Too many young women I think are harder on themselves than circumstances warrant. They are too often selling themselves short. They too often take criticism personally instead of seriously. You should take criticism seriously because you might learn something, but you can’t let it crush you. You have to be resilient enough to keep moving forward, whatever the personal setbacks and even insults that come your way might be. That takes a sense of humor about yourself and others. Believe me, this is hard-won advice I’m putting forth. It’s not like you wake up and understand this. It’s a process.
1. Let go of any ex you may harbor feelings for. They are gone, stop looking back. If it’s meant to be, it will be, but it can’t happen if you stay stuck in the same position staring behind you. Look forward, move forward, focus on yourself and who you want to be. Trust that everything else will follow.
2. Be honest, be honorable, you should now have some idea of who you are, and what you stand for. Emulate those values in everything you do. Show up on time to every appointment, and shift at work.
3. Spend more of your time on your real core group of friends, it’s part of growing up, with college and high school over, the time starts where you get a few close friends and that’s your family. It doesn’t mean you don’t have other friends, but when the next rough four years of heartbreaks, let downs and successes come you’ll want people who know you intimately to be by your side. Don’t be afraid to let people in, not all of them are jerks.
4. Stop focusing on love. You are going to feel lonely, but you need to go through it, relationships do not shape you as a person. Focus on your career, focus on yourself. Become the best possible person you can be for yourself, because without that every relationship you will have until then will fail. You have to become you, before you become anything else.
5. Love your family. If you have decent parents and siblings, love them and be kind to them. If they did the best they could, even if they fell short, forgive them of that they are flawed beings just like us.
6. Try your best to forgive. At this point you’ve experience a lot of bad things people can do, forgive them, and move past it. Even the worst situation shapens you, value the experience. Never hold on to hate.
7. Make an attempt to better your lifestyle. Clean more often, or try and work out more often. Make a goal for yourself, give meaning to your own life. Enjoy it, test yourself, push yourself as far as you want to go.
8. Quit drinking to get drunk, it’s not solving anything, the drunk phone calls and text messages aren’t winning you any friends or dignity.
9. Treat yourself every once in a while. Allow yourself a day to do whatever you want. Curl up on your couch and binge on your favorite tv show, or go buy yourself a new pair of shoes, anything you want.
10. Try and help a stranger once every day, hold the door open for someone, let a driver in, compliment someone, help reach for something on a high shelf, do something to make someone’s day, it will end up making yours in return.
11. Call your grandparents. Tell them you love them. Or if they passed, go visit their grave, bring some flowers.
12. Enjoy the small moments. Keep in mind all these small things are leading to bigger ones. Try and take in the sip of coffee in the diner on Saturday morning, enjoy it.
13. Work your ass off. Whether at school or a job, kick as much ass as you can. Do better than last year, in fact make last year’s effort look like a joke. Earn something, be something, be vital.
14. Try to stay off social networking sites and the internet every once in a while. Go for a day in January, and then add another day each passing month. Talk on the phone, go on a road trip to see someone, stop emailing, texting, and facebooking your relationships to death
15. Once a month go do something special with your mom. She spent many hours in pain bringing you to this world, the least you can do is spend a day with her. Your relationship with your mother is vital, it may be tense from the rebellion teenage years, fix that, move forward. You want your mom at your wedding don’t you?
16. Stop over analyzing situations, learn to accept that things happen, and sometimes those things are really bad, and tragic and make you want to hide in bed and cry. Don’t. That’s life, it happens, stop focusing on some bad break up, or some friend that’s not being a very good person. Let it be, focus on how you can make a situation better.
17. Most importantly, forgive yourself. You’ve undoubtedly made mistakes, maybe hurt someone you never intended to, it’s okay. It happens, and if you harbor guilt that’s a good sign you can let go. There’s no point to hold on to your mistakes and beat yourself up for them. You made them, you’re here now, breathe in and take a step forward. This year is yours.