Youth can be both a gift and a curse. In our youthful days, most of us are in good health with endless opportunities before us. But this season of life is also a time in which we make mistakes–sometimes really big ones that can lead us down the wrong paths. Even more, our decision-making abilities are not quite up to par, and it’s easy to be led astray by bad influences, impulsiveness, and a sense of invincibility.
But there’s good news: You have plenty of time to get back on the right track and still have a wonderful life. Your body and soul are very resilient, and you have so much power to set things straight.
Here are just a few ways to become happier, healthier, and more loving toward yourself.
Realize You Deserve God’s Goodness
On a conscious level, the idea that we don’t think we deserve God’s goodness in our lives doesn’t make much sense. But, on a subconscious level, where all sorts of memories, wacky beliefs, and other information we have picked up and processed over the years resides, the story is much different.
Whether it was abusive parents, embarrassing moments, being picked on, or other negative experiences, at some point you might’ve picked up a belief that you don’t deserve happiness. If you believed those things, you never would’ve made the decisions that have caused so much pain, whether it’s a drug addiction, being in an abusive relationship, or any other choice that is severely impacting your life in a negative way. You may have even made mistakes and believed you deserved punishment for them.
But, you do deserve God’s goodness. Choose joy.
Start Getting the Help You Need
Whatever it is you’re dealing with, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to make lasting positive changes more successfully with proper support. Embarrassment about our problems, and/or a sense of pride may make us reluctant to reach out to people who can truly assist us. Be willing to put all that aside. Getting help is not a sign of weakness, rather it is a sign of strength. The human experience is a difficult one, and you’re not alone in your struggles. There are people who understand, and may have gone through the same thing.
If you have an addiction that’s out of control, or you sense it is reaching that level, start researching young adult addiction programs. Going to programs that cater to a specific group of people are usually most effective because they focus on the issues that are most relevant and use the treatments that are the most effective for the addiction. If you’re in need of spiritual nourishment, go to your place of worship and talk with a pastor or ministry leader—they can give an interesting perspective that can strengthen your resolve and help you live a life of purpose. If you’re having problems coping with a problem from your past or just daily living, a therapist can be a good neutral party who can give you unbiased advice and actionable strategies for changing your behaviors and thought patterns.
Accept God’s Forgiveness, Forgive Yourself, and Be Forgiving During the Process of Change
To really turn things around, we must first embrace God’s forgiveness. Then we must be willing to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made, including how we’ve hurt ourselves and others. You have to give yourself permission to go after a better life and to right the wrongs. Forgiveness is a crucial step in that process. You also have to be willing to forgive yourself for any ways you’ve stumbled on this journey of change. The habits, behaviors, beliefs, and thought patterns that led you down a troubled road were built up over a period of years, and it can take a bit to shake them loose and allow positive ones take their place.
Remember: You won’t change overnight, and sometimes you may be taking one step forward, only to take two back. And that’s OK. It doesn’t mean you’re incapable of change. Have some compassion for yourself.
Rachel Matthews is a freelance writer with a background in business who’s been relying on her entrepreneurial skill set since she was in high school.