As humans, we tend to love others more than we love ourselves. Think about it – we have no problems motivating and encouraging others when they’re down, but we’re not as kind when it comes to our own selves.
We know we should take it easy, but it’s always easier said than done.
I mean, what do we tell ourselves when we’re beaten by self-doubt? How do we regain our confidence in the face of criticism and rejection? How do we pick ourselves up after Life beats us down?
I get it, it’s difficult. All of us have our own personal struggles to contend with, myself included. Still, when the going gets tough, I hope you’ll be able to show yourself compassion.
Here are some words I hope will comfort you in times of trouble.
1. We’re all messed up in one way or another
It’s easy to think that other people lead better lives. Instagram and Facebook are constant (false) reminders of how much better they have it compared to you.
The truth is, deep down, we’re all struggling with our own problems. Each of us have our own fears and insecurities that we’re dealing with.
And some just hide their skeletons better.
I remember back in school, there was a popular girl whom I used to envy. She was the type to travel to Europe with her family every holiday. When Valentine’s came around, she received roses from all the cute boys. She also snagged the gold medal in netball every tournament.
She was an all-rounded student, and had a seemingly perfect life.
As the years passed by and we got older, the realities of her life began to surface on Facebook. She shared about the time she was abused by her father, which led to her parents’ nasty divorce. She confessed that she had been struggling emotionally since she was young. She also voiced out that she was finally seeking therapy to treat her depression.
Reading her experiences made me realise that everyone’s fighting their own personal demons. Instead of counting someone else’s blessing, I learned to count mine.
Remember, life isn’t always as peachy and perfect as it appears to be.
2. Live for yourself, not for others
If everyone has the same cookie-cutter life, imagine how boring our time on earth would be?
Every one of us is born with the gift of free will. We’re free to be whoever we want. We’re free to love whomever we want. We’re also free to eat as many cupcakes as we want (although we probably shouldn’t).
Knowing that we have the freedom to live our lives for ourselves, why should we allow society’s expectations to dictate and influence the paths we take?
Growing up, I had a goal to get married by 25. My motivation behind this deadline? Because a magazine said it’s the golden age to tie the knot. Silly, I know.
Today, I still haven’t tied the knot, even though I’m in my 30s. I can tell you with absolute honesty that society can be unintentionally mean to women of my age.
You have no idea the number of pesky questions I get every now and then. “How old are you again?”, “When are you getting married?” or my favourite, “Aren’t you afraid that you won’t be able to have kids?”
I understand that relatives and friends bring this up out of concern, but who decided that 30 is the deadline? And who suggested that marriage before 30 guarantees happily-ever-after?
I have friends who changed their status from married to single. I know friends who divorced and got a new wife. I have friends who had affairs behind their spouse’s back.
And they all were married before 30.
I’m not rejecting the idea of marriage. I just believe that everyone’s timeline is different, and I hope more people would understand this. If you met the love of your life in college, that’s fantastic. If you’re married at a young age, that’s great.
But that’s your life and not mine.
Relationship, success, and happiness will unravel itself in perfect timing. All we need to do is live our lives in the most authentic way possible. Trust me; life is more liberating when you unchain yourself from social expectations.
3. Life happens for you
Everything happens for a reason, and here’s a fun story.
Back in 2013, I found out that Two Door Cinema Club will be performing for the first time at Urbanscapes. I was ecstatic when I heard the news. Being a massive fan of theirs, I knew with absolute certainty that I needed to attend that festival. There was no doubt about it.
Then, Murphy’s Law happened. Just a few days before the ticketing window opened, I discovered that the festival date clashed with my Langkawi trip. I was mortified. You should have seen the look on my face after triple checking my calendar. I was crushed.
If you were there at Urbanscapes 2013, you know what happened. The band cancelled their performance because the vocalist suffered from laryngitis.
Oh, my word.
I would have been very upset if I purchased the ticket and went to Urbanscapes that year. Part of me was thankful, but another part of me wondered if a second opportunity would come along.
Fast forward to 2016, Two Door Cinema Club was one of the headlining acts at Good Vibes Festival. Guess who stood front row under the pouring rain while watching Alex Trimble performed “Next Year”? Yup, it was one of the best music moments of my life, and it was three years in the making!
Seriously guys, everything happens for a reason.
It might not make sense at first. It might even break your heart! But you must always believe that life has got your back. Life happens for you, not to you.
This rule applies to everything such as break-ups, rejections, and stressful days. There’s always a better person, a better job, and a better day waiting to manifest itself into your life.
Time is the only thing we need to bear with.
4. You’re stronger than you think
We’re often sold on the idea that bad days can bring us down. What if they’re designed to make us stronger?
Many years ago, I had my bag snatched at knife-point while walking home from college. It was a sunny Wednesday afternoon, which meant that it was literally daylight robbery.
I was alone when a motorbike made a U-turn for my bag, which only contained my purse and lecture notes. The pillion got down and pointed a parang at my chest.
I’ve never trembled so much in my life. My hands were shaking when I threw my bag to the ground. Then, he saw my phone tucked in my pocket and signalled me to give that up too.
He took everything, laughed at me, and left just like that. I didn’t manage to get the license plate because he covered it with the back of his hand. That incident lasted less than two minutes, but it took me a few months to recover from the harrowing experience.
We can’t control every outcome, event, or challenge that enters our lives. The best we can do is to choose how to deal with it. Surprisingly, I regained my inner strength by being grateful.
That could have been me.
It’s tough to make sense of it especially when the incident was a traumatic one. However, I learned that some events disguised as lessons (in my case, to be more alert and aware of my surroundings), others happened to make me stronger.
5. Tomorrow promises a fresh start
There is a satisfaction of knowing that regardless of today’s defeat, you can still start again tomorrow. It’s a fresh start filled with possibilities and opportunities. It’s a kind day that forgives yesterday’s shortcomings. It’s a new beginning that builds a stronger you.
Whatever our jobs may be, you know we can’t escape rejections. As a writer, I deal with it every now and then.
I’d prepare the perfect pitch and it would get turned down by a magazine editor. I’d spend hours writing an article only to be told that it wasn’t good enough. I’d compile writing samples for a potential client, and read an email saying I’m not what they’re looking for.
It’s easy to give up when rejection mounts, but tomorrow comes with the promise of uncertainty. It’s a new chance to prepare a better pitch, write a better article, and compile a better writing sample.
If you ever feel like the world is against you, don’t give up. Don’t be overwhelmed by yesterday’s challenges. As the Japanese saying goes, “Fall down seven times, get up eight.”
Wanna read more stories like this? You can also check out 5 Lies I Stopped Believing Which Helped Me Grow in Life