We are always growing and we are always learning new things. As an adult now in my 20s, I feel like I’ve taken on a new perspective in life as a (trying-to-be) mature human being. I’m someone who likes to revisit the past (the good parts, at least), and doing so allows me to think about the lessons I’ve learned and the things I need to improve about myself. I may not have been in my 20s for long yet, but I’ve figured out a few things that hopefully may help some of you.
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1. Loving yourself is important
I don’t believe the phrase that says you need to love yourself in order for others to love you. They can love you regardless. Take family, for example. However, you do need to love yourself in order to make your life better and make you a happier person. How will you ever be happy when you’re not happy about yourself?
2. Acknowledge your strengths and your weaknesses
It’s important to know what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at so you know what to improve about yourself. Going through life thinking you’re good at everything or nothing is sad. It’s not the truth. In the same context, it’s also important to know the good and bad things about yourself as a person, because let’s be real, no one is perfect.
3. Happiness is the key
Growing up, my dad always told me I had to surround myself with positivity in order to attract positivity. If you surround yourself with negative people and think negative thoughts, you’re obviously going to have a really shitty life. If you make an effort to have good thoughts and meet positive people, you’ll be a lot happier. Sometimes it’s hard, but you can really do anything if you set your mind to it. Life is what you make it and if you want to live a happy life, you have to try to be a happy person.
4. Nothing comes easy
Everything in life requires hard work and dedication. My dad always reminds me that luck is a result of preparation and opportunity. In order to “get lucky”, you need to have the skills or knowledge to follow through with a great opportunity. If you don’t have the skills or knowledge, you’re just left with the opportunity that you’re not capable of taking. There are obviously some exceptions, but many of the people you consider to be “lucky” worked really hard to get where they are.
5. Social media likes are not important
I have friends who get sad when certain photos don’t get many likes. I’ve had people ask me before if I get sad or if I delete photos on Instagram if they get under a certain amount of likes. I used to care. Now I just post whatever I want, regardless of how many likes I expect them to get. You’re not posting for other people, you’re sharing parts of your life. Just because your profile picture doesn’t get 100 likes, it doesn’t mean you’re not beautiful.
6. Putting down others isn’t the way to do it
When your ex meets a new girl, your friends tend to tell you “don’t worry, you’re prettier than her” or “she’s not even pretty”. This is wrong. You’re putting someone down in order to make someone else feel better. It’s not a competition. Even if you’re trying to move on from someone you care about, you don’t put them down to make yourself feel better. The key to moving on isn’t putting the other person down, it’s making yourself a better person.
7. You will meet good people
I’ve met a lot of not-so-great people in my life. In fact, I’m not even that great a person myself. I never believed there were actually truly good people until I recently became close with a select few friends. They will treat you better than any of your ex-boyfriends and they will make you wonder what good you did to deserve them.
8. Forget the idea of only dating people you can see yourself marrying
I’m only 20 years old. If I do ever marry, I figure it’s going to be sometime in my 30s. That means I still have more than 10 years to go. That’s 10 years worth of both shitty boyfriends and nice boyfriends. Even if you think you might marry someone after dating for a year, or even for five years, it may never happen. It may seem like a “waste of time” to date someone when you know you’d never marry them, but realistically, you’re probably not going to marry this person at 20 years old. Just enjoy life. Dating should be fun.
9. It’s okay to make mistakes
We all do or say things we end up regretting later. Sometimes I do or say really insensitive or stupid things and I immediately regret them. Sometimes I feel so bad it stays on my mind for the entire day or the entire week. It’s important to remember that you can start fresh every single day and try to make yourself a better person. Making the effort to be a better person is all that matters.
10. Listen to your friends
They may not always know better than you, but trust them when they tell you something out of their love and care for you. They have an outside perspective and they can see when you’re whipped out of your mind or when you’re just being plain stupid. If they stand with their opinions even when you consistently make excuses for someone, you know you have to try to listen. True friends will tell you the truth.
11. Don’t be afraid of failure
Failure is inevitable. There will be times when you will fail once or twice or many times and you just have to keep on picking yourself up off the ground and reaching for that goal until you get it. It’s like trying to beat that boss at the end of a stage in a game. You keep trying and trying and trying until you beat it.
12. Holding grudges will only make you bitter
If someone does something really shitty to you, forgive them. You don’t have to stay friends with them. You don’t even have to talk to them ever again. You’re forgiving them for yourself, not for them. You can never move on with your life if you keep holding grudges. Forgive and forget.
13. Don’t fall into traps with toxic people
If you see warning signs when you start to talk to someone, whether it be a new friend or a potential love interest, it’s only going to go downhill from there. There’s a reason why they’re called “warning signs”. Don’t stick with someone just because you care about them or you miss them. It’s not enough. If they try to weasel their way back into your life, kick them right back out to where they came from. You deserve better.
14. Never settle for less than you deserve
At 20 years old, you have so many years ahead of you to find someone. Don’t settle for someone because you think you’re never going to find someone else. There is someone (or even many someones) for everyone. You will find someone who treats you way better and you’ll wonder why you even wasted your time with people who didn’t deserve you.
15. You’re never too good for anyone
If you say you’re too good for someone, you’re devaluing them as a person. Who’s to say that you’re too good for someone? What is being too good for someone? Are you too hot for them? Are you too intelligent for them? We’re all equal human beings and you’re no better than anyone else. You’re not too good for them; they’re just not the right person for you.
16. Don’t allow yourself to be a pushover
If you don’t like the way something is, do something about it. If someone says something and turns back on their word, tell them straight to their face. If you allow yourself to be a pushover, people will stomp all over you, because let’s be honest, everyone’s out there for themselves.
17. Don’t be afraid to take risks
You’re young, you can afford to take risks (as long as they’re safe). Leave your number for that cute waiter. Try out that new activity you’re afraid to try. Don’t hold back because of your fear – conquer it.
18. Honesty really is the best policy
I love people who are honest. Tell me when I’m being a horrible person. Tell me when I’m making a stupid decision. Tell me when I have a booger coming out of my nose. Tell me when you don’t love me anymore. What is the use of telling lies when it only makes things worse?
19. People don’t change
Or if they do, it’s extremely rare. Don’t stick with someone thinking you can change them, because you won’t. If they were a piece of shit when you started talking to them, they will always be a piece of shit. Do yourself a favour and walk away instead of trying to change someone. A liar will always be a liar.
20. Be open-minded
Close-minded, one-sided thinkers never win. There is always more than one way to look at things, and you have to look at things from all perspectives before you judge anything. Be open to anything and everything and don’t get angry with people because they have different opinions than you. That’s why it’s called an opinion.