Today as I turn 19, I look back at all the past years and I’m honestly crying at how far I’ve come as a person. Last year I took the biggest step of my life when I decided to move out of my parents house and attend University in another city. I thought I had it all figured out and thought “what bad could  possibly happen, I finished high school just fine so I should be able to do university too!”. As I was leaving my parents house, mom only said one thing to me. It was more like a prayer. She prayed and told me to do the same whenever I could. She said, “I pray to God that he removes all enemies from your life”. At first, I was like “Woah, this is so intense mom how could I have enemies in my life?,  I don’t think I’ve done any bad to anyone on purpose.”

Once I started living on my own it wasn’t the “adult” stressors that got me thinking about my life choices, it wasn’t the bills or taxes. What in the end really got to me was the struggles associated with keeping up with friends who don’t appreciate my success. I know you might be thinking,  “why would you stay friends with people who bring you down?” but here’s the thing, letting go isn’t as easy as it might sound. There are so many people in this world who don’t have the courage to let go of their friends because of all the sacrifices they’ve already made for that friendship. Letting go in light of these factors becomes admitting to the fact that you just wasted your time and energy in a relationship that has now failed. In my case, I would always think “I’ve been so supportive of my friends why can’t they be that way towards me?”. I would always ask myself this but never really made the effort to cut those relationships. After a year of struggling with the stupidest and most disturbingly eventful year of my life I was finally able to understand my mom’s prayer for me. It was her prayer and God all along. God was showing me that there are better things/people out there for me and that I had to let go of the things I couldn’t change in order to take hold of the better things he had for me.

I was the type of person who would put others ahead of me even if it meant that I would be hurting in the process. Yes, it’s considered “nice” to be like that but is it really worth being “nice” when you yourself start getting hurt? Is that level of self-sacrifice really worth the effort specially if it’s not reciprocated to some extent? What I’m trying to say is that it’s ok to start looking out for yourself.  If you put a thought on it even for a minute, you’ll l be able to figure out the root causes of some of your stress and problems. Emotions play a very big factor in our lives and it’s good to keep in mind that you have to work at being at peace mentally just as you would work on being physically fit.

Toxic friendships take a toll on your mental health and that’s no joking matter. It can effect various areas of your life including your; studies, your relationships with people who ACTUALLY care about you as well as your whole career if things get out of hand. So what am I trying to say? Well, here it is….take the time and think to yourself “is it worth it?” Are the friendships in your life worth losing your whole passion for your career/studies/parents etc over? Are friendships that don’t even give you peace back really worth it?

My 18th year of life didn’t really have a good start but it certain has had a good ending because I learned so much in that year. Yes, it has been the year where I struggled the most, lost the most and cried the most but this has also been the year where I learnt the most, loved myself the most, found out about what’s better for myself. 

I wanted to write something about friendship because now a days more of us teenagers rely completely on our friendships. People change their whole careers not beacause they’re passionate about it but sometimes because they just want to be with their friends to that extent. Wake up! Look around! Does the person you’re willing to make such sacrifices for even want that? Are they really someone you can count on?  Sorround yourself with people who know your true passion and direct you towards it. Those who love and care for you will not just want to keep you to themselves but rather expose you to all the possibilies out in the world while cheering you on consistently…..Those are the people you should have as your clan! Please look out for yourself and know that it’s ok to prioritize yourself when needed! In the words of my mother,  “I pray to God that he removes all enemies from your life”.

-Neha Aziz

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