Do you remember a time when you were so convinced that things like money, material belongings, and social status assigned you value as a person? Like you were better or worse because you had 100 friends or two friends or a fancy car or no car at all? These are just a few things that don't determine your worth, no matter what our culture tries to tell you, and no matter what other people say or think.
This is one thing I've made peace with as an adult, and it removed a tremendous amount of stress and worry from my shoulders. I'm happy to admit that I prefer staying home, I hardly drink, I have few friends, and my car is a pile of dented metal and plastic (that still works, I might add!). I'm 28 and engaged and have little interest in wedding planning, my house isn't always clean, and one of my favorite places to be is the gym.
And here's what I've learned over the years: Being a good person comes down to your actions, the things you say and do. Not how big your house is. Not your beat-up car that may or may not work. And not the following nine things.
1How Much Money You Make
I've known people who make millions and people who can't afford a place to live, and I can tell you one thing for certain: It didn't make one bit of difference. People have the free will to decide what kind of human being they're going to be independent of the number on their paycheck. How much or how little you have in your bank account speaks nothing of your actions.
2How Popular You Are On Social Media
Don't you hate when you post a photo on Instagram and it only gets four likes and you're a loser because of it? No? Good. Because that's not a thing. Just like how that girl who posts a picture of her coffee drink and gets 14,000 likes isn't any better than you. While it's an amazing tool that helps bring us together, social media can also be incredibly superficial.
3How Many Friends You Have
I've alternated between knowing hundreds of people, and being able to count the number of friends I have on one hand. Similarly, I know women who need the energy of a lot of people around them, and others who feel more fulfilled when it's just a few select people — or even when they're alone. What matters is what brings you happiness — not the misguided illusion that popularity equals the perfect life.
4How Expensive Your Belongings Are
I've learned that even as an adult, astonishingly, the price tag matters to many. My clothes come from Target and Marshalls and — gasp! — I've at times bought my clothes used. (Ew.) My car is beat up as hell and sounds like an airplane taking off, and I can't immediately afford to decorate the house we bought a few months back. HOW AM I SO HAPPY?
Do you feel good in the clothes you wear? The car you drive? The house that shelters you? Yes? Then we're finished here.
5What You Do For A Living
I live in Las Vegas, and the Strip is obviously dominated by the service industry. You can't live here without knowing countless servers, bartenders, cocktail waitresses, and bar-backs. Some of them make six figures a year. Some, not quite. They still have respectable jobs, just as good as any executive or CEO or manager.
A career is here for two reasons: To make you a decent living, and (like several other things on this list) bring you fulfillment. If we get these two things from our work, we're lucky ducks.
6How Often You Go Out
I'm a homebody. Always have been. Other people need to be social and go out and have their senses stimulated. We're all wired differently. Preferring a night at home with the dogs and a good book over a night at the club (and vice versa) doesn't give you any more or any less worth as a human being.
7Your Relationship Status
Those poor, sad, single people. How do they ever get by? Your life isn't complete without a partner!
Ugh. Gag me. We lose so much sleep over not having found "the one" that we forget life is spectacular regardless of our relationship status. We spend so much time and energy and money into looking for that one person to be our "other half," and if we don't find them, we're not a whole person.
In case you forgot, here's your official reminder: You are whole. You are enough. Single? Stupendous. In a relationship? Fantastic. In a few relationships? Party on. Make good choices and do kind things. Your romantic status speaks nothing of you.
8What Size Clothes You Wear
My legs are long, my hips are wide, and my butt seems to grow by the minute. Other gals are short and slimmer. Some are taller and skinny. Or taller and curvy. Or whatever. The numbers on the tags of the clothes you wear are arbitrary. Who says an eight is an eight or a 10 means you're fat? We assigned the meanings to these numbers; so we have the power to decide that they don't mean anything.
If any kind of number (including the one of the scale) makes you feel like more or less of a person (or if you're using that number to evaluate other people), please remember that labels like "tall," "short," "skinny," and "fat" never relate to labels like "kind," "generous," "supportive," and "friendly." One group of words has nothing to do with the other.
9How Much Time You've Spent Traveling
I didn't get on a plane until I was 17 years old. I didn't leave the country until I was 28. I remember that the "cool" kids in school often took cool trips to cool places like the Bahamas. I never felt cool because we didn't have the funds to do super cool stuff like that. But you know what we did do?
My mom would round up us kids and take us to a nearby hotel for a night. We'd going swimming and go out to dinner and stay up late watching a funny movie. We had a blast and didn't really care that we couldn't afford a big vacation.
Forget your age. Forget your travel agenda. Life is about filling your time with happy moments that bring a smile to your face. Whether that's a trip to Europe or a wine and canvas night makes no difference.