Having suffered from anxiety and depression for so long, I NEVER thought I’d make it to my 18th birthday. Suicide was always on my mind or I always thought that my father would end my life before it. But here I am! Healthy and feeling grateful to be alive.
So I thought I’d share with you 18 things I’ve learned in my 18 years of living:
- Speak to yourself as you would speak to your best friend
When I recognised how horribly I was critiquing myself in my head constantly, it shocked me. I thought, if I’d never speak to my friends like that then why I would I speak to myself like that?
- Rejection isn’t always personal
There are some things in life I have pursued and been rejected from. There are various factors which can go into rejection and I’ve learned not to automatically assume that it’s because I’m not good enough. Sometimes it’s not you, it’s them.
- Be honest
It sounds very simple but I didn’t realise how much easier life is when I’m straight to the point. I don’t talk in riddles, say things vaguely or play mind games any more. I try to cut the bullshit and prevent misunderstandings.
- Think the best of people until they prove you otherwise
Instead of negatively judging people before I’ve even gotten to know them properly, I now give people a chance. It’s amazing how many more people I appreciate as a result.
- You don’t have to be friends with everyone that wants to be friends with you
As a person with low self-esteem who previously only had a maximum of 2 friends at a time, I thought that the more friends I had, the better. After letting in too many people, I realised that friends can be very toxic and it’s about quality – not quantity.
- School isn’t the most important thing in life – Education is
Learning and expanding my horizons is an important responsibility. School is a medium which can help me with that, but it’s also a very stressful and flawed system. I wish I didn’t let exams stress me to death because in the end they do not matter.
- Social media is a huge waste of time
Since I’ve deleted a few apps like Snapchat and Instagram, I’ve been feeling the hours in the day more. I don’t just lose them to mindlessly addictive scrolling. It makes room more many opportunities and making real, deeper human connections.
- People are unreliable
Because we’re humans, we’re all prone to making mistakes. The mistake I made is thinking that I could always count on people – not just friends but also professionals, and I’ve been let down. The only person I can truly count on is myself.
- If you want change, take action
I’ve always felt this impulse to fight for what I believe in and seek answers, but it’s very scary. Also I can be a bit lazy (oops). Pushing myself to do things that are seemingly uncomfortable has made me realise that I’m braver than I thought.
- It’s not natural for the woman to be the pursuer
Sure, it could work. But in more cases than not, if the woman is doing all the work and is starting to feel like a fan that the guy has no time for then it’s clear where the woman stands in his life. If he liked me back, I’d be his priority.
- Don’t befriend someone just because you feel sorry for them
I have a soft spot for lonely people because I know how painful it can be, so I like to take it upon myself to be their hero and befriend them. This has always backfired because it turns out we aren’t necessarily compatible as friends.
- Smiling is powerful
I’ve built up a good rapport with senior teachers just by giving them a big smile every morning and they smile back. It becomes a special regular thing. In a society where smiling at people has become rare, it’s a powerful tool to radiate good vibes.
- Most people are willing to talk about anything
I thought being a good conversationalist meant knowing exactly what to say before even having the conversation, so I was a nervous wreck whenever I spoke. Slowly, I realised that I’m supposed to go with the flow and speak my mind in the moment.
- People’s opinions don’t matter
I still have a hard time constantly keeping this in mind but before I recognised this, I took everything that was said to me to heart which hurt. Just because someone says or thinks something about me, it doesn’t make it true.
- Everyone has problems. Literally everyone.
Family problems, money problems or health problems, we’ve all got them. I thought I was the only sad person in the universe before I learned that depression was a thing. People look like they’ve got everything together but they don’t.
- Don’t equate your life experiences with other people’s life experiences
There’s nothing worse than when people tell me about a similar life experience they’ve had and completely undermine the pain that I feel by making it about them. Everyone has unique experiences. It’s never the same.
- Being alone is okay
I thought that being seen alone was a weakness because I’ve grown up hearing people use words like “loner” and “loser”at school. Now I feel like being alone is a strength. Solitude is important. If I enjoy my own company, why be ashamed of it?
- Everything happens for a reason
All the amazing and excruciating experiences I’ve had have shaped me into the person I am today. In the moment it can feel like overwhelming, but now I look back and feel so grateful because they were all opportunities to learn and grow.