1. I learned how truly important it is to be kind.
When I was younger, I definitely let my emotions control the way I responded to certain situations. Recently, I realized that retaliating through selfish impulses does nothing but make a situation worse. I also never feel better when I treat others badly, though they may treat me that way. Choosing kindness over anger can free us from what could potentially damage a relationship.
2. I learned how important it is to love others, even when they hurt us.
As humans, we tend to rely on our own understanding and perspectives. We can easily forget that others may be going through things that we know nothing about. Typically, if someone is acting out of the ordinary or in a way that is extremely negative, it is a sign that something is going on with them on the inside.
It is crucial that we set our personal feelings aside and forgive -- not only because that is what that person needs more than anything, but also because forgiveness and love can heal almost any situation.
3. I learned not to take things personally.
When things go wrong, the first person that I used to blame was myself. When other people were upset, I would think that I had done something wrong or that I was responsible for helping them feel better.
At the end of the day, I can only be responsible for myself. If I am in a situation where someone is making me feel a certain way even though I have done nothing wrong, I must remove myself from it, at least temporarily. By taking a step back to reflect on a situation, I can prevent a lot of unnecessary angst.
4. I learned that I must enjoy life’s journey to the fullest.
In my experience of finding happiness, I have come to realize that we grow through what we go through. Every day is another page in our book. Even the parts of our journey that are difficult play a significant role in helping us realize who we are.
5. I learned that it is important to stand up for what is right even when no one else is doing it.
Even when we are standing alone, doing the right thing is still rewarding. It may not happen immediately, but over time, we can see that making the right choices builds us into strong, dependable people who can change the world for the better.
My name is Anne Demarest. I am 21 years old and a senior at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa. My major is Fashion Merchandising, and I am currently finishing up a minor in Communications. I care deeply about making a positive change in the world, and am very passionate about mental health. My fun fact is that I dream of being a motivational speaker to help others realize their potential and inner beauty.