As I approach 20 years of living and put my teenage years behind me, I thought it would be a good idea to write down a few things I have learned. So, here are 20 pieces of advice from a nearly 20-year-old who is still learning and growing herself.
1. Vulnerability does not equate to weakness
Being honest and transparent when someone has hurt you doesn't make you weak. Showing disappointment, sadness or any other emotion doesn't prove your inferiority. Feeling the way that you do is okay and should never be suppressed.
2. Finding friends doesn't mean finding people just like you
The goal isn't to find people who think, act and dress the same way as you. Personal growth stems from interacting with different-minded people. There's a lot you can learn from people who are unique, and, sometimes, they make the greatest friends.
3. You should stop saying sorry so much
For me, it can be so easy to constantly think that I am in the wrong, so my first instinct is usually to apologize. However, it is so important to live life unapologetically and to be intentional with every action. There is no reason to carry unnecessary guilt and shame for being yourself.
4. Being generous with compliments always pays off
If you ever think highly of someone, you should tell them. Receiving compliments always makes me feel amazing and sometimes gives me the assurance and confidence I need. Be that person for someone else whenever you get the chance.
5. FOMO is something everyone should get over
As I've gotten older, I've had to learn that I don't have to go to every event to feel included or do what everyone else is doing to gain acceptance. Sometimes its good to say no. I can guarantee you that you are usually not missing out on much.
6. Loving yourself is the first step to having others love you
We have a tendency of only allowing the people we think we deserve into our lives. So, if we have low self-esteem, we're going to be in crap relationships and allow people to treat us as lowly as we think of ourselves. Instead, we should know our worth and work on loving ourselves, and, through this, the right people and relationships will follow.
7. Fake it till you make it
Honestly, this phrase is some of the best advice you'll receive. I'm beginning to realize that when you act unsure of yourself, people take you less seriously and trust you with a lot less. Walk and act with confidence, and it will definitely help you be successful in every every aspect of life.
8. Get yourself a backbone
Learn when to say to say no, when to stand up for yourself and when to stop letting people walk all over you. I definitely have a tendency of giving in and putting up with a lot of stuff I shouldn't, but it's really vital to know and do what's best for you.
9. Winning approval of others is overrated
You really can't live your whole life trying to gain everyone's approval, because then you really aren't living YOUR life. It's good to try to make people proud of you, but you can't make everyone happy, so you might as well just make yourself happy.
10. Most things are NOT better left unsaid
Honesty and openness are debatably the most important attributes to strive for. Stop hiding thoughts from someone, lying about how someone makes you feel or not speaking your mind. The truth comes out eventually, but it's healthiest and most beneficial when it is done right away.
11. Desperation, complaining and insecurity are very unattractive
Instead, be intentional with what you want, stop blaming and ranting about what life hands you and gain some confidence. No one wants to be with someone who does otherwise.
12. Don't judge others simply because they don't have the things you did nothing to earn
I've finally began to understand that not everyone thinks like me or has what I have. Therefore, I am in no position to judge someone's situation. My biggest pet peeve is when privileged people undermine and judge people who weren't given the same opportunities and tools to be as successful.
13. Stop setting unrealistic expectations
Living in the present and taking things as they go is probably the best thing you can do. When you begin to make unrealistic and idealized versions of the future, it just sets you up for disappointment.
14. Beware of privileged, patronizing or proud people
In my experience, these types of people are the worst to come across. Try your best to help them humble themselves just a little bit and not get your ego too damaged with their demeaning and entitled statements.
15. Ignorant is the most dangerous thing you can be
Instead, be educated on social issues, history, global warming, academics, etc. Don't let yourself blindly believe the few statements you read on twitter or what your parents or friends tell you. Live life curiously, and learn about issues for yourself, even if they don't effect you personally.
16. Forgiveness is great; continuously justifying someone's actions isn't
It is good to forgive people, but not when they keep making the same mistakes. There's a difference between choosing to forgive someone and completely ignoring wrong and hurtful behavior. A piece of advice: stop saying "it's okay" when someone apologizes, and start actually saying "I forgive you," because it's likely that what they did was not alright.
17. Just because someone may have what you want does not mean you are lesser than them
It's not a secret that people will be better at things than you, have possessions that you don't have or look the way you wish to. Jealousy is a normal thing that everyone experiences; just make sure you understand that, even if others have what you want, it doesn't make you inferior to them. Focus on your strengths and what you have, and you'll be an overall happier and more confident person.
18. Not everyone will act with integrity, but you should
People in this world will cheat, lie, cut corners, steal and betray, but that doesn't give you the right to do it. Even though acting with integrity may seem like it puts you a few steps behind everyone else, it pays off in the end and people will take notice of your character.
19. The world would be a better place if everyone took time to understand each other
Yep, that even means trying to relate with your enemies. When I actually started to try to understand the mindsets of others, I began to see how much common ground we all shared. There are multiple sides to every story, so be intentional in trying to see and grasp all of them.
20. Balance is key
This is a broad statement, but when you look at life as a balancing act, it begins to make more sense:
You should be open to embracing other ideas, BUT you should also stick to your beliefs.
You should be confident of who you are, BUT you should also embrace humbleness and humility.
You should let you opinions be heard, BUT you should also listen to what others have to say
The world isn't black and white, and there is rarely a right or wrong; it is actually somewhere in the middle where things begin to make sense.