Learning to center yourself is one of the hardest things you’ll ever learn.

It will surely be worth it, though, when your so-called friend says something and it just rubs you the wrong way, or when you’ve just gotten a bad grade on a test and you suddenly doubt every grade you’ve ever received. It’s also super helpful when those late night thoughts sweep in like a heavy rainstorm, threatening to break the carefully constructed dam you built.

Being able to bring those walls back up with a single thought is incredibly powerful.

In today’s world, we are distracted. Social media, the internet, Netflix, you name it—we spend more time with technology than we do with ourselves. And yeah, I get it. It’s hard to find yourself when you could be watching someone make an absolute fool out of themselves on a 6-second video (R.I.P. Vine) or watching a monkey sniff its own butt and then fall off the branch at the smell. Why would you think about yourself when other people are just so much more interesting?

I’ll tell you why, and it’s kind of a dumb answer. You’re the only one who is going to be stuck with you for the rest of your life.

We often get so swept up in the world of The Other that we forget who we are, what we are, and why we are. I’m not suggesting that you give up any of those distractors listed above (Your Supreme Being of Choice only knows that I couldn’t do that), but there is something soothing and relaxing about returning to yourself.

When I get swept up in the craziness that is life, I like to read. Ever since I was a little kid, books were my identifier. I never went anywhere without one, whether it was a movie theater, a restaurant, a family gathering, school, or even downstairs from my bedroom. They were (and still are) what I define myself with, and whenever I’m feeling lost or down, I grab one and get lost again.

Because at least this way, it’s in another world that isn’t going to directly affect me. If things aren’t affecting me, I can concentrate on me for once.

Breathe in, breathe out.

So find what you like to do. Find your true self. There’s that saying that goes, “Enjoy the small things in life,” and as cliché as that phrase is, it’s spot-on. The little things that make you who you are are the things you should enjoy.

Never give those up.