I used to wonder why people were so hardened by failure. Then I grew up. I realized that society actively works against the psyche of those who are less than perfect. And being human, we get caught up in the hype.

Most of us wake up everyday with the best intentions—  ready to start the day and take on the world. Unfortunately, when the end game is survival, the competition is fierce. The sad reality of clawing to the top means that people love to remind you of your shortcomings. Slowly but surely it ignites the self-loathing potential that we all possess.

We were taught as kids that success means that you meet these markers of validation: a college degree, getting married, having a great job, owning a home, having kids and of course lots of disposable income. For many millennials, these markers are coming more slowly or not at all. The pressure to meet this standard is sending many of us into a quarter life crisis.

What society purposely ignores in this equation, is life. Life will test you in every way imaginable. It is extremely unpredictable and anything can change the course of your life in an instant. It is a guarantee that you may end up broken, helpless or discouraged at some point.

You are more resilient than the feelings of self deprecation occupying your mind. They are temporary. If others are feeding into your insecurities, find the cord that connects you and cut it. The only thing worse than perpetuating your own negative feelings is having another person cosign them.

That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t feel your feelings. I believe that experiencing hardships in life make us better people. Going through trying times makes us more empathetic and dynamic. Learning how to navigate the little battles eventually prepares us for the long journey ahead. Everyone has obstacles that derail them and force them to reclaim control. This is when you should trade your vulnerability for strength.   

The goals that you claim need to be your own. Focusing on the pressure to meet milestones because your parents are pressuring you or because you want to compete with your friend’s instagram life is unrealistic. Finding the strength to move forward is easier when you are fighting for something you actually want. There is a reason why self help books emphasize setting small achievable goals. Achieving something reminds us of our power and purpose.

The mind is the most powerful thing you own. It’s time to let it work for you, not against you.