By Kristen Donia —

From social media to Netflix, to ads in magazines, we are constantly taking in an abundance of information. As humans living in such a tech-heavy society, we take in thousands of messages every day from various sources. This can make it difficult to find your true sense of self. Targeted marketing shows us exactly what we want to see, based on our alleged interests. Buy this contouring palette, watch this show, follow this person. It can be totally overwhelming.

Growing into ourselves is a beautiful process that presents lifelong challenges because getting to know ourselves is just that, an ongoing process. Our attitudes about everything change as we live day to day in the world, learning more about what brings us joy. In addition to our own growth, when you throw other people’s ideas of what we should be into the mix, it’s enough to drive you crazy! Parents help guide us, siblings shape us, and friends help teach us about the world.

Sometimes it can feel like you blink and something you used to love doing with your friends is just so last year. It can be hard growing alongside someone whose interests change just as much as yours do. And everyone’s are – ALL THE TIME. All the while you are making big decisions about school, hobbies, sports, sexuality, drugs, alcohol and so much more. What’s the most important thing you can do? Do what feels right for you.

When considering what‘s in your best interests, it can be helpful to ask yourself a few questions.

Are the choices you’re making in alignment with what you want for your future? The decisions you make now can have a profound impact on your life.

Consider your gut-reaction. How does thinking about this thought, person, or decision, make you feel? Do what feels good inside.

If someone is pressuring you to do something you’re uncomfortable with, be it drugs, sex, alcohol, or anything else, how “friendly” is that? Does that person really care about what YOU want? Do they have their own agenda?

Sometimes, life is a little bit more complicated than a simple yes or no. Here are some tips for what to do when you just aren’t sure.

Journal. Writing down your thoughts in a notebook or the notepad on your phone can be a great way to process how you are feeling. Don’t worry about punctuation or spelling or even if you are making sense. The most important part is that you’re not censoring your thoughts. This is a quick way to unload everything and really get to the bottom of how you feel about the situation or person. Sometimes, this may be enough, and you get to the root of your feelings quickly. Other times, you may revisit and write more on the subject.

This may be a tough one but, friends are not forever. Some will stay and some will go, and some departures will be harder than you imagined. Just remember that being you is the most important thing you can do in this life. No one should make you question yourself or make you feel bad about any choice that you make if it feels right to you.

We make countless decisions every day, some insignificant and some that determine our path in life. Choose wisely and be mindful of the people you surround yourself with. They should want the best for you, just like you do. No matter what happens, just remember to be true to yourself. If you do that, everything you do will be filled with awesome lessons and make for a beautiful journey in this thing called life.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you feel unsafe, or don’t know what to do and need someone to talk to, call 2-1-1 or visit  This is a community resource that offers help and assistance. This is a Program of Crisis Support Network.