The 5 Things You Learn.

Photo Cred: Quoteco.com
I believe that we are the sum of the people we surround ourselves with. This is also exactly why I am increasingly careful about who I surround myself with these days- because it's too easy to become something that you had never intended to be. 

I am the sum of these people, some still in my life and others not. My friends, my family, roommates and even fictional people that I watch on TV from time to time. These are the people who have impacted me. This list is for you.

1. Trying to be "perfect" is a never-ending battle that ends badly. I used to be so paranoid about impressing people that never even cared what I did in the first place. It's so important to know: No one is looking at you as much as you think they are. So dance wildly. Let your hair be out of place sometimes. Be prepared to argue your point even if you're the only one who believes in it. You matter, and you're allowed to be different than other people think you should be. People have much less stock in their opinions of you than you might think.

2. Sometimes, it isn't you. This goes in line with #1, but in a bit of a different way. Sometimes we think that, when a friend hasn't been available to us, we did something wrong. And maybe we did, and it's good to ask if that's the case. But so very often when we think we're the problem- we aren't. Sometimes there's drama at home. Honestly, and I know this sounds harsh, but honestly sometimes these people we allow into our lives are just really messed up. And you can choose to continue to be there for them or not- depending on the circumstances. But don't feel like you can control other people's problems because you will be wrong 100% of the time.

3. Belief makes you better. The most interesting and amazing people that I have met have believed in something big. Sometimes it's been a higher power, sometimes it's been dedicating themselves to hard work, sometimes it's been the power of music. But the most fascinating people I know are not sitting around believing in New Girl or the new bar down the street. They've got heads filled with ideas and hearts filled with passion. This is good.

4. Caring goes a long way. And sometimes we have to stop and recognize how amazing it is when somebody genuinely cares about who we are or what we have to say. I have a friend who is Johnny-On-The-Spot with questions about what's going on with me, or what happened with a story I told him days earlier. It's been one of those things where every time it happens I feel so humbled that such a simple gesture can make me feel so important. How easy is it to ask someone a question and listen to the answer? And in a world of fast-paced "Look At Me!"... it's so amazing to find someone who is saying "What about YOU?" Be that person for somebody else.

5. Honesty is the best policy. Sometimes you want someone to make you feel better, and you need them to tell you that you look great even though you have, like, 4 1/2 pimples and your pants are getting too tight from too much Panera. But when push comes to shove, the opinions that make a difference are the honest ones. If you want to know that you're latest project really DOES need some work- ask an honest person. This is probably not the person you want to ask if you want a cushy-cozy answer. But I have increasing respect for the opinions of bluntly honest people. I would not have done the following if it weren't for the truth-tellers: Gotten a REAL job, pushed myself back into painting and art, worked harder on this blog, gone to Europe, learned to be alone, started personal projects like learning to crochet and take decent photos, worked out instead of sleeping and watching TV all day, set standards for myself, excluded people from my life that were emotional vampires and developed the courage to stand up for myself against hurtful people. 

These are the people who believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. They're the ones who told me that I was more capable of things than I thought I was. Ironically, these are some of the most difficult people for me to talk to because they're like my Life Coaches and sometimes I don't wanna go to THAT gym. But the honest ones, the really honest people, are the most crucial people I could have ever asked for in my personal development.

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