For more than four years, I was emotionally and mentally unstable. Although I learned valuable lessons and met amazing people in the process, my college experience was a catalyst for these negative thoughts about myself. I went through a hard transition after leaving my family for college and realizing I wasn’t one of the smartest people in the classroom anymore. My insecurities intensified as I began to constantly compare myself to others and feel sorry for myself over the smallest things. I struggled in many of my classes and I faced rejection for one of the first times. In February 2016, my first boyfriend broke up with me and my world crumbled. I had never felt so lonely. Not only did I blame myself for how we ended but I began to blame others too and grow resentful towards them. I became a very negative person to be around because I was in pain and didn’t know how to cope with it. I burned a lot of bridges and retreated into myself. Instead of seeking help from my family and friends, I tried to keep myself busy with extracurriculars and partying. The next two years would also become extremely turbulent; I graduated from college and felt lost. I was very indecisive about which career I wanted to pursue and had no sense of purpose. My emotions and thoughts were a rollercoaster. Some days, I felt content and socialized with my loved ones. Other days, I’d feel sad and numb and stay in my room all weekend. It felt like the world was out to get me and I couldn’t fight back. I started to constantly think, “maybe I’m just a weak, incapable person.”

Last summer, I decided to move back home with my parents and start my new job. I was terrified to live at home because it had been 5 years and I was used to living on my own. Just as I imagined, the first couple months were a tough adjustment. I was angry that I didn’t have a lot of friends. I was frustrated that I had a job that didn’t fulfill me as I initially thought it would. But most of all, I was angry that I wasn’t happy. For a while, I would come home from work and cry in my room every day. I even started traveling as far from home as much as I could afford so I could escape this crippling sadness, even if only temporarily. I pushed my loved ones away. Sooner or later, I realized I was mildly depressed and had consistent mood swings. 

I thought moving back to OC would continue to deteriorate my mental health, but after a few months of pain and solitude, I pushed myself to leave my house and do activities I genuinely enjoyed. I started to read fiction books again. I went to yoga on the beach and it truly helped with releasing any tension I felt. I invested more time and money in festivals and concerts because I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember. And as I started to hang out with my sister more often and make new friends, my mood started to shift. I loved their positive energy and kindness and I finally decided I wanted to be that harmonious person. I gradually began to stop feeling sad without reason and be grateful for all the good things in my life just like my friends reminded me. I read the book “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” by Amy Morin and it helped me control my feelings of self-pity and fear towards change. I felt ashamed for a really long time and was unable to forgive myself for all my past mistakes. But after reading this book and asking for advice from my loved ones, I learned to let go of the past and internalize that all my past experiences, good or bad, have shaped me as a person. I stopped focusing on things I can’t control and it’s lifted a huge weight off my shoulder. And I stopped complaining about insignificant things that have no long-term effect on my happiness and learned how to control my reaction toward the bigger problems in life. However, the people I started surrounding myself with have had an incredible positive impact on my life and arguably, the biggest. My younger sister always reminds me of the power of the Law of Attraction. As long as I stay positive, I will attract positive experiences to my life. My mantra every day I wake up is that I deserve to be happy. It’s only been half a year since this change in attitude but I try to apply these lessons to every aspect of my life whether it’s applying for a new job, making new friends or simply picking myself up after a bad day. And although I let my emotions slip once in a while, I’m proud of myself for all the progress I’ve made this year and I’m trusting the process. 

If you’re feeling like the world is out to get you like I once did, just think of all the wonderful, beautiful things that this same world has given to you. Keep reminding yourself that you are enough and stop comparing yourself to others because everyone is different in their own unique way. You are your biggest critic and that’s why we all tend to be so hard on ourselves. Whatever you’re feeling right now is validated but it’s okay to make mistakes and forgive yourself. You deserve to be happy, too.