I decided a few months ago that I needed a break. I realized that my life was being dictated by other people's opinions of me; the way I acted, the way I dressed. None of it was mine and mine alone. So, I took a break. I deleted my social media. I spent time with my family and my friends. I disconnected from what I thought that the world had to say, and I learned the following.
1. You do not need validation from anyone.
Stop checking to see who liked your picture! Stop caring about if other people think you are pretty or skinny or fashionable! You do not need validation from anyone. You are unapologetically you. Do whatever you want. Be whoever you want. Wear whatever you want. To be beautiful means to be yourself. You do not need to fit in. You do not need validation from anyone.
2. Do not waste your time with people and things you do not enjoy.
Always find time to do things that you do enjoy and surround yourself with the people you love. This is what life is all about. When it is pouring rain outside and you are staring out the window feeling lost, you will think of the time when you laughed so hard in a dairy queen that you cried or the time when you sat in bed with all of your best friends, eating key lime pie and watching the bachelorette. You will think of these times and these memories and you will find your peace in those moments. Do not waste your time with people and things you do not enjoy. They will not bring you your peace. They will not bring you anything at all.
3. You do not need to be a people pleaser.
The only person you need to please is yourself.
4. Your thoughts are not reality.
You will romanticize things in your head and make them seem better than they are. But your thoughts are not real, the world isn't crashing and burning around you and things aren't as sad as they seem. Nostalgia is deceiving.
5. No one will fight your fight for you.
You have to fight on your own. You have to find the willpower inside of you because the only way out is through and the only person who can get you through is yourself. You have to learn to let it hurt, and let it go. Make your way towards acceptance or forgiveness or whatever it is you are working towards breath by breath.
6. Never forget to love.
Love your friends, your parents, your cousins, your teachers, your classmates, your co-workers, your doctors and neighbors and cashiers like there is no tomorrow. Nothing on this earth matters except for the relationships we have with others and the love that we show. Remind the ones you love that you love them. Touch their souls. When we are all old and wrinkly we won't remember the time spent in anger and sorrow. We'll remember the time we spent laughing and loving and the memories that warmed our hearts all those decades ago will continue to warm our hearts all those decades from now. Things done in love will last forever. Love is all that matters. Love love love as though you are incapable of doing anything else. And when all that is done, love some more.