1. Do not let people define you
This is absolutely essential to one’s state of happiness. Don’t allow yourself become ‘his girlfriend’ or ‘her daughter’ or ‘my best friend’. Even worst, don’t define yourself through your GPA or how many clubs you’ve joined or how many sport events you’ve won.
Instead, learn to define yourself through the books you read or the quiet moments in life where you find yourself sitting comfortably tucked away from the public as you contemplate the philosophical, deeper meaning of your life. Define yourself through the moments where you’re screaming the night away with good company or taking long drives with no particular destination in mind with a handful of close friends.
2. Realize that things get better
The most clichéd one-liner any person can drop on you is ‘don’t worry, things get better’. However unlike other clichéd one-liners, this actually has a ring of truth to it. Things will get better – it might not be better now or tomorrow or even the day after, but it will get better in due course. Eventually after an undetermined amount of time, you are going to look back at this moment as one of the pivotal moments of life where you bravely picked yourself up and trudged on. Time is beautiful in a sense that it can make even the most hurtful of things appear insignificant. In retrospect, time is the eraser on the tip of your 2B pencil – the lead marks will still be there if you angle the paper correctly, but they’ll be more faded than when it was first written.
3. Personal happiness > relationships
I think honestly people need to learn that putting yourself before other people does not make you selfish. Putting other people’s happiness before your own is never noble or a sign of ‘true’ love – a person who truly loves you would want you to be as equally happy as them. Happiness should be an equation between two people that balances perfectly to zero; it should be a state of complete equilibrium. What you give, you should receive back in equal amounts.
When this isn’t the case in your relationship (and I don’t limit relationships to just significant others, friends are heavily included), then it is toxic and you need to get rid of it. Trust me, you might not see it now, but you will be better off and a lot happier in the long-run.
4. It is okay to wander
Not everyone knows what they want in life, and this is perfectly okay. Society is hypocritical in a sense that it expects all of its young people to have their entire life carefully mapped out, yet it does not provide them the avenue to truly discover themselves. For a good portion of your life, you are schooled to memorize formulas and accept other people’s opinion without ever properly finding out your own.
So don’t worry, it’s okay to be unsure of what you want to do in life; the best people in the world didn’t wake up one morning and decide their place in society. Take this time to really discover who you are and who want to be: immerse yourself in good books, intern or ‘shadow’ people with jobs that spark your interest. Don’t ever be afraid of crossing lines and most importantly, do not ever be complacent. It’s okay to be unsure, but it’s another thing completely to be lacklustre.
5. Understand that happiness is a choice
People have a notion that happiness is exclusive to a certain handful of lucky people.
Like everything else in life, you have to work towards happiness. You cannot continuously torture yourself by being unhappy forever – you deserve more than that. You have to choose to be happy for yourself and nobody else. Yes, you are allowed to be sad. But you are not allowed to be sad for an extended duration of time.
I believe all things in life have an acceptable grace period of complete and utter sadness – or rather, everything in life has its own mourning period. In that period, you are allowed to be as sad and unhappy as you want, you have complete free will to drown yourself in a sea of sob-worthy movies and consume a healthy amount of icecream and chocolate. During this period of time, you are temporarily allowed to pick sadness over happiness. But you have to realize that all things in life have an end, even mourning or bouts of grief. So after this period, you have to start picking happiness over sadness. Because after all, one has to undergo true sadness in order to fully appreciate the art of happiness.