Normal Life- (At 22 you are supposed to be graduating from college and have a job lined up and ready to begin the rest of your career, at least that’s what I was always told) As I scroll down my FaceBook feed I see how many of my former classmates are doing just this and here I am writing about being lost as they go on to begin there promising futures. I have thought so many times to myself “Was dropping out of college the right thing?” “Maybe I should have tried harder and stuck it out?” But then I remind myself that not everyone is meant for that path. Their are people like me who perhaps feel a little lost and are trying to find themselves and the happiness within. The last 6 months to a year I have been in between jobs, laid off from two jobs, screwed over by a former potential employer, had a tremendous loss of someone close to me, met some amazing people, built some very strong friendships, had more then a few breakdowns, constant battles with people close to me, health issues, and had my heart a little shaken from a boy all why trying to find myself. I am always searching for what I think will make me happy whether it is the perfect job where I can let my passion flow freely or that perfect relationship filled with unconditional love and security all knowing that none of these things in the long run will make me happy. (they will at some point but only when I have done the work on myself and am ready for them) I wanted to rush all this to finally get to my fairy tale ending without really putting work into the one thing that is most important, which is myself. See what I have learned through finding myself is that happiness steams from within. If you aren’t happy with yourself, how will you ever expect someone else to make you happy? It’s impossible. Self love is one of the greatest things that you can ever have. I haven’t had this for a long time. I went through numerous experiences thinking I was this monster always hurting people in my path and who should have worn a sign around my neck saying CAUTION THIS GIRL IS SELF DESTRUCTIVE. It’s true I was and still am in some ways. I felt like I always needed something in my life that would take all this pain away whether it was alcohol or constant working out till I couldn’t breathe (I know these are complete opposites haha) I essentially wanted to escape all these demons I felt inside of me. See being someone who feels every emotion very deeply its hard to explain to someone who isn’t on the same page. I am drawn to the arts because of just this-it is self expression and a way to get your story or something that inspires you onto paper. I’ve learned so many things about myself within the last year that I think people spend lifetimes trying to figure out. I learned how great I am with communicating how I am feeling. Communication is the key to to avoid any misunderstanding. If you are open and honest with yourself and others they will know exactly where you stand. It also allows for a deeper connection with other people. A lot of people won’t admit it but as humans we desire human interaction so much its what some of us live for (it’s what I live for). It fulfills our need for human belonging which helps us lead a more satisfying life. I remember how I used to be a few years back- walls higher then the sky to protect myself from anything that would cause me to get hurt or to fail. I learned that to have that special connection with someone (whether or not it works out) you have to have an open heart and really let those walls down. Of course you’ll get hurt sometimes its inevitable but sometimes it works out in your favor where that person reciprocates those feelings. It is one of the most amazing things ever and should not be taken for granted. Another thing I learned is how everyone has different needs and in order for any sort of relationship to work you need to understand these needs.You can’t expect someone to read your mind… you need to communicate what you need from a situation(I promise this will help you so much in relationships) A special connection I had with someone who I really care about really helped me understand my needs in a relationship and exactly what I want in a potential relationship, even though this person has probably no idea they did this for me I thank them so much for that. I also learned that people will never intentionally hurt you….they just might be struggling with their own demons and we can’t take things personally and need to treat this people with more kindness, compassion, and understanding because that is really what all of us want. Through numerous experiences I learned this, one situation that stands out to me is recently was at work I had someone yelling at me because I wasn’t fast enough at something or or messed up on a few orders (being a brand new server without experience during a weekend dinner shift I understand how stressful this can be) but I was doing the best I could and in the middle of the yelling and being told how shitty I was I took none of it personally because I knew I was doing the best I possibly could. Old me would have probably quit/made a scene and hurt her back and went home and cried and said how mean she was being and played victim. But who I am now I treated her with kindness knowing she was just stressed and left with my head held high knowing that. Also I learned how important respect is for yourself and for others. It is really so important and should not be taken lightly. People need to learn to respect others I don’t care how much money you make, how famous you are, or how many instagram followers you have if you don’t respect others I won’t respect you. I don’t care if you’re homeless or you are a millionaire I treat everyone with respect and kindness because we are all people and we all are important. Also that failing is inevitable. I used to close myself off to any opportunity because I was too afraid to fail. It really held me back in life and It is something I am continuing to work on. But one thing I do know is that when you fail it makes you so much stronger and that is what I hold onto. It is all about making a negative perceived situation positive in some way.Another important thing is Nobody is perfect we are human and we are ALLOWED to have breakdowns and make mistakes because that is really where we grow and understand ourselves. We aren’t robots and we all have feelings whether or not we are comfortable with actually allowing ourselves to express those. We need to learn to be accepting of others and ourselves for that matter. Lastly I believe it is so important to send out love, kindness, compassion, and understanding into the world. I know I already briefly touched on these subjects but really you don’t know how far some solid eye contact, genuine compliments, compassion, love, and understanding will go to those who are suffering. When you are filled with love it will attract others and make people feel better and that is what I believe I was put on earth to do. What is in your heart is what makes you who you are, I choose happiness/unconditional love over money any day and while on my path to discovering myself I really learned so much about myself and others..a lot more than I could ever learn from sitting in a classroom for 4 years taking notes and tests.