The short time I've spent in college has brought me to many realizations about myself. Most importantly, I have realized how important it is for me to make myself a priority in this stage of my life. While creating this mindset for myself is a work in progress, I've identified a few of the key aspects that bring me closer to making myself my first priority.
When I am living for myself, I am present in the moment.
"Live in the moment" may be a cliché phrase, but for someone with an over-active mind like mine, something that seems so simple can prove to be quite an obstacle when it comes to personal contentedness. No one said it better than John Green in my favorite book, "Looking for Alaska."
"Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia."
"You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you'll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present."
While it is essential to plan for the future and set goals for yourself, there should be a mental balance between seeking a fulfilling life and appreciating the life that you are living right now. On the flip side, overanalyzing the past can be just as detrimental as living solely for the future. Learn from the past and use it to your benefit, but don't let it define you or consume your thoughts.
I am emotionally authentic to myself.
Too often I find myself diminishing my emotions because of a fear of a lack of acceptance. It's okay to feel in extremes. It's okay to be upset over something that other people may view as unreasonable, just as it is okay to be extremely passionate about something that someone else may find uninteresting. If you don't allow yourself to feel fully, it is hard to understand yourself and grow from your experiences. You owe it to yourself to acknowledge how you are feeling. Being happy shouldn't be something you have to convince yourself of, and it's hard to be genuinely happy when you are suppressing your true state of mind.
I've come to realize that other people should complement my life, not complete it.
When you make yourself your first priority, everything else can sort of fall into place. Other people are meant to complement your life, not control your happiness. Basically, I decided to stop waiting around from someone to come along and make me happy. Constantly seeking the head-over-heels romantic relationship or the picture-perfect group of friends is no way to live. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I don't appreciate all of the incredible people in my life, because I do, but I think that it is important to have a sense of self-stability and realize that while relationships can enhance your life in unbelievable ways, your foundation for happiness should not be built upon other people, but on the sustainability that you have created for yourself. People come and go in life and it's not the end of the world unless you make it that way.
I'm trying my hardest to letting others determine how I spend my time or how I feel about myself.
College is the perfect time to be completely selfish with how you spend your time. We only get so much free time to do things that we are passionate about so it's important to take the time to evaluate what is most important to you and put your time dedicated to things and people that you care about the most. Your time should not be spent pleasing people or comparing yourself to others. Today's society makes it practically impossible to avoid comparing your life to everyone else's lives when every move is displayed online. As someone who partakes in these platforms religiously, I've come to realize that there is a big difference between sharing parts of my life that I care about and doing things just to share them. As hard as it may be to ignore, the lifestyle of someone else should never diminish or heighten the happiness we feel toward our own lives.
Ultimately, I've come to accept that while there are many things that I don't have control over in my life, one thing that I do have control over is my state of mind.
As I said before, trying to live with this mindset is a work in progress, but I've found that being more conscious of how I'm feeling and reevaluating my priorities has the potential for great reward. College is the perfect time for self-awareness and growth, which can be accomplished by acknowledging your importance and living life for you.