*language disclaimer*

No matter what stage of life you are in, where you are, or who you are surrounded by, there will always be people who think they have some kind of weird control over you and your choices.

Or, even weirder, they think they deserve to have control over you and your choices.

Regardless, we have all been in this kind of situation at some point, and we will most certainly end up there again.

These kinds of people can come in many forms, and sometimes it can actually be quite difficult to recognize them as such, but once you do it all gets easier.

People will try to tell you you're living your life wrong. They will try to tell you that the personal choices you make, in your personal life, for your own happiness and wellbeing, are wrong. You're doing this wrong, or that wrong. You're too loud or too quiet. You're outspoken, or you don't speak out. You're a slut, you're desperate, or you don't put yourself out there enough. You're a bitch for putting yourself first for once, or you're a bitch for keeping your feelings to yourself so you could analyze them instead of sharing them right away, or you're psycho for privately venting to your friends about a heartbreak you're experiencing. If that doesn't make sense to you, I promise it makes no sense to me either.

People love to judge you based on your decisions without even stopping to think about their own.

Over the course of the past year, this has happened to me countless times, and I have learned a couple things.

The first time I got hit with this obstacle this year, I let it take over. I allowed it to wreck my mental wellbeing, and I allowed it to force me into a negative spiral. I convinced myself the worst thing in the world was happening and I let it completely ruin me.

The worst thing in the world wasn't happening. It didn't need to wreck my mental wellbeing. It shouldn't have forced me into a negative spiral, and it definitely didn't ruin me, even though I thought it had.

Another time, I started out stronger. I told myself that someone else's spitfire, crude words meant nothing to me. But I later found myself taking them to heart and questioning my own character, even though I knew the basis of my decisions was well-intended and pure.

Let's pause for a second.

If I knew my intentions were good, why was I letting someone who didn't know what they were talking about make me question myself? I re-analyzed the situation and ultimately did find peace in my own choices. If you know your intentions are somewhere pure, that's all you need, and f*ck the people who tell you you had bad intentions when they have no way of knowing this.

By the time the most recent case of this rolled around for me, I was prepared. I knew what to do in order to ensure that the person coming at me for my personal choices wouldn't be able to crack me. And they didn't.

Here's why: what I do in my personal life is my own business, unless I choose to discuss those things with you. Even still, you may not know every single detail and every single thought that is inside my head, and the truth of the matter is that you probably don't. This goes for everyone in every situation.

So, when you judge, or try to control, another person and their decisions, step back and consider this, and step back and consider your own decisions and whether you would want someone treating you that way.

I am stronger, wiser, and, simply put, absolutely better than I have ever been. I attribute this partly to my own learning experiences and growth, but also partly to the incredible people that I am so fortunate to have by my side. I am no longer the thin-armored girl who used to crack immediately under pressure. I can stand up for myself, and I do, and I will continue to. Never will I let someone else's poison words taint my own, and never will I allow myself to stoop down.

And to anyone reading this who finds themselves in a similar situation, my advice is this. You do you, and let them do them. Continue doing what makes you happy, what keeps you healthy, and what you know is best for you, and wish the same for them.

The fact of the matter is that if they are going out of their way to keep you from working towards your happiness, they probably haven't reached their own.