1. You are not your body. You are not your weight on the scale. You are not the amount of calories you eat. You are not the way you dress or how you wear your hair. You are not your GPA, your education level or your college degree. You are not your income, the cost of your clothes or the size of your house. You are not the number of people you have slept with. You are not your sadness or your pain. You are not your scars or your mistakes. You are not defined by anything that can be seen by the naked eye. You are the things you love. You are your favorite music. You are your hopes and dreams. You are the size of your heart and your capacity to endure. You are your passions and the things that make you come alive. You are the jokes that make you laugh and the words that soothe your soul. You are the way you treat the people around you. You are everything and anything that moves you. You are what your bring to the world. You are a force of friendship and love. You are a warrior and a survivor. And no matter who you are, where you come from, or what you have been through, you are important and you matter.
2. Breathe. It’s okay. You’re going to be okay. Just breathe. Breathe, and remind yourself of all the times in the past you felt this scared. All of the times you felt this anxious and this overwhelmed. All of the times you felt this level of pain. And remind yourself how each time, you made it through. Life has thrown so much at you, and despite how difficult things have been, you’ve survived. Breathe and trust that you can survive this too. Trust that this struggle is part of the process. And trust that as long as you don’t give up and keep pushing forward, no matter how hopeless things seem, you will make it.
3. You don’t have to be what other people want you to be. You don’t have to be interesting or agreeable or entertaining. You don’t have to tone yourself down, quiet your voice, or hide your feelings. You don’t have to be outgoing or spontaneous or sociable. You don’t have to be thin or beautiful or anyone’s definition of attractive. You don’t have to be anyone other than who you authentically are, and you sure as hell don’t have to spend your time and energy trying to convince people that you’re worth keeping around. The right people are going to recognize your worth. They are going to respect you, appreciate you, and accept you, without forcing you to compromise who you are. Life is too short, and your happiness is far too important, to make room for anyone who treats you otherwise.
4. Despite what you may have been taught, your sensitivity doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you too emotional, too soft, or in any way too much. It has always been and will always be a strength. The truth is that you can be soft and still be strong. You aren’t a rock – immune to the shift and pull of the world around you. You’re the ocean. Always ebbing and flowing; Easily affected by the moon and the weather. But immense and deep. Resilient and powerful. Bounding with life. Yes, you feel things intensely and yes, you’re easily wounded by others. But it’s the intensity of your feelings that gives you such incredible insight into who you are and what you need to feel whole. It’s that intensity that makes you deeply connected to yourself and the world around you. And it’s your wounds that allow you to be empathetic and compassionate towards the wounds of others. Wounds that give you an awareness to recognize when people are hurting, and tools to offer support in ways that less sensitive people might not be able to. I know that it’s so hard to believe in the moment when you feel incapacitated by your feelings, but your sensitivity is a truly a gift. Don’t let anyone, including yourself, convince you otherwise.
5. There is a big difference between giving up and letting go. Giving up means selling yourself short. It means allowing fear and struggle to limit your opportunities and keep you stuck. Letting go means freeing yourself from something that is no longer serving you. It means removing toxic people and belief systems from your life so that you can make room for relationships and ideas that are conducive to your wellbeing and happiness. Giving up reduces your life. Letting go expands it. Giving up is imprisoning. Letting go is liberation. Giving up is self-defeat. Letting go is self-care. So the next time you make the decision to release something or someone that is stifling your happiness and growth, and a person has the audacity to accuse you of giving up or being weak, remind yourself of the difference. Remind yourself that you don’t need anyone’s permission or approval to live your life in the way that feels right. No one has the authority to tell you who to be or how to live. No one gets to decide what your life should look like or who should be a part of it. No one, but you.
– Daniell Koepke