There are many things we all wish we knew when we were just starting out. Things that could have saved us from years of depression, but the truth is that you aren’t going to be handed the guidebook on how to survive life. Life is full of twists and turns, a roller coaster ride of emotions, events, and unpredictable occurrences. The only thing you could be told when you are just starting out on this incredible journey that will become your life is to forgive yourself for making mistakes.I think everyone can agree that your mistakes and how you handle failure says more about you than any success you may achieve. It’s impossible to learn without a few missteps. Whenever you encounter something that makes you feel bad about yourself or unworthy in any way, you should take a step back. Think about how far you’ve come and everything that you are doing right. Even if there is one small victory among dozens of failures, that should be celebrated. You may need to think about the simplest thing you have done in order to find your victories, but that is okay.

So, you just failed a test. You immediately think of everything you have done that led to this failure. You should have studied more instead of watching the latest episode of your favorite show, you should have went to sleep a little earlier, ate a better breakfast… The list goes on. Then, feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, a thought enters your head. Maybe you’re just not good enough to succeed in school. Maybe you can’t even succeed in life. Maybe you were never good enough for anything. Stop. Take a breath. This is when your thoughts starts to spiral out of control until you’re hysterical crying and have completely lost yourself. You went through all of this, and for what? A failed test, even a few failed tests, but that doesn’t mean your world is ending. What about your MVP award in basketball you won last season or your A+ on that essay you wrote last week? The fact that you are still breathing, still surviving, explicitly says that you are capable of living.

Life is hard. There’s no doubting that. You are going to hit bumps in the road. You are going to be left brokenhearted and feel like there’s no one who understands or even cares to listen. One thing that you have to remember to do is come back to reality. It is so easy to live inside your head and to mix up what you feel with what is really there. Losing your sense of reality is one of the worst things you could do. When you feel yourself doing this, try your absolute hardest to stop it. Talk to a friend or family member you trust, do something you enjoy, and try to get your thoughts in order. Most of all, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone knows how difficult life can get and if they claim otherwise, they are lying through their teeth.

You are not alone and there’s always someone who is on your side. You just need to look hard enough. As long as you continue trying, you are getting somewhere and that alone is something to be proud of. If all else fails, please know that I will always be rooting for you. You matter. You are important and you deserve to live your life to the fullest extent that you possibly can. If you ever forget that, please read this again. Over and over until you know that it’s true.

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