As if juggling 14 credit hours, secondary applications, two executive boards, sorority recruitment season, research lab, and hospital volunteering isn’t enough, life has decided to hit me all at once. I rolled into senior year still on that summer high of freedom (what little I had left after the MCAT) and full of energy. My mentality was “I came here to conquer”. While that hasn’t changed, it’s been a lot more difficult than I had anticipated, like most things in life. What has been getting me through everything is my changed mindset of focusing on the positives.

I was told by someone that since I hadn’t been single for as long as they have, they weren’t sure if I’ve had a chance to find out who I am by myself: my likes, my dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses. It’s amazing how someone was judging me for living my best life. I disagreed with what they said and gave them my two cents on my own life. We all learn and grow at varying paces, so if I don’t live my life at someone else’s pace, it shouldn’t matter because it’s not their life to live, it’s mine. There’s proof of my growth, so let me pull out the receipts.

I replayed our conversation in my head as I scrolled through my old Instagram posts. That’s when I realized the proof was in the captions. I know that I have developed as a person, but seeing my thoughts written out in the captions of posts these past few months showed me that the changes were in fact real and not just me imagining things.

While my beliefs have not changed, I have been more vocal in standing up for myself and my values. Even in our twenties, there are times when we want to conform to be liked, but it is important to stay true to ourselves no matter what happens or who happens to us. 

I have not only come to understand the importance of happiness, but have chosen to make it a priority. I always see quotes about happiness, but I have never really taken into consideration how important it really is until this past year. At every point in your life, you deserve to be happy. Don’t put a hold on your own happiness. 

I have become more accurate in how I portray myself to others. There is more to life than perfect Instagram moments coupled with punny captions, and people are often so caught up in unrealistic posts of luxury and glamour that they sometimes forget that life isn’t always like this. We are not perfect, and while not every day will be a perfect day, there are small moments we sometimes overlook that make them more bearable. Once you start appreciating the little things, life gets better.

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People usually only post the good aspects of their lives because they think that’s what other people want to see. However, the issue with that is so many people think they’re alone in the problems they’re facing or that they’re the only ones going through something. In having been there myself,  I will be there for anyone who needs a hand to hold, or someone to listen to because I never want anyone to feel the way I did.

Despite everything I have been through, I still have hope for humanity and still believe in love. No, this doesn’t mean I’ll willingly throw myself at anyone who is potentially interested. If anything, I know exactly what I deserve and will never settle for less again. I deserve better and I’m going to get it. Learn from your mistakes, don’t give without expecting anything in return, and don’t lower standards for people who won’t rise up to meet them.

I found that so many of my friends were in the same boat. We go out of our way to do the most for people who don’t not give us a second thought. Regardless of the type of relationship it is, it should never be like this. Time, effort, and dedication should be relatively equal from both individuals. Choose people who choose you as confidently as you choose them. 

But don’t wait to be someone’s first choice. Don’t wait for anyone. Why wait for other people to choose you when you can just choose yourself? Self love is the best love.

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