Hi there. I’m Sarah Ahmed Malik. I’m 21 and the youngest in my family. I’ve always been treated like a child with a lot of love. My childhood was full of precious moments and laughter. This was the reason I never thought about adulthood, what it will bring to me and how the world outside my shell will be.
My life revolved around my only sister. I was in my late teens when my sister got married and I had to face the world alone. At this point, I started thinking about life maturely.
At that stage of my life, I thought that I should tell my friends all that I had shared with my sister. I made a lot of friends because I thought they played a very major role in life and we need them to feel happy and to enjoy life. I thought they are the people who know you better than anyone else. Everything was going smoothly until I was badly betrayed by my own best friends.
Woahhhh! that was a major breakdown for me. I felt devastated and weak. I decided I didn’t want any close friend in my life. I was told: “this happens in life and you’ll surely get over it”. This was the worst advice I got. How can anyone ask you to chill at such a time? You can’t chill man. And someone like me, who gets emotionally attached to everyone, you literally can’t chill. I cried every single time I saw people hanging out with their friends and I cried every single time everybody used a harsh tone with me because I wasn’t used to it.
Trust me, there is no place on my campus where I didn’t cry. Then one day, I thought why would I cry for people who don’t even care about my existence. If I can live without my sister, I surely can live without fake friends. Then I started praying for my peace of my mind, and growth. I prayed for my confidence, happiness, health, and strength.
It was so hard to move on, pick myself up and cope without the people I banked on. I learned you have to do things for yourself because the only person that will put you back on your own two feet is you, only you. The only person who can be there for you at 3 AM when your life is going down the hill is again you: only you.
That was the time when I became my own best friend and started to love my self and started doing things that made me happy. From eating alone in a restaurant to sitting alone on a bench on campus, nothing bothered me anymore.
Here’s a letter that I wrote to myself on the day I turned 21 years old. These are the lessons I learned through thick and thin in life. Sharing this with everyone out there who’s struggling with life and who thinks he/she is alone. You’re not, you’re actually not alone. YOU GOT YOU.
You’ve learned a lot already. You’ve learned what it means to be a friend, a sister, a daughter, a classmate and just a normal human being with so many dreams in your head. I know your early twenties are going to be hard because it’s a time of growth and you’ll definitely make a lot of mistakes too. Life has lately been so hard. Following are some points which you need to remember in life:
1. Let Go
So first of all, you need to learn how to ignore things that are not good for your mental health. You need to learn when someone/something is just not working out, it’s because Allah Tal’lah has planned something much better for you. You need to learn when to walk away from people and situations that are making you weak because sometimes moving on is a better option. But wait, letting go doesn’t mean you gave up, it just means that you don’t want anything negative in your life. You just want peace.
2. Don’t overthink
Secondly, stop thinking too much. Thinking obsessively about everything will ruin your mental health so DON’T!! You need to learn when to distract yourself from things that are making you dull and are affecting your peace of mind. Sometimes distracting yourself is the key to happiness.
3. Feel to heal
Third, don’t let anyone tell you how you’re supposed to feel. Life is hard, it is really really difficult. Unfortunately, you’re going to deal with a lot of emotional situations as well. There will be a time when people will tell you that you shouldn’t be upset about things and nothing should bother you. I guess it is the worst thing to tell someone. So, do not listen to them. Emotions are there for a reason. Learn to embrace your emotions and learn to block out the people who make you feel bad.
4. Embrace failure
Fourth, learn to embrace failure. Initially, you feel like a loser but in the long run, you’ll learn that failure opens up a wide variety of opportunities. Failure offers you endless options. Learn to take them as opportunities.
5. Don’t worry
Fifth, don’t worry so much because every single time something goes wrong, you let things consume you and when you spend so much time dwelling on it, it’s almost as if it happens over and over. Sometimes it’s good when the worst happens because it helps you to grow and value the good times. Remember, there’s light at the end of a tunnel.
6. Minimal and cheerful clothing
Sixth, stop buying things that you don’t need. Say no to black. Make your wardrobe and your life as colorful as you can.
7. Buy experiences
Seventh, spend money on experiences, not things because things are temporary and experiences live forever.
8. Eliminate toxic relationships
Eighth, end all the relationships you don’t want to be in. I know it’s hard to end them, but the truth is that it’s wrong for you to stay in relationships that weaken and depress you.
9. Talk less, listen more
Ninth, talk less and listen more. When you’ll listen to people, you’ll learn a lot and that’s more important than talking all the time about your own stuff.
10. Say no
Tenth, learn to say NO gracefully. If you are not willing to do something, just don’t do it. Do whatever makes your heart happy. Also, try not to expect much from people because expectations lead to disappointment and you surely don’t want that.
Spread happiness and stay positive. You are stronger than you think you are.
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