1. Always believe in yourself.
When you don’t think you can, surprise yourself and try. When you look back at your life, failure will feel a whole lot better than indifference, and you should never let the fear of failure keep you from going after what you want. Believe that you can do it, because if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.
2. Remember who you are.
Remember what makes your face light up with joy. Remember what motivates you to keep moving, breathing, living. Remember whatever it is that ignites your desire to be better. Remember every individual piece that composes the whole of who you are — strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and flaws —remember these things because no one else has them but you.
3. Know that it’s okay to mess up.
Don’t let your failures define you. Messing up doesn’t make you weak; it makes you human. Allow your mistakes to move you forward rather than hold you back. After you mess up, the scariest thing to do is try again. You fell in a full sprint, and the fall was painful, and when you get back up (because you will get back up), you can’t expect to start sprinting right away. Allow yourself some time to walk, maybe even crawl. Know that you will sprint again, but forgive and love yourself enough to give it time.
4. Surround yourself with people who make you happy.
The people who make you happy do so because they enjoy seeing you happy. Keep people like this around, and distance yourself from the people who exhaust you, the people who don’t bring the best out of you nor want the best for you. Infuse your life with people who give you energy and don’t take it away. Infuse your life with people who sincerely love you so you can give that same sincerity to the rest of your world.
5. Allow yourself to smile.
No matter what you’re going through, whether you spent the night crying into your pillow or ended your day screaming just so you could feel anger instead of sadness, please don’t forget the way happiness feels. Remember what laughter sounds like. Remember what your laughter sounds like, and know that it’s okay to laugh and smile even through the hard times.
6. Know that not everything bad that happens to you is your fault.
Who you are isn’t defined by the bad things that happen to you, so don’t let the things that are simply out of your control make you feel like they’re a reflection of your character. Don’t question if you deserved it, if there was something that you did that made you worthy of damage and destruction rather than love and comfort. It’s not always your fault, so please don’t blame yourself.
7. Always follow your passion.
Passion will keep hope alive. Passion will allow you to hold on when you feel yourself slipping. Follow the things that made you believe in things such as hope in the first place. Write, create, travel, explore, love — whatever it is that gives you a sense of purpose, follow it, because you won’t be disappointed with wherever it takes you.
8. Know that happiness is something you deserve.
You deserve the wonderful things that happen to you. You deserve kindness and warmth and love. Don’t let anyone convince you that you don’t. No matter what you’ve been through, no matter what others have done to you or what you’ve done to yourself, know that you can be happy again. You just need to believe that you deserve it.
9. Never change who you are for someone else.
The people who truly love you will love every part of you. They will love the way your lips curl when you laugh and the way the lines around your eyes crinkle when you smile. But they will also love the damaged parts of you, the parts that you don’t like to admit you have but are there regardless. They will love the parts of you that you don’t necessarily love about yourself. These are the people who matter, the people who accept you for who you are. Don’t let people make you feel like you’re not enough. Don’t change who you are for them. Accept yourself, love yourself, and if you’re going to change, change for you and no one else. Hold on to who you are. Hold on to hope.