If something in your life just isn’t working anymore, it’s okay to decide it’s time for something new. That doesn’t mean you’re a quitter or that you didn’t try hard enough, so don’t guilt yourself into staying in a situation that’s only making you feel stagnant and miserable. You’ll feel your world start to move again once you take that first step toward moving on.
Sometimes when you feel like you’re drowning, you don’t notice the people standing at the shore, cheering for you to keep swimming. You don’t notice the people who are ready to wade out and offer you a lifeboat. You don’t notice the people who are reaching out to you, begging you to take their hand—but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. Keep an eye out for those who see you struggling and who want the best for you—you’re less alone than you think.
If you aren’t happy with yourself, it doesn’t matter if anyone else is. At the end of the day, all that outward validation doesn’t mean anything if you don’t like your life or your place in the world. So every step of the way, when you’re deciding what you want to do with your life or what you want it to look like, forget about what you think you’re supposed to do and focus on what you actually want. Nourish the parts of yourself that make you happy. Be the person you want to be, not who others want you to become.
You can love someone but understand that they are not good for you. It doesn’t make your feelings for them any less valid or real, it just means you understand that your own wellbeing matters too. They say love is a two-way street, so if one side is constantly having to forfeit their boundaries or weather the hurt, it’s no longer a healthy situation. You don’t have to stay in it to prove that you care. Leaving doesn’t mean you loved any less.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the idea of romantic love that we forget about all the other kinds of love that surround us—familial love, platonic love, even the love we have for our hobbies and passions. Those are no less important or fulfilling, yet for some reason we give them less weight, forgetting to nourish them and give them the attention they deserve.
You’ll be amazed at how life changes when you learn to romanticize the little things. Like reading a good book under a warm blanket. Like a good cup of coffee. Like interesting conversation over the dinner table. Like a movie night with your favorite person. Life doesn’t have to be a spectacle to be absolutely beautiful—so look for the beauty in every little thing.
I hope you choose to make wishes on stars. I hope you choose to see 11:11 as a sign, not just a coincidence. I hope you choose to look at the glass as if it’s half-full. Because life can be hard and it’s easy to fall into cynicism or pessimism, but what’s more powerful than that is hope—the hope that things can and will get better, and the optimism to take the first steps to get there. Believing you have what it takes to get there is the prerequisite.
Sometimes life requires transformation. Dye your hair (maybe even get the bangs), change up your wardrobe, throw out the things that no longer align with who you are. Don’t be afraid to say goodbye to the person you were yesterday to make way for the person you want to be tomorrow.
Remember: There is always, always another way. Another way to look at a problem and find a solution. Another way to approach a difficult situation. Another way to understand the world and another viewpoint to consider. When you feel like there’s only one option, make an effort to try harder to find the rest—because they’re there, I promise you.
Your life will never look exactly the way you think it should, and by punishing yourself for that, you’re only depriving yourself of appreciating your life for what it is. What you’ve accomplished matters, even if it isn’t quite as much as you hoped. There is both power and peace at being able to look at what you have and what you’ve built and saying, “In this moment, this is enough for me.”
Vulnerability is terrifying, but it’s also freeing. There is a certain level of authenticity that can only be gained by saying what you truly mean and feeling your emotions totally and completely. It will make you uncomfortable at first, but instead of shying away from it, welcome it with open arms.
Be careful about who you choose to put on a pedestal, because more often than not, you’ll be disappointed by them. People rarely live up to your romanticized versions of them, and it usually isn’t any fault of theirs—you have to remember that they are only human. There’s a difference between having standards and expectations for someone and absolutely glorifying them—and it’s possible to love someone without turning them into a fantasy.