5. It’s Okay To Ask For Help
In the pages of my journals, I detailed a long-held resistance to asking for help, from wavering over seeking counseling for my anxiety to agonizing about attending office hours for help on papers and projects. I viewed asking for any type of help as a sign of weakness, a detriment to my strength, capability, and independence.
Once I swallowed my pride and learned to accept help, I discovered the key to becoming my best self. Although asking for help is still a challenge for me, I am more willing to seek out assistance from others because I know that no one can flourish alone.
Asking for help never reflects poorly on you, and it exemplifies more strength than charging ahead on your own. Once you learn to seek out help in the face of difficulty, you will find yourself blossoming in ways you never could on your own.
6. Battling Mental Illness Is Never A Cause For Shame
Until my senior year of college, I confined my struggles with anxiety, depression, and disordered eating to the privacy of my journals. I worried that if anyone discovered that I was battling mental illness, they would constantly view me through a lens tainted by derision and incapability.
When a severe panic attack prompted me to disclose my mental illness to my friends, I discovered a world of kindness, care, and acceptance I never could have imagined. In turn, I discovered that many of my friends battled mental illness as well, which drew us closer and strengthened our bonds.
The stigma surrounding mental illness is powerful, and the shame you feel about your mental health may be consuming, but it is no match for the kindness and understanding you will receive when you share your experiences with mental illness. You will discover that there is no shame in being ill and realize just how many people struggle alongside you.
7. Don’t Rule Any Career Paths Out Completely
The class that required that I journal was on helping relationships, and pages upon pages of my first journal contained pure disbelief that I could ever pursue a “helping profession.” As a shy aspiring attorney in a sea of people-oriented future psychologists, I constantly felt that my classmates were significantly better-suited than I to helping others navigate their problems.
Now, three years later, I no longer believe that I am incapable of pursuing a helping profession. In my 10 months as a respite care worker, I have had to listen carefully, show unconditional empathy, and exercise every skill I honed three years before. I unexpectedly fell into a helping profession, and it’s revealed that I should never rule out any career.
Never limit your career possibilities based on your negatively-tinted perceptions of your skills and abilities. You could find your career trajectory branching out in an unexpected, promising direction, as long as you believe that you are just as capable as your peers.
8. There’s More To Life Than Accolades and Recognition
Throughout my time journaling, I had a singular goal, a pervasive obsession that nearly tore me apart: Graduating from college Summa Cum Laude and with University Honors in just three years. The amount of space I devoted to recounting my fears that my ultimate goal would never come to fruition is absolutely staggering. My worth was solely tied to academic recognition, and I could never seem to fully untie that knot.
Nearly two years ago, I graduated Summa Cum Laude and with University Honors after just three years of college, and now, I can definitely say that it wasn’t worth the stress and strife I experienced. The joy I experienced upon meeting my goal lasted mere seconds, and in the years since, I have never defined myself by the honors I received or by my early graduation.
Recognition may make you feel powerful, competent, and worthy, but tying your self-worth exclusively to accolades will destroy your self-esteem. Employers won’t care whether your GPA is a 3.5 or a 3.85, and neither should you, because obsessing over recognition from others will shatter you. You worth should come from within, not from external validation that you are intelligent and capable.