50 Reasons to Smile Even When Life Feels Hard

Itxy Lopez

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Stressed. Overwhelmed. Worried. Most of us find ourselves in these positions more often than we wish. Life feels more blocked and heavy than free and light because our worries and insecurities eat away at us.

Now and then, we all need the reassurance that we’re aren’t doing life wrong. Here are 50 reminders for anyone who feels a little lost.

1. Don’t worry about what you don’t understand yet, like personal finance or how your iPhone camera works. You might feel like you need to understand it all right now, but you don’t. You have time to figure it out, and you will.

2. Don’t worry about how “far ahead” your friends are. You’re exactly where you need to be. If you don’t believe me, look back in a few months and you’ll see that everything turned out better than you thought.

3. No one actually cares. No one cares that you’re wearing pajamas, dropped out of school, or about the pimple on your forehead. They’re too busy worrying about their pimples.

4. You are loved. By your parents, your favorite aunt, your best friend, your partner, your friends across the world, your dog, your siblings, even the mailman you greet in the mornings.

5. “Everything is figureoutable,” says Marie Forleo. From the song you’re learning on the guitar to the business you’re building. Show up, and inevitably, you’ll find the answer.

6. You’re doing better than you think. Look at everything you have and the people you love, and for a moment, imagine it’s all you’ll ever need.

7. Your friend doesn’t hate you because she didn’t reply to your text. Her brother showed up unexpectedly. Or she decided to go on a spontaneous vacation. Or maybe she’s tired and didn’t feel like texting. But she still loves you.

8. Don’t stress because you haven’t reached your goals. Especially if you’re in your 20s. Or 40s. Or 60s. You’ve already achieved so much, and as long as you wake up every day, you’ll accomplish more.

9. Sometimes life solves itself. Instead of trying to fix your problem, let it go. Stop trying to “hack” it, and let time heal you naturally.

10. You’re not falling behind because you haven’t: kissed anyone. Had sex. Fallen in love. Dated. Gotten Married. Had a kid.

11. The stuff you see on social media isn’t real. The perfect people are all angles and lighting and makeup. The person traveling the world is having fun, but even they think their life is imperfect. We’re all envious of people who are also envious of other people. So don’t be friggin’ jealous.

12. You haven’t failed. And I mean, at all. You might feel like it because you made a few mistakes, but you’re still here, willing to give it another go. That’s what a winner looks like.

13. Just eat the slice of cake. Eat the Twix. Pour the hazelnut creamer into the coffee. Make those fudge brownies.

14. No one’s life is perfect. Even the celebrities’ lives. They get to make millions and have just as many followers on social media, but life is a lot bigger than money and status. They’re humans, not gods. They have as many problems as the rest of us.

15. Stop wishing for a life you don’t even want. Do you really want to be famous and get dressed up for red carpets? Do you really want an expensive car? Sometimes we get jealous of lives we don’t have just because we don’t have them. But do you really want them?

16. No, you can’t read all the books on your Goodreads profile, but you can read the one on your nightstand. You can’t watch every TV show, but you can enjoy the one you’re watching right now.

17. You’re probably just tired. Whatever stress you feel, whatever mood you’re in, you probably just need some extra hours of sleep. Or a long nap.

18. Sometimes you don’t get what you want for your own good. Maybe you’re not ready to pay for your dream house or to handle a bigger paycheck. I know your heart hurts, but you’ll find the right person to mend it. Your struggles are a beginning, not an end.

19. You’re allowed to be sad whenever you want. You don’t have to be positive and happy all the time. You don’t need to be perfectly productive. You can be messy and human and emotional.

20. You’re never alone — even if you feel lonely. Sometimes we forget that all we have to do is grab our phones and make plans to see a friend, or call Mom.

21. It’s not going to kill you. Most worries about dying in certain ways are in your head. (Trust me, I’ve thought just about all of them. I’m still here.)

22. Worse comes to worst, watch a Pixar film. Or play your “Feel Good” playlist. It’ll make you feel better, or give you hope, or offer you time to think and come up with an answer. Sometimes solutions are closer than you think.

23. People think about you. Old friends from high school, your parents, that one stranger you helped in the parking lot. You were a random act of kindness. An old love. A trustworthy person. And for that, people don’t forget you.

24. Friendships fade. It’s not your fault. But it’s not the other person’s fault either. You lived a good life together, but it’s time to grow — not fall — apart. You’re not unlovable. This is just life.

25. You look perfect. I mean that. Because ‘perfect’ means something different to everyone. So you can decide you look pretty damn amazing just the way you are.

26. You’re not the worst person in the world. Not because you yelled, broke someone’s heart, or crashed your dad’s car. You messed up. You should apologize. Fix it. Show them you care. But you’re not a bad person — you just had a bad moment.

27. The fear is in your head. The person that says you can’t do it is one tiny part of you. You can ignore them even when it’s hard. Just say no, and do it anyway.

28. You don’t need to earn a break. Don’t wait until you’re exhausted to take the night off. You can work, feel happy and fulfilled about it, and still take a break. You can rest once a week not because you need it but because it’s good for you.

29. Work doesn’t have to be your life. You can be productive for five hours and still go out with your friends. You can invest money in your business and go to a movie. You can’t and shouldn’t pick one. Life is a 3D experience.

30. No one cares about what you love — at least, not if you’ve graduated from high school and have mature friends. You prefer YA over adult novels? Cool. You like to dance even though you suck at it? Then keep dancing.

31. People love you exactly as you are. Even though you talk a lot. Even though you’re loud. Even though your outfit is weird. Even though their favorite book is your least favorite.

32. You’ve got so much worth. It’s easy to feel useless, but you helped your daughter get dressed today, you fed your dog, you smiled at a stranger, and you read someone’s article. These are your mini purposes. They count.

33. You’re not stupid. Not because you didn’t go to college. Not because you don’t understand exactly what’s going on in the world of politics. Not because you forgot what 9 x 6 was. You’re super smart — just not in all areas. But guess what? Neither are the rest of us.

34. You will have a legacy. Maybe it won’t be huge. More people will remember Obama than they do you, but you will be remembered. Your kids, your friends, their kids, that stranger you helped will remember you. In some way or another, there’s proof of your existence.

35. Life has so much to offer. Maybe life feels kind of boring right now, but there are so many exciting things coming soon to theaters near you. The best is yet to come.

36. You’re allowed to create for the sake of creating. You can color, or paint, or write a song, or make a t-shirt just because you want to. Not everything has to be about money.

37. Kind people still exist. A few days ago I tweeted that I wanted some nail polish that costs more than I was willing to spend. I joked about it, but a fellow writer, Kelly Eden, reached out and offered to buy it for me. It was a heart-warming reminder, knowing that kind people are everywhere.

38. More friends will come along. Weird friends. Funny ones. People in different countries. Your own child. Friends you connect with instantly. Soulmates. Best friends.

39. There are so many random, beautiful things to see. Like a balloon, floating high in the sky. Or two toddlers who don’t know each other, giving each other flowers found in the grass. Or a big moon that you’re sure you could touch if you just stretched a little higher.

40. The sun does wonders. Hikes in nature and walks around the block. Bike rides at the beach. Get fresh air, and it’ll make a difference.

41. There are people who are excited to see you. People who’d say yes in an instant if you asked to go to lunch. Kids who love you, their favorite aunt. Friends whose hearts grow three sizes when they think about seeing your face.

42. Life is unpredictable. Maybe that’s scary, but it can also be exciting. You might fall in love with someone who lives in a different country. You might find your best friend at twenty-five, ten years after everyone else. You might find $20 on the floor.

43. Nothing you love is a waste of time. Not reading. Not building puzzles. Not watching your favorite vlogger. If you love it, do it for you. That’s enough.

44. There are so many adventures to have — and you will have them. Places to travel to, even if they’re in your city. New restaurants to eat at. Books to escape in.

45. Self-care is not selfish. So many people still feel guilty for taking care of themselves. It’s not about deserving it (although you do) but necessity: say no when you don’t have time. Be honest when it’s hard. Take a break if you need it.

46. You’re not going to fall apart. Sometimes I feel like my mind is going to explode because life feels extra hard. When this happens, I take a step back and see my life as it really is, and I say: I’m alive. I’ve got time. Everything is okay. It makes it easier to breathe.

47. When you’re stressed, write it down. If you’ve got too many feelings swirling inside you like a Cinnabon, start journaling. Writing is healing.

48. Love the easy moments extra hard. When you’re at the park, laying on a blanket, and staring at the sun through the leaves. When you laugh so hard you struggle to breathe. When you run around with your kids like you haven’t aged at all. Be there. Feel it.

49. There’s no reason why you can’t. Even though following your dream feels difficult or impossible, there’s no reason why you can’t do it. Especially if someone else did it before you. All it takes is some talent, practice, and time.

50. Take a breath. Soak it all in. Life is hard sometimes, but it’s also beautiful. You make it beautiful. So for a minute, stop worrying. Stop stressing. Stop ruminating. Remember how lucky you are to be alive and to get to live.

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San Diego County, CA
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