MEstevezPicBeing a young adult is hard and that is no exaggeration. There’s so much pressure to follow societal norms but to also be unique butterflies. We need to get our act together and somehow become self-actualized human beings. The struggle to find time to love ourselves and be meaningful in our actions is difficult when there’s the stress of real life on our shoulders. Read on to hear my advice on how to strengthen your friendships, accept your path, and love yourself more every day.

  1. Stress conceptDon’t Go at it Alone: Being able to ask others for help is one of the most courageous things a person can do. The results are not only beneficial to the individual but to their relationships. Like many of my friends, I feel pressure to be strong and to figure out my problems on my own. I mean, I’m nearly an adult so I should know how right? Needless to say, I generally like to keep personal information to myself.  For the benefit of our friendships and relationships, we have to be willing to make ourselves vulnerable. In order to create beautiful relationships with others, it’s important to sometimes allow yourself to make mistakes and share your pain. In the past year I’ve opened up immensely to my best friend and the improvement in our friendship has been unimaginable. I’ve shared my stress, sadness, and heartbreaks which has left so much more room for sharing happy, joyful moments. Through reflection I’ve realized, like most people, I have grown accustomed to stress and in a sense, cannot live without it. Plainly speaking, we are a stressed out generation. Sadly, a lot of us believe we have to go at it alone. Whenever I’m feeling trapped or alone I try to remind myself; you’re not alone and people care for you… but you have to be willing to see them standing there.

  2. Accept Yourself Wholeheartedly as You Are: As a woman, I struggle with my identity in the context of the media and social constructs in which I’ve been raised. Being authentic is hard because stepping outside the norm is scary and dangerous to our social standing. However, sacrificing who we are for the sake of others is not worth the pain of being fake. From personal experience, pretending to be someone else in middle and high school resulted in some of the more unhappy years of my life thus far. Young adults in this society struggle to be authentic; we are taught to be honest, but to not make people feel uncomfortable. Don’t upset others, but make sure your voice is heard. Sound educated, but not like a know-it-all. We are all trying to find that fine line between being accepted and being able to be who we are. I used to think that losing weight was the only way I was going to receive love and attention. I figured the less I weigh, the better I’ll feel about myself. In order for the image of myself to change, I needed to see myself as Melody and accept her in whatever shape she comes. Only then was I able to positively make moves to heal the anger I had harbored toward myself. Like the paradoxical theory of change states; being able to accept who we are in this moment is the only way to make meaningful change.

  3. Be Brave Enough to Choose Your Path: As a junior in college, I find myself having existential crises about my future on the regular: Will I get a good job? Will I get married to “the one”? Will I ever move out of my parents house? I am constantly working through what I want to do when I get older because I put a lot of pressure on myself to make a good amount of money and to be happy. Something I’ve learned is to not wait for the world to tell you what path you should be on. It’s important to find something that makes you come alive. In the end, the world needs more people who love their work and find purpose in what they’re doing. I’m sure we’ve all met that person who hates their job because they rushed into it for all the wrong reasons. Wanting to make money is fair and justified (especially in this economy), but don’t fret the journey that you’re on to figure out how you’re going to do that. I sometimes beat myself up because I feel like I’m not doing enough, but we each have a different path. So own yours.

I am days away from turning 21 and can proudly say that I am imperfect but worthy of love, success, and respect. I still have so much room to grow and become a better person. Transitioning into full fledged adulthood doesn’t have to be a tumultuous time. While there are circumstances that are out of our control, with the right mindset we can all own our stories and stay true to ourselves.

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