“1) Life will never be a linear pathway.
You can have a concrete roadmap, but life won’t always co-ordinate with your own design. A sign of strength is the ability to rise up from the ashes with your head held high, ready to tackle the next challenge. Any form of success entails failing and hard work so don’t let obstacles deter you. Things won’t be handed on a silver platter but that’s what makes the successes so worth it: you’ve felt the pain and you know that stumbles are not forever, they’re leading you to better horizons.
2) Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith.
If you’re scared or feel unprepared, take a chance on yourself anyway! We are always waiting for the perfect moment to start something, we tell ourselves if only we had x, y, z. But the truth is that’s fear talking. Be brave in taking risks and the rewards will also surprise you. Embrace the unknown, but have confidence that you will succeed. I opened an Instagram account, not knowing if anyone would read it. Mental health is so stimgatised and I wanted to create the space for people to openly discuss their struggles, so they wouldn’t feel so alone. Now it’s grown close to one million followers and become a leading destination for people who seek solace from the difficulties of reality.
3) We all feel insecure, but that’s often rooted in our fear of rejection.
When insecurity rises in me, I remind myself that perfection is an unrealistic standard to aspire to and I am doing the best I can. Learning, growing, and changing is all part of being human! So when you’re burdened by self-doubt, ask yourself: Is this because of other people’s opinions or will this truly matter decades from now? I find this question generally resolves my stresses, as I know some of my concerns don’t hold significance in the bigger picture.
4) Freedom comes from determining our own values.
Break free from the external constraints that dictate how we should be. Our self worth is not rooted in our appearance or success; it’s embracing our humanity. We should measure our lives based on the ideals that compel and appeal to us, not socially-constructed narratives imposed on us.
5) Acknowledge the efforts and accomplishments in your life, no matter how big or small.
When you reflect on how far you have come and the valleys you have travelled through, you will realise that your strength is far greater than any small imperfection you dislike.
6) In order to achieve our personal definition of success, we need to be authentic.
Putting up a veneer and pretending to be someone we’re not (just to please others), impedes our ability to form genuine connections. And the success you achieve will never be fulfilling because you’re not aligning this with your true values. So don’t be afraid to live boldly and shine with your quirks.
7) We need to embrace our natural selves.
This doesn’t mean you can’t wear makeup! I feel beautiful regardless of whether I spend as little or long as possible getting ready, because it’s a form of self-expression at that point in time, not because I feel like I have to look a certain way. As an ambassador for The Body Shop, I appreciate their message of embracing your individual quirks and using cosmetics to enhance your beauty and not mask who you are. Their products are lightweight and perfect for the no-makeup makeup look, and should you wish, they’re easy to tailor for a glam goddess feel.
Ultimately, one thing I have learnt from living through two wars and travelling the world, is that despite the different cultures, traditions, and languages, every human suffers. The universal human emotions of pain, anger, joy, and struggles of building healthy relationships resonate with us all. Never lose perspective of the big picture and remember that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to ask for help! There are lessons in the moments of despair and an opportunity to accelerate our personal growth.”
Story by Kristina Zhou. Holding Shot and images from @millennial.therapist.