College has taught me a few things, but I’ve learned far more from the people in my life.
- It’s okay to care.
Too often, people let pride take over, but there’s no shame in being sensitive or letting people into your life. One thing I can proudly say is that every person I’ve wanted in my life, I’ve fought for. I can sleep at night not wondering what would’ve/could’ve/should’ve happened. My judgement isn’t always the greatest, but I always try. I sorted through a lot of people to find the irreplaceable ones in my life now, and that process is worth it every time.
2. While you’re busy caring, don’t let people walk all over you.
It’s not an unusual story: quiet girl gets taken advantage of. Whether it’s as simple as being talked over in a group project or as serious as a man choosing a girl as an easy target, it’s too common that speaking up isn’t always the easy thing. Here’s the important part: suck it up and fight for what you need. It’s neither fair or okay for anyone else to take away your power or worth.
- Be realistic, but keep your sense of wonder.
Honestly, it’s way more challenging than it should be for me to keep my head out of the clouds. Naturally, I daydream. I wonder about the possibilities and let these bubbles of excitement take over the course of my life. This is all fine and dandy but when my head is in the clouds, my vision fogs up. The clouds can’t maintain my weight all of the time, and coming down from them hurts. It seems to happen all at once: I’m happy, I’m dreaming of all the possibilities in life, when suddenly I fall face-first onto the pavement, someone’s (figurative) shoe pushing me against the concrete. Stepping out into reality is terrifying, especially when you feel as if you’re doing it alone, but know that you aren’t. Out there in this big world, many people grasp their creativity while keeping themselves grounded.
- Open up, but know when to close shop too. Not everyone deserves to know you.
People are draining. (Side bar: that statement is coming from an introvert’s perspective. I both recognize and respect extroverts.) Sadly, we can expel so much time and energy into the wrong people. It’s natural and life is a learning process, but I hate feeling like my time’s been wasted or I’ve been used. Realize that there are good people, but don’t give away more of yourself than you can afford. You can’t get it back.
- People should complement you, not complete you.
A smart man once told me that. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in others, to momentarily forget who you are or lose yourself in someone else. Compromising in relationships is necessary, but change isn’t—not when it involves things that are important to you or your morals. It so difficult to draw that line, to stop walking that tightrope when you realize that there’s nothing below you in case you fall. And it’s so difficult to walk away even when you know you should. While I love everyone in my life to such an extreme, I’m seeing the truth in this statement. Love others but love yourself too. Don’t become dependent on anyone else to take away your pain or bring you pleasure. God made people resilient. He made them strong. It’d be a shame to do anything else but move on.