21 Life Lessons I Wish I Knew At 21-Years-Old

Being a twenty-something year old in 2017 is weird, but you already knew that. We’re expected to know what we want to do in life and we’re expected to have it all together. I don’t know about you, but I have the slightest idea about what I want to do with my life and I cry three times a day, live off of chicken nuggets and salad and can barely wash my clothes by myself – so that ship has sailed for me. But, I did learn a thing or two in my 21 years of existence, things about loving yourself and making mistakes, and friendship, and love. I’m still learning, but growing up is a process, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning – and neither will you.

1. People will tell you how to live your life, but you won’t listen to them.

You shouldn’t listen to everybody who has an opinion on how you should live your life. You won’t learn anything about life if you did exactly what everybody told you to. Everybody needs to make mistakes in life, it’s normal, and you really do learn from them. It’s your life, your choices, and your outcomes. Don’t let other people dictate that.

2. It’s okay to remove people from your life.

Once I learned this, my life got so much happier. I used to hold onto people who brought me down, but doing that isn’t fair. I realized a few years ago that I shouldn’t keep people in my life that aren’t going to add anything to it, I spent so many years hanging onto people who just made things hard for me, and that’s not fair.

3. Other people’s happiness does not mean more than your own.

Care about other people’s happiness, but don’t let it take away from your own. You are not responsible for the happiness of anybody but yourself right now. Remember that.

4. Someone else’s beauty does not take away from your own.

This is huge. As someone who struggled with anorexia my entire life, it took me a stupidly long time to realize that just because someone else was beautiful, didn’t mean that I wasn’t. In a world of constant comparisons and judgment, you need to remember that you are not any less beautiful than the girl next to you.

5. The saying “you can’t expect someone to love you if you don’t love yourself” is complete bullish*t.

I believed this for the longest time, and it was such a mistake. People love you regardless of whether or not you’re struggling to love yourself. Just because you’re depressed, or have an anxiety disorder, or an eating disorder, or low self-esteem, it does not mean that you’re alone in any of that, I promise. People will love you, and people will stand by you while you learn to love yourself.