One of my grandma's favorite things to say is "just be happy." Even though the phrase is small, there is so much power in those words. Throughout my life, I've had instances where I've struggled to find inner peace and positivity during rough times.

But recently, I've been coming to realize one important lesson:

Looking at the silver lining can make a gray cloud feel infinitely smaller.

While it may sound super cliche, it's important to realize what you have and do not have control over in your life. With the first type, it is always totally in your power to change the course of your life and how you choose to live it; the only thing required is determination.

If there's something else in your life that makes you feel powerless, remember that you still always have the power to choose how you handle it.

There are healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with any difficult situation, and you alone dictate how you choose to do it. There's nothing in the world that can take that ability from you. Looking at the positives, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem in the moment, will help you more than you will ever know.

Whatever tough, unfixable problem you have will arguably be present in your life for a while, so you owe it to yourself to handle it constructively and in a way that will support your mental health.

If you find yourself being negative, never ever beat yourself up for it.

Negativity is a vicious cycle. In a world where there seems to be so much worse, it can feel easier and safer to contribute to it. But breaking it is essential to your well-being, and part of that is looking at the issue head-on and working to beat it.

Everyone s allowed to mess up because as human beings, we are constantly supposed to evolve. Nothing beneficial will come of getting down on yourself for your negativity and other flaws. It's extremely helpful to look at every one of your faults just as the initiative to be a better person.

The past few months while at school, I've experienced lots of changes– some good and others bad. Bur above all that has happened to me, even the best and worst things have shaped who I am and I'm all the better for it. I owe who I am to my highest high, my lowest low, and everything in between.