I’m turning 21 in a few days (depending on when this gets published), and looking back, I realize just how much I’ve been through—a lot, if that doesn’t answer it. Quite frankly, I would not have it any other way. I have learned how to be a strong, independent woman through the people around me and because of all the prayers that got me sailing safely to where I am today. My personal influencers contributed greatly to how far I’ve come.
I’m sharing quotes by one of my favorite ones today—albeit, not knowing her personally, and will be explaining (only very briefly) how it helped me through certain stages of my life, hoping it does the same for you.
“When I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.”
This took me a while to learn. If I’m being honest, I still haven’t mastered the craft of not letting other people’s opinions of me get in the way. There are still (and frankly, probably always will be) nights where I cry myself to sleep because of nonsensical things and I wonder, why the hell am I letting this get to me? but proceed sniffing anyway.
Don’t do that. Don’t accept off-putting vibes other people are throwing at you because they’re so full of themselves (and couldn’t afford any more negativity in their own lives). There are going to be nights wherein you’re going to doubt yourself, there are going to be days slower than the ones before, and that’s okay. That’s okay. What’s important is that you don’t get stuck in your head, and you don’t lose your progress along the way. You know who you are better than anyone else in the world; you just have to find yourself when the going gets tough (there’s a secret: it’s never gone, just buried somewhere deep in you, do a little digging and reflecting).
You start with this and you go from there.
“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals.”
I have made more than a few rash decisions in the past because of the wrong people. We’re teenagers: we get swayed easily, we get distracted by the smallest things, we change our minds. And there’s nothing wrong with that, really, for as long as we’re doing it for and because of ourselves.
Never get disheartened by non-believers; they’re everywhere, pay them no mind. Never let anyone stand in the way of your dreams. You are allowed to follow whatever path you may want to take, at whatever stage in your life. You are your own boss and you shouldn’t let anybody else tell you otherwise. (Take it from someone who’s lived it.)
“You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.”
There’s a saying that goes, “in the end, you only regret the things you didn’t do” and that’s true. It’s literally the truest true there is out there. I haven’t done much yet, at least not in terms of traveling alone, moving to uncharted territories, and/or throwing caution to the wind, but I know for a fact that the things I did do have not killed me nor have I regretted doing them some weeks later. I’d rather say how much of a wild ride it was than wonder all my life what could have been.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a small step or a giant leap. You’ll thank yourself for giving it a go at the time you did, when you still can and while you were still able to. Life’s too short to let your fears get in the way of what could be the most awesome years of your existence yet. Do it, and savor it.
“Just do what works for you, because there will always be someone who thinks differently.”
You can never please everybody, so stop trying to. I have always been a diligent student growing up. Is it because I liked studying or because I wanted to please those around me? I still don’t know the exact answer to that very question, but since knowing myself more over the years, I’m sure it’s leaning towards the latter. I lived for praise and for making everybody around me happy, even when I wasn’t happy myself. That shouldn’t be the case, though. Not for me, not for you.
I’ve come and gone to Law School. It was happening the first few weeks, and then I decided that maybe I had and wanted something else to do entirely. I didn’t sleep for a couple more and drowned myself in school work, cases, provisions, and digests. Something happened that pushed me off the brink further and I sunk deeper in the belief that this isn’t something cut out for me—at least not yet. I still tried fighting the feeling off because I’ve come all the way, and I had all these people waiting for me to finish and finally become a lawyer, and I majored in pre-law, and I seem to be doing more than OK at it, so why do I stop now?
When my mum sat me down and asked me what was wrong, I bursted in tears and told her everything; that I had doubts, that my heart wasn’t in on it a hundred percent, that my passion was and will always be with writing. She told me I could do whatever it is I desired and that she just wanted me happy above all else—God bless her heart.
I was crying not because all the work I put into acing my first semester of Law School will be wasted, but because I didn’t want to disappoint. I don’t want to disappoint onlookers who’d known I was going become a person of the laws one day; don’t want to disappoint my parents and family and loved ones and friends and anyone who gave time, and energy, and their all, supporting me every step of the way. Not wanting to disappoint anybody and everybody is what slowly ate me, and I didn’t even know it—nipping slowly at the sides until I couldn’t see what I was and who I really wanted to become anymore.
Do know that whatever you wind up doing, those who care for you and love you will support you.
“Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down. And trust your instincts… good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt. They’re not painful. That’s not just with somebody you want to marry, but it’s with the friends that you choose. It’s with the people you surround yourselves with.”
In other words, ditch the noxious ones. Those who stopped supporting you after a certain change of heart. Those who look down on you for a decision you’ve made for the betterment of yourself. Those who put you down when you needed pulling up the most. Those who belittle you. Those who make fun of the things you’re passionate about. Those who give you a hard time for wanting something.
Doing it may be painful at first; it is a loved one/dear friend/long-time partner after all, but it’s for the best. It will be good for your wellbeing and your soul. And you will commend yourself for lifting all that unnecessary weight off your shoulders just by cutting ties with people who are not good for you. Ridding yourself of all the toxicity—no matter how non-toxic you think it may be—will be one of the smartest decisions you can ever make. Thrive on people who genuinely give a flip and part ways with those who don’t.
“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”
You are capable of achieving amazing things. You will conquer greater heights. You are part of the bigger picture. No matter how big or how small, you bring something to the table. Own it.
Minor setbacks are meant to encourage you to strive and do better, not to put you down. Long for the most marvelous things, work your guts off, and let the universe put the rest together. You are going to go places and touch the lives of those you meet.
I make it a point to keep repeating this to myself time and again. With countless opportunities and bright lights, it’s easy to forget how far I’ve come and how much work I’ve put into myself, so as not to get lost in my train of thought and drown in the part of me I’ve long shed. But with the amount of people going through the same thing, plunging at a rate faster than the one I’ve experienced, I am reminded: I’m meant to only grow from here and pay it forward.
Be courageous. The world is only a scary place if you let it be one.
“Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own.”
I don’t know how many times I’ve already said this here, but I’ll keep saying it just in case you need reminding.
Do what makes you happy, not because other people want it done or because you don’t want to be the talk of town for picking a different path.
It’s one thing to enjoy succeeding at something; it’s another to bask in success you’ve earned for yourself at something you really value.
Nobody can invalidate you, your feelings, or your struggles. Learn from your mistakes and feed on hope to change the world for the better. Observe integrity and give yourself credit.
It’ll take you places far and wide, and only then will you be able to applaud yourself for following your dreams and achieving what most people thought you wouldn’t.