Darkness isn’t always a bad thing—if we didn’t have the dark, we wouldn’t be able to see the beauty of the moonlight as it sparkles upon the water or the fireflies as they dance in the air.
6. The need to say “yes” to every social event that you’re invited to.
You don’t have to go to every happy hour, bbq, wedding, baby shower, or family dinner. You don’t have to go to that birthday party. It’s a beautiful thing to be asked to be at the life events of those we love, but sometimes you are not going to be able to get there. Maybe it’s because of work or a preexisting commitment, and you simply cannot be in two places at once. Or perhaps you’re just tired and broke and you cannot afford a gift, and the stress of trying to attend is just too much. It’s okay to say “no” sometimes. It has to be.
7. People who make you feel bad about yourself.
If there are humans in your life whose mere presence makes you feel “less than,” it’s okay to walk away. You don’t have to have lunch with every coworker. It’s okay to let go of the friendships that you’ve outgrown. Sometimes even the best of friends outgrow one another, and there’s no blame or shame in that. It’s part of life. It’s not a death sentence.
Hatred will never serve you in the long run. Let yourself get angry. Let yourself feel. But don’t hold onto hatred for too long—it will stick to your bones in a way that will color every aspect of your life. Holding onto hate ensures that shadows always stay, and darkness never leaves. And you deserve to dance in the light.