In the seventeen years that I have been alive, there are certain lessons I have learned (the easy way, or the hard way), that I believe are crucial for every young adult to keep in mind. Hopefully, these do's and don'ts will help you make the right decisions and achieve your best self.
Being confident isn't being cocky
It's not conceited to have confidence. In fact, being confident about who you are and what you stand for makes you extremely attractive. There's something so alluring about a person that is reassured by themselves. Moreover, psychological studies have shown that people who are confident achieve their goals quicker and have a higher change of success.
Don't be a clout chaser
Instead of chasing popularity, it's more important to evaluate the kind of friends you want and searching for those individuals. You don't need to be best friends with everybody, you just need to find your people.
Lowering yourself won't make you even, but it does make you stupid
Choosing to lower your morality and do something petty won't make you even with the person you're trying to best. Instead, doing so will just make you feel stupid later, trust me.
It's okay to say no.
This can be one of the hardest lessons to implement, but is one of the most important ones.
You can say no to studying one day for your mental health. You can say no to hanging out with someone if you just want to stay home. You can say no to situations or people that make you uncomfortable. You are under no obligation to agree, smile, and laugh it off.
Being vulnerable and getting hurt is a part of life
Yes, life is hard. There are days when it feels like the world is against you, and nobody is your friend.
Even though there are experiences and betrayals that make you feel as though you never want to be open or intimate with anyone again, you cannot let those experiences define every single person out there. There will be people worthy of your trust, and there will be situations where you can let yourself go and be vulnerable.
As difficult as it is to remain rigid and cold, it is even more difficult to be vulnerable after being hurt. But vulnerability shows a sort of inner strength and resilience that you cannot lose, even though it seems like the "best choice".
Crushes aren't worth it
Crushes are so tiring. The constant ups and downs of having a crush: the pain when he or she finds someone else (or even flirts with them one time!), and the elation when he or she speaks to you is simply not worth it.
While crushes are inevitable and hard to avoid, just remember that in five years, none of it will matter. Live in the moment and take each day as it comes!
Stop, Pause, Breathe.
When everything gets a little too much, it's crucial to distance yourself from the situation and just... breathe. Take a break and re-evaluate why you are here. What is your purpose? What are your goals?
Taking mini-breaks is key to being able to accomplish everything you need without driving yourself crazy. It also helps immensely during arguments that may escalate quickly and lead to you losing your cool.
Everything happens for a reason
When life as you know it is crumbling around you, it can be tempting to break down and feel helpless. However, after many trials and tribulations, I have realized that everything does indeed happen for a reason, even if it is a reason that you cannot see at that time.
Give it a few days, months, or even years, and it'll all even out. Trust the universe, and trust in your ability to get better.
Even an upward road has speedbumps
Even when you are implementing measures to change your life positively and grow as a person, you will have days when you feel as though nothing is going right, and everything is falling apart. This doesn't mean that you aren't growing.
Everyone has off days, and it doesn't mean you won't bounce back and recover. Even an upward road has speedbumps, you just have to keep going.
It's okay to cut people off for your mental health
While arguments are a healthy part of any relationship, it is important to know when to cut people off as well.
When someone starts posing a danger to your mental health and happiness, it is okay to remove them from your life immediately.
Don't be afraid to let people go, for only when you let them go can new, more compatible people take their place.
A quite talkative person, one of the most essential lessons I have learned is to listen. Not only does listening to someone demonstrate that you genuinely care about them and what they have to say, but you also learn exponentially more just by paying attention to someone.
But listening to the words that someone utters is just the beginning. Listen to their body language- what are they trying to communicate with their crossed arms and knitted eyebrows? Are they speaking in a high tone with excitement? Are they resisting talking about something?
Paying attention to these non-verbal cues tells you more about a person than their words ever could. Listening can help you identify people you want to spend more time with, as well as warning signs blaring that someone isn't for you.
Invest in yourself
We invest in cars, property, stocks, and jewelry, but rarely do we invest in something so imperative to our lives: ourselves. Investing in yourself means that you work on improving different aspects of yourself, like taking care of your health by getting eight hours of sleep and eating healthy, or by enhancing your appearance by getting your hair done.
Spending time and money on improving yourself will prove to be extremely beneficial in the long run. You will see yourself transform into a better, more authentic version of who you are with time. You are the most precious thing you have, so take care of and invest in yourself immensely.
There's always a reason to be positive
Life is hard. Sometimes it feels like nothing is going right, but there's always something that you can hold onto to get you through.
When you're having friendship problems, think about the family that supports you no matter what.
When your calculus grade is tanking, think about the dance recital you have coming up later on in the week.
There's always a reason to hope and believe that tomorrow will be better, even if it is as basic as a sunny day, or a good sandwich.
There's always something better, there's also something worse...
Smoking kills, but comparison tortures one to death. Schools often put students into competitive situations in terms of academics, extracurriculars, and sports. However, while it is great to compete, constant comparison is detrimental to your health.
There is always going to be someone prettier, smarter, or more talented. That's just how the world works.
There is also always going to be someone less attractive, not as intelligent, or not as skilled as you. And that's okay.
We all have different skill sets and should continue to do what we enjoy and what we're good at. Regardless of comparison, understanding that you are who you are is key to bettering yourself without the lingering feelings of inadequacy that comparing yourself to an Instagram model or even the valedictorian of your high school can bring.
Authenticity is attractive
While it may be tempting to catch onto the same culture and style as people around you, resist the temptation and stay yourself! Maybe you're shy, but that's okay. Maybe you're talkative, but that's okay. Maybe you're weird, but then again, isn't everyone in one way or another?
Stay true to yourself. The people that will be drawn to you will like you for who you are, and not a falsely constructed version of what you think society wants you to be.
Be good, even when everyone is not
It can be hard to stay good. When those around you are doing things that violate your morals and beliefs, it is tempting to just follow the crowd and conform. In my experience, however, staying true to what you believe in and doing the right thing anyway proves rewarding in the long run.