It’s been a week since my last post, and I promised myself that I would try to post twice a week but life happened. This past week has been filled with self-reflection from this past year and the past 20 something years that I remember. I don’t know about you but I tend to become anxious when my birthday is near. First, it is because I find it awkward that it is a whole day where many people’s attention will be on you, like “yay you made it to another year”. Second, I always questioned if I am actually where I need to be in life, and if I am making the most of my time on this earth.
So after a week of existential crisis, I finally came to peace with myself as I reflected on the lessons that I’ve learned over the years. I realized that my good in the world could come from sharing my life experience and personal lesson with you (my readers). I hope that my knowledge will be beneficial to you or things that you can relate to. As I am welcoming my quarter-life, here are five life lessons that I would tell my younger self or anyone younger than me.
You don’t have to be liked by others, but you have to like yourself
When I was in my teenage years, I was constantly seeking external validations from others. Whether it was my makeup, clothing, the way I talk, or my personality, I always tried my best to please others at the expense of my dignity and self-respect. When we are younger, there is a stronger groupthink mentality to be accepted by others so we change ourselves. It is best to be authentic and true to ourselves because, at the end of the day, we are the ones that must live with the results of our actions. Self-respect is much more important than meeting societal’s standards.
Don’t waste your time and efforts on people who aren’t willing to help themselves
Have you ever been in a relationship or friendship, where you think you can help “fix” the other party? I am certainly guilty of this, and it took me several times to realize that just because we see the good in others, doesn’t always mean that they’re worth the effort. It is exhausting to constantly pour into someone who isn’t trying to improve their own state. We may think that it is okay at first, but over time we may start to resent them, especially when we are running low ourselves.
Everyone has their own life to live, and we are always at different stages in our lives. When we are already halfway to our finish line, our mentality may be completely different from someone’s first step. If we are at different stages in life compared to the person we want to help, we can’t expect them to see things and act on them the way we do.
It is okay to be selfish
This is by far, the hardest lesson for me to learn! I don’t know if it is the mentality of what it means to be a woman like “we should always sacrifice for our loved ones”. But at least when we are in my early twenties, this was something that struck me the most. I didn’t start working on my personal relationship with myself until two years ago. It was uncomfortable at first because I wasn’t used to putting myself first. It wasn’t until I hit a series of mental breakdowns due to the overexertion of my mental health that I realized I need to prioritize myself.
It could be the Vietnamese or Asian mentality that always reminded me that women’s youth comes with an expiration date as if you are not married by 25, you are considered old. This perpetual thought fueled my fire to beat the norm and start living the life that I wanted, not the life expected of me.
Successful relationships require a formula
The people you spend the most time with is a reflection of who you are
If I have to give credit to my biggest accomplishments in life, I will give it to the people that I surround myself with. Being with people who are motivated and hard-working will inspire us to be a better friend, a better student, and a better human. There is a Vietnamese proverb that says “stay by the mud and you will stain, stay by the light and you will shine”. Outside of friends, I also have mentors for many aspects such as career, life, finance, and entrepreneurship. There are so many wise and knowledgeable people who want to share their wisdom, which could only be cultivated through years of experience.
Many thanks to you for reading this blog about things I would tell my younger self. After a few weeks of reflection and coming to terms with my existential crisis, I can’t help but feel blessed for the lessons that I’ve learned over the year. It took a while to learn self-love and self-acceptance and sharing them with you honestly made the experience all worthwhile. It’s been a year since I started Linh’s Journal as a platform where I can write meaningful content for you guys. Thank you all for supporting me.