10 Lessons Learned by 23

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1. Don’t deprive your loved ones of hope.

You serve as a grounding, a rock, the ultimate support system to those who love you. They go to you with their ideas and their dreams because they know you're a safe place, you're like home. Be sure to be the one who empowers them and supports them through what they're going through whether it be a different path in life, a conflict with a friend, and crazy out-of-this-world idea, or a difficult exam coming up. 

2. Don’t just be kind towards others, be kind towards yourself.

The way you think of yourself is unconsciously seeping out your pores and directly affecting the way you act and speak toward others. When you radiate from within, the biggest smile is painted on your face and planted on those who encounter you. When you love yourself, you allow yourself to love others and show them compassion, affection, and kindness. When you mess up, acknowledge the mistake and grow from the incident, you are practicing patience. Not only with yourself, but with others when they do you wrong. If you can give someone a compliment, do the same for yourself - and don't half ass it. Be kind to yourself. You need to be.

3. Not everyone has the same heart as you.

This is something I am still trying to come to terms with. You would think that the way people preach about being positive and having good intentions, well, would result in just that. But there's this disconnect because people are positive in different ways than you are. People love and care in different ways than you do, too. Is that wrong? No. Can it be confusing and a little difficult at times? Yes. What's important is to be aware of how people show their heart to you and the intentions behind it. 

I want to give a real world example of a different way in which people have different hearts. One thing I personally face is that perhaps I give too much. When it comes to supporting others and their careers, I find myself jumping in with excitement, asking if there's anything I can do to help, and offering my support to them (whether it be through words or even a mention on my social media.) I often find myself coming back with additional words of praise and support with their additional steps toward their goals. But I seldom see the effort returned in a similar way. With this being said, I don't want to dismiss the lovely little community I have so far because they truly are the ones with such caring hearts and do lift me higher and higher. I did want to just mention this specific example because it goes to show that sometimes people just express their care and support in other ways, or they just don't at all because they don't care.

4. No matter how evident it may be, it’s better to be upfront with your feelings instead of expecting someone to just know what's wrong.

Countless times do I think that, because I wear my heart on my sleeve, I can be read like an open book. Fact of the matter is, no one can read your mind. Repeat after me. No one can read my mind. I feel like this has been said over and over and over again, but will we ever believe it? Or do we set high expectations for our loved ones to just ~know~ us. In setting these expectations, you are inevitably letting yourself down. You are creating a trap for your loved one's to fall into. Instead, wear that heart on your sleeve and let your thoughts run. Be the one to initiate a talk if you need a talk. Be the one to allow yourself to think, "You know what? I'm upset. And instead of pouting about it, I'm going to call/text so-and-so and ask if they can lend an ear and some advice. Because I need this and I need this now. I can't wait for someone to magically appear in front of me, understand what's going on in my head and draw my thoughts out of my mouth. This is on me to initiate."

5. You don’t need to feel guilty for outgrowing a friendship.

People come and go in life, you included. And you need to realize that not everyone you meet will stay with you in the long run, nor will you in others' lives. And that's okay! We are endlessly trying to find "our people" and create deep connections with others. That's what we need as humans: connection. Just because you or I didn't stay in someone's life for very long, doesn't mean we didn't serve a purpose. We were there for a reason whether that be to learn a lesson, to love someone, to teach something or to just experience life with that certain person. Times and interests change and you begin to figure yourself out and what you want in life. You begin to seek those who fulfill you 110%, who share multiple interests with you, and who are like-minded. And what's wrong with that? You're looking out for yourself and creating your life as you want it. There's something really powerful in that.  

6. You need to give yourself a break.

Seriously, RELAX. You're too hard on yourself and you know it. It's okay that you didn't ace your upper-division midterm. It's okay that you didn't style your hair today. It's okay that you failed today. It's okay that you tripped in front of your crush and choked on your words. It's okay that you weren't productive today. It's okay that your Instagram photo didn't get a lot of likes. You're doing the best you possibly can. Your strength lies in your persistent effort to do your best, despite a million reasons telling you that you shouldn't. Take a breath. The sun will come out tomorrow. (You're lying if you didn't sing that last sentence like Annie would.)

7. Rejection is important for self-development.

Whether it be rejection from a job or a person, there's something to learn in this. Whenever you get rejected, try not to get down on yourself. It's usually not personal. First, try reminding yourself of your worth but then use this rejection as a way to improve a certain area that may be lacking (be open with yourself). One example would be if a company rejects a collaboration with you or you didn't win that interview you wanted with your dream job. If this is really important to you, how can you use this to strengthen yourself and your skills? It's not a matter of you sucking, it's a matter of you gaining some more experience and becoming an even stronger, better version of yourself. 

8. Let other people shine.

We all want to shine - but guess what?! Sometimes, the world doesn't revolve around us.  While it's important to improve yourself, accomplish your goals, give yourself a pat on the back and share it with the world, make sure you acknowledge those that are kicking ass, too! It's all about a two-way street when it comes to support, not just me-me-me. 

9. Learn to accept a compliment from someone.

First off, you are WONDERFULLY YOU. You deserve to feel pretty and loved and cared for. So when someone takes the time out of their day to compliment you, take it! Don't dismiss it! Not only will it make you feel good and probably brighten your entire day, but you're also practicing the acceptance of self-love. Love in the eyes of others and love in the eyes of yourself. (And in my strong opinion, I think rejecting a compliment is a bit offensive.)

10. The only consistent thing in life is change.

My best friend, Leroy, told me this several years ago and it will forever live in my mind. I wanted to share this with you because it's something that's important to remember when you are going through a difficult time. Change is always something you can rely on. 

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