In no way do I consider myself a wise person. However, I do consider myself a person who has done her fair share of living in the time that I’ve had. Along the way I have been countless pieces of advice- little nuggets of knowledge meant to guide me. And like most adolescents, I ignored them, thinking I knew best. There are many things I wish I could have learned sooner in life, and these are just a few of them.
1) Everyone struggles with something.
It is so easy for us to believe that others are perfect, or that they are living perfect lives. Our society tells us that it is unacceptable to not be okay, and that it is even worse to show the world that you aren’t. We all hide what is the bad in our lives behind the masks of happy selfies on social media, and we cultivate a culture that believes everyone has it better than we do. I am here to tell you that everyone has their own struggles, both past and present. No one makes it through this life untouched by sadness, and there is no way to quantify it. One person’s struggles may seem less than another’s, but remember that they are both struggling. What we need to do as a society is to be kinder to one another, more understanding. Next times someone seems a little down, offer an ear to listen or a smile to brighten their day. You never know what they could be going through.
2) Life is too short to hold yourself back.
Everyone says that life is short, but no one seems to truly appreciate the meaning of that phrase. At the end of our time here, the last thing we want is regrets. The younger you can start living a life free from worrying about what others think of you, or what you are told by society you should be doing with your time, the sooner you can really start living. Say the things you feel even if they seem silly or you are scared of rejection. Make the risky decision even though logic tells you not to. Eat the slice of cake you were craving. Life is too short to live by other people’s rules.
3. Beauty is only skin deep.
Growing up, this was one of my mom’s favorite phrases to tell me. I used to believe she only said it to pacify the insecurities of a teenage girl, but as I grow and experience more in life I see the truth behind those words. We live in a culture that values physical attractiveness above almost everything else, and I am not going to lie and say that looks don’t take you far in life- they most certainly do. But looks mean nothing without a good heart behind them. Kindness makes true connections in this world, and being a good person leaves a true legacy. When you die, you will be remembered by the relationships you had and the good you did for those around you- not by how thin you were or how you curled your hair. Beauty is not eternal, but being a good person is.
4) This too shall pass.
This was a favorite of my grandmother. Whenever life gets hard, it is easy to think that the hardship is never ending. The good thing about life is that it always moves forward. Every struggle has an ending. Every bad time has a good time coming after it, even if it is not in the way you predicted it. And with that comes the fact every good time also must come to an end. Everything in the world is always moving and shifting- nothing is eternal. So, you must enjoy every minute of the good times you have, and push through the bad times. There is always something new around the corner- and that is both a blessing and a curse.