7 Hard Pills to Swallow

Maybe it’s that my 20th birthday was last weekend. Maybe it’s that I’ve seen some real audacity the past couple weeks. Maybe it’s that winter quarter has sucked. Either way, the past couple weeks, I’ve come face-to-face with some hard pills to swallow and found myself getting more and more annoyed with people who refused to swallow those pills. The bottom line is we’re all adults, and it’s time we deal with what’s in front of us.


Hating things doesn’t make you cool. Whether it’s rap music, Twilight, Nickelback, A24 movies, Milk and Honey, or literally anything else, hating things doesn’t make you cool. Especially if someone around you is expressing their love or interest in something, you expressing how much you hate said thing is just about the worst thing you can do in that situation. It just makes you a jerk. Now everyone around you is annoyed with you, the person who was talking might be embarrassed, and no one wants to be around you anymore. Seriously, what is gained from explicitly hating on anything? You know what would make the most sense if you really hate something? Don’t talk about it! It’s really that easy.


Sub-posting is lame and immature. Whether it’s on Twitter or your finsta, if you have something to say to someone, say it to their face. Hiding behind a screen is one of the most immature things I can think of, and more often than not, whatever is being said is so explicitly about one person, you might as well just say it directly to them. What’s the point of sub-posting? If you really want to say something bad about someone, grow up and say it to their face. And while we’re on the topic of social media…


Oversharing online doesn’t equate to human interaction. We’ve all seen it. Someone broadcasts whatever breakdown they’ve having on their Twitter or finsta. Maybe you know them. Maybe you reach out, ask them if they’re okay (knowing they aren’t). Then you get the Cursed Text Message: “Everything’s fine! :)” Obviously everything is not fine if you’re posting videos of you crying and talking about how much you hate your life online. A big reason we have friends is so that when we’re feeling down, we can talk to them and work through it instead of bottling it up until we explode. Next time you want to post something way too personal online, ask yourself if having a conversation with a good friend will make you feel better (if the answer is no, make better friends). Actual human interaction will allow you to process what you’re going through in a healthy way, overcome it, and move on. You’d do that for your friends, wouldn’t you? (If the answer is no, your friends should make better friends).


Representation is always good and it doesn’t always have to be the focus of a story. The real world is a diverse place, and the media we consume should reflect that. Someone’s gender/sexual/racial/religious/etc. identity is never their only identity. We all hold many identities that come together to make us unique. So it’s okay for a Muslim, black, queer, etc. person to be part of a story―whether it be a movie, television show, novel, or any other form of media―but not the main focus of the story. Giving minorities their own stories is important, but it is equally important to have diversity in every story. Accurate representation is always good, even if the story doesn’t revolve around around someone who holds or is struggling with a particular identity.


Mind your own damn business. I get it, okay? We’ve all been there before. Your ex’s profile pops up on Instagram. You stumble upon that person who you really don’t like in your ethics class’ Twitter. You think to yourself, “What’s the harm in looking at one post?” Before you know it, you’ve lurked yourself into a bad mood. I know way too many people (including myself) who regularly check on someone’s Instagram when we know we shouldn’t, and then we’re surprised when we find something we don’t like and make ourselves mad. The solution is simple: Mind your own business! It took me a while to grow out of my bad habit of lurking, but if I can do it, trust me, you can, too. Life is so much easier when you’re not constantly checking in on someone you claim you don’t care about, and it’s a sign of growth and maturity.


Sometimes you are the toxic person who needs to be cut out. Everyone deserves to have good friends. Sometimes friendships start out strong, but through no one’s fault, fizzle out. Sometimes one person changes too much. Sometimes you recognize the toxic traits someone has that you didn’t originally recognize as toxic. Sometimes you are the one with the toxic traits, and sometimes you will be cut out of someone’s life because of it. This can be tricky, because it’s not always that you are toxic, it’s that you are toxic to someone else (or vice versa). Maybe you bring out the worst in them. Regardless of the situation, it’s an opportunity for you to grow. Don’t ignore it or write them off as delusional if you’re cut out of someone’s life for being toxic. Examine how you live your life. Are you the healthiest you can be? Are you the nicest you can be? Do you bring happiness into the lives of your friends? It can be a rude awakening, but use the opportunity to bring some positive change into your life.


Change will only happen if you make it happen. Every single person I know has fallen victim to this at some point. You’re unhappy with something in your life, and you keep telling yourself that once it resolves itself, things will get better. But what are you doing to expedite the process? Even if it’s an external problem, there are things you can do to make it better for yourself. You’ll rarely be able to fix the entire problem in a day―otherwise you wouldn’t be so unhappy―but you can do things, even if they’re little things, every day to improve your mood if nothing else. But you do have to do something to help yourself. Change will only happen if you actively put forth the effort to make it happen. You’re not a tree. If you don’t like where you are, move.

I’ll be the first to admit these are all hard pills I’ve had to swallow, some during my early high school experience, some during my time in college. It’s difficult to accept these things, but it’s part of growing up, and it’s important that we’re willing to be flexible and actually listen and learn rather than simply hear and look. Maybe you needed to hear some of these, maybe you just reflected on some lessons you’ve already learned. The goal here is not to tear ourselves apart looking for flaws or things to change, it’s to be reflective and to grow. Some of these pills will need to be swallowed more than once for the lesson to really stick, but even if this is the case, an effort is being made. I wish us all luck on swallowing these difficult pills, and I hope we can all learn to reflect on these lessons.