Life is a beautiful thing. A gift. A treasure to cherish. But sometimes, it can be a struggle, too. It’s a voyage through love, laughter, losses, and lessons, and we sail through its highs and lows while often feeling like giving up. It gets hard. We get tired of things.
But one thing I've learnt is that with self-love and admiration, life's even more beautiful. So allow me to provide advice on how to achieve just that.
1) Do mindfulness activities on a regular basis
I have an app installed on my phone called Reflectly (available on iOS App Store and Google Play store), and every day, I am given daily prompts to help me develop as an individual: on Mondays, a mindfulness topic comes up; Tuesdays help me explore my truth; Wednesday is for wisdom; Thursday is identity; Friday is favorites; Saturday is celebration; and Sunday is for gratitude. Each day, I am also given a challenge to complete in pursuit of growing as a person and trying to make life better for those around me. If not this, yoga is another rather relaxing practice to calm yourself and de-stress.
2) Accept that there are going to be some less-than-okay times, and that’s fine
TV lies. High school and life in general aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. Things suck: friendships, relationships, school grades, work, and interactions with people in general— you name it. And depending on the person, this period of "low" could be days, weeks, months. Trust me, I’ve been there. But there’s a quote that saw me through the most difficult of times that I had:
“And like the moon, we must go through phases of emptiness to feel whole again."
Like the Earth’s natural satellite, we must feel times of despair, disappointment, sadness, and loneliness to be ourselves again. It's okay if you’re not feeling like yourself. Things will get better, I promise.
3) Know your worth
It's a big thing. In this world, people get extremely comfortable disrespecting you, which, now that I think about it, is probably one of the reasons I shut myself away from people so often in the past. Now, I’m not suggesting distancing yourself from everyone and everything just because of difficult situations, because, from personal experience, I know that’s not healthy. But I 100% encourage people to know their worth, love themselves, and stand strong both as individuals and as a collective human unit.
Psychology (or rather, Twitter) suggests that being alone is a power not many people can handle, and I completely agree. It takes a lot of guts to stand strong and let nothing break you, regardless of the circumstances. I learnt this both through unhealthy friendships causing my isolation and through refusing to compromise my beliefs for what other people think. Now, I don’t wish unhealthy relationships upon anyone, as they are extremely damaging, but self-confidence, self-love, and unwavering inner strength— those are essential life qualities that I would encourage anyone to develop.
4) Let it all out
One thing I’ve learnt in my 17 years of life is that emotional burnouts are real. For me, it arose at Christmastime last year. Running away from emotions is not the way to go, I promise. Whatever it is you’re feeling, let it out. If you constantly keep it all within, it will accumulate and come back to you at the most inconvenient times. I found myself crying in the middle of a baking class I was taking as part of a PSHE day. Everyone else was laughing and having fun with their table partners, and there I was, sobbing.
Don’t be like me—talk to people if you’re feeling a certain way about things and those who care will be around to help you. Also, a good cry, a good nap, a good scream— they’re all underrated. Use healthy coping mechanisms to feel like yourself again.
5) Give yourself incentives to keep going
There are some days when even getting up is a challenge. We all have them. But the most important thing is to find a reason, any reason, to do it anyway. It’s very easy to want to give up when things get hard, so find something that drives you to continue to try. Mine is to make my mum and my siblings (and myself, too) proud. They’re everything to me and I’d do anything to make them smile.
6) Surround yourself with people who push you to be a better person and help you love yourself more than you already do
My mum always tells me, “Birds of the same feathers flock together." If you surround yourself with hardworking, driven, passionate, and kind people, you’ll become a hardworking, driven, passionate, and kind person, too. If you find that you’re becoming someone or something you’re not, start asking yourself difficult questions about the kind of people you’re surrounded by and the type of person you want to be. If you have the right people around, being good to yourself and to those you love won’t be a problem.
7) Understand and accept that no one loves you like you do
People exist in your life, and no doubt they’ll care for you and want your happiness. But no one will prioritise you like you prioritise yourself. The unfortunate reality is that we live in a selfish world. And I used to put others before me— and it drained me. I will continue being selfless, but not at the expense of my own happiness. Be kind to people, but don’t drain yourself just to satisfy others. You come first.
8) Use kind words
Words manifest into our lives. So speak positivity into yours and into those of others to live in peace and harmony.
9) Remember that little things help
I have a series of alarms on my phone each morning which help me remember all the reasons why I’m amazing. The description attached to my 7:25 alarm on weekdays reminds me that I deserve to have a good day, and my 9 o’clock alarm for the weekends reminds me I’m beautiful; I would recommend you try it. Likewise, life is too short. Tell the people you care for that you love them— hug them, treat them, and care for them.
10) Be thankful, for you are blessed
In this crazy world, there’s much to be grateful for. Our family, our friends, our teachers, our colleagues, our neighbours. Education, shelter, food, our lives. We are privileged in different ways, and it is essential that we show gratitude for all that we have and continue to be kind to others.
Life is undoubtably difficult and we will all encounter troubles in our pathways towards adulthood, but some love and inner peace will help anyone navigate their journey in the world. Take care and namaste.