I'm only 19. I don't have the world, or life, or even myself figured out and I'm not going to pretend that I do. But I have learned a lot and I've had to accept some things. So here are 19 of the most important lessons I have learned thus far in my life.
1. Bad things happen, but you have to handle them as best you can.
Life doesn't come with an instruction manual and so when bad things happen, sometimes we have no idea what to do or how to react. That's just the way life is and there is nothing we can do about it. When bad things happen, we just have to keep our head up and keep moving forward and do our best.
2. People you thought would always be there will leave you.
It sucks, and it's hard, but that's just what happens. People come into our lives and we think that we will have them in our stories forever, when in reality, they are only one chapter out of many. We can't expect people to stay, no matter how much we want them to, people will leave and we have to let them. There's no point in hanging onto someone who won't hang onto you.
3. People you never expected will become some of your closest friends.
As humans, we tend to look at people and think, "I will probably never be friends with that person," when we see someone for the first time that doesn't seem like someone we would talk to. However, I've learned that sometimes these people will play important roles in our lives and become the people we confide in and they will care about us more than anyone. Trust me, this is the case with my two best friends, so I know the truth of it.
4. Family isn't necessarily those bound by blood.
Family is so much more. Family isn't those who share the same lineage or DNA. They can be included in that, but they don't necessarily have to be blood-related to be family. Your family is the people who care about you and love you and pick you up when you fall.
5. It's OK to put yourself first.
You need to take care of yourself, no matter what. I know that for some people, myself included, that putting yourself first is incredibly hard. It might feel selfish, but it isn't, I promise. It's necessary. You can worry about everyone else in the world, but make sure to put yourself first when the time comes.
6. It's OK to leave toxic situations or people.
You do not need to stay in a place or situation where you are in danger or feel uncomfortable. It is more than alright to leave. It might be the hardest thing you have to do, but do it. Leave. It's also OK to cut off toxic people. You do not have to have relationships with those that make you feel worth less than you are.
7. You are not alone.
I know that sometimes it feels like you are alone and fighting battles that no one has faced before, but that's simply not true. There will always be people to help you and to care about you. You aren't fighting your battles on your own unless you want to. I used to think I had to handle things on my own, but I don't and now I am lucky enough to have people in my life to help me every step of the way, and have faith in me no matter what.
8. People care about you and you are loved.
I know that sometimes we are capable of getting into the mindset that people don't care about us and that we just have to deal with it. But people do care about you. People need you and want you in their lives. They love you and care about you and truly want what is best for you.
9. You can't trust everyone.
For me, this is the hardest lesson I had to learn. Not everyone is your friend, even if they act like they are. Not everyone is trustworthy and they will lie or use your own words against you. There are people who don't have the same morals as you and that's OK. You just have to know that you can't trust everyone, even if you want to. There are just some crappy people in this world.
10. You are not the only person going through this.
More often than not, there is someone who has been through something similar to you. If you want to find them, you will. I used to believe that I was the only person who was dealing with certain issues in my life, but I wasn't. We all go through things, and some of us share the same obstacles on our paths through life.
11. You don't always have to be happy.
Being happy all the time is a load of crap, no one can be happy 24/7. We all have those moments where we are mad or sad and that's fine. That's human. You don't always have to be happy, It's impossible. So go ahead and cry, go ahead and scream and throw pillows across your room (I've done that on more than one occasion). No one can judge you for it. Don't just plaster a smile on your face because that's what people expect and want to see.
12. You can make it through anything.
A friend of mine told me, "God doesn't put you through something he knows you can't make it through... God knows you're up to the task and so do I." Even though at the time I didn't believe them, now I know that they were right. Bad things happen, but as long as we keep our heads up and fight through it, we will make it through anything that is thrown our way.
13. Don't take things seriously all the time.
There are times that you have to be serious, but there are also times when you need to let loose and laugh and just have fun.
14. You can't control what happens in your future.
I used to (and sometimes I still do) worry about my future and how I will turn out. The unfortunate problem with worrying, is that I can't know or control my future. But I can control my reactions to things happening right now, so I'm working on focusing in the present instead. My life is going to play out the way it's meant to. I'm going to enjoy it while I can.
15. You can't change people.
People are going to be the way they are and there's nothing we can do about it. We can't change the way they see the world, or how they react to situations. We just have to either accept them for who they are or move on without them in our life if they are no good for us.
16. It's OK to forgive but not to forget.
You can forgive people but not forget what they did. That's completely acceptable. If you forgive someone for hurting you, that doesn't automatically mean that you have to forget what they did in the first place.
17. You don't have to be perfect.
Perfection in unattainable, so don't waste your time chasing it. Rather, just dedicate your efforts to bettering yourself and being the best you can be. Become someone you are proud of, because that's the greatest thing you can be.
18. Love with you whole heart.
Life is short. So love deeply. Love completely. Love to the point where you are absolutely terrified that your heart will break. Love so much that you think your heart will burst. Don't be scared to love.
19. You will always be good enough for someone.
You aren't going to be good enough for everyone, and that's OK. You don't have to be. There will be times where you might feel like you aren't good enough, but I promise that you are more than enough for someone in this world and that's all that matters.