Everyone has those days when they just need a little bit of inspiration. Sometimes I just need to see or hear something that gives me a little bit more motivation to keep going or get something done. And I don't mean those cheesy posters painted with pastel colors that say vague things like "This too shall pass" or "You're beautiful." Because when I'm struggling, I honestly just find those to be somewhat trite and annoying. So, without further ado, here are ten things that I find to be pretty inspiring.
1. For when you're feeling overlooked:
Sometimes I pretend to be the fries at the bottom of a MacDonald's bag, or the leftover $10 bill in a back pocket. You may go unnoticed at first, or for quite a while, but when people notice you, or finally acknowledge everything you do for them, it will be a glorious moment for everyone involved. This doesn't mean that being ignored is a good feeling, or that being under-appreciated is something we should strive for, I'm just saying that even if that's happening now, it won't always be the case.
2. This one's for the women:
We all know that feeling of dismissal because we're women. We're ignored, disrespected, made to seem weak, etc. I'll spare you the feminist rant, but I will remind you that women are frequently compared to deadly things like black widows and poisonous snakes. Ships are referred to as female. We're powerful and dangerous. We keep society afloat and running. And honestly, let's just acknowledge that women have to deal with a lot more crap than men. So give yourself a pat on the back for being so strong and dealing despite all of it.
3. For moments of doubt:
You are way stronger than you think. Seriously. You’re the only one that has to be there when you’re really struggling. You’re the one that consistently picks yourself up and decides to carry on. People can talk to you about your problems, and they can try to help, but at the end of the day, you're the one that gets it done. You're the one that faces up to the depression or anxiety for one more day, you're the one that goes back to that job you hate, and you're the one that nurses the broken heart back to health. If you saw all of that in someone else you'd admire their strength. Admire your own.
4. On body shaming:
Our culture body shames. This isn't news to anyone, and it happens to men and women alike. So please just take a moment to appreciate your body, no matter what it looks like. It carries you around every day. Your heart beats, your brain keeps you alive. You’ve been sick and bounced back, you’ve gone through years of life, and you've done who knows how many strenuous things with that body. And and it still works. It runs. Just take a moment to be grateful for that body before you go back to hating it for not being skinny or muscular or whatever.
5. On Performing Life:
This just in: you don’t need an audience to acknowledge you. Seriously. Live your life. You don’t need the approval of social media or anyone else. And I know our generation grew up with this, this performance, and we were taught that we could be anything, say anything, and that people would care. So we feel like we have to perform, to compete with everyone else's lives. But you don't. If you love taking selfies, that's fine too. But don't be afraid to unplug, spend less time consuming media and just live your life without caring about whether or not some faceless audience approves or "likes" it. If you're happy and healthy who cares what their opinions are.
6. On The Future:
I've mentioned this already, but life is stressful, and growing up is hard. People expect us to have all the answers at 20 years old. I don't, and thinking about all of that stresses me out, sometimes even gives me a headache. You know what else gives me a headache? Staring at the sun, a computer screen in a dark room, or snow when it's really sunny. So I've come to the conclusion that thinking about the future gives me a headache because it's just so bright. This applies to you, too.
7. Life is a story.
People always say your life is a story. It's one of those clichés like how your life is a journey. Stories have tons of characters— some major, some minor. You know who you are in your own story, and you know who your current supporting characters are, but you don't know who you are in someone else's story. You could be that minor only-mentioned-once character that says something that turns their life around or makes their day. Of course you could also be someone's nemesis, but maybe try to be the first one.
8. On Other People's Perceptions:
You guys know when someone is just insanely talented? Like, they're an incredible painter or amazing at guitar, or maybe they're just really witty and always have hilarious jokes to tell. Everyone knows people like that, and if that person were to compliment your painting, or laugh at one of your jokes, that would be a win, right? That would feel amazing, to be complimented by that person. But you are that person to someone else. That's important to remember.
9. On Overwhelming Ignorance:
I don't know about you, but sometimes I just get overwhelmed by the amount of ignorance and just lack of compassion that exists in this country. So if you’re ever feeling despair about how ignorant people are, just remember that there was a time when men thought women couldn’t ride in trains because if they went that fast their uteruses would come flying out. Or that people once believed that if you heated a woman up, she would become a man. So we’re making progress. Slow progress, but progress nonetheless.
10. Today's A New High Score
If nothing else, you've made it today. And when you think about how stressful and difficult life can be, that's pretty impressive. When you consider that our generation grew up in a world of school shootings and terrorist attacks, of economic recession and the suicide epidemic, when you think about how under-diagnosed and stigmatized mental illness is and the negative stereotypes "millennials" have, it's impressive. You've made it this far. Today is a new record for consecutive days alive, and you've beaten your high score. Well done. Seriously.