By Claudia Lee

1. You understand that every relationship is a give and take — you can’t be selfish and it’s not all about you.

2. You do favors out of kindness. There’s no need to be paid back and you don’t keep track of favors. Helping someone out gives you a good enough feeling.

3. You take other people’s feelings into consideration. Your thought process goes something along the lines of, “If I do/say this, then this will happen…”

4. You think thoroughly about the possible outcomes of a situation, which makes you less impulsive.

5. You understand the right decisions aren’t always the easiest.

6. You gracefully let go of the things out of your control and not meant for you. Could be an old love, a haunting past, a regretful mistake.

7. You appreciate your parents more for everything they’ve done. Car insurance, food on the table, a warm bed.

8. You realize how expensive life is and value the hard work behind earning money. You don’t spend recklessly and you learn to save.

9. You learn self-respect, self-worth, and gain confidence that cannot be faked. You don’t seek validation through others anymore, and you’re comfortable in your own skin because you realize that, hey, this is who I am and I can’t change that, so I might as well use what I have and make it great.

10. You know where your priorities lie and have plans for the future mapped out in your head. They don’t have to be in immense detail, but you still have an idea, which means you’re headed in the right direction.

11. You reflect on your character and how you treat others.

12. You realize that your mini-crises are not as big of a deal as you think and they’re definitely fixable as long as you put your mind to it. You control your negative thoughts and try to look at the positive side of things. You take a “metaminute,” which is closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing to calm yourself down.

13. You never take things or people for granted; you’re very appreciative. You often tell your friends and family how much you love them. Sometimes it’s not directly. It’s sometimes saying “you brighten up my day,” “you are so funny,” or “thanks for hanging out, I had a fun time.”

14. You are honest without being mean. You tell people how you feel and you’re straight up about it.

15. You don’t suffer from FOMO anymore; you enjoy solitude sometimes to be with your thoughts.

16. You pick and choose your battles—some things are not worth fighting or stressing over, some are.

17. You know when to just let the other person “win” the argument. You let them get the last word because you understand that it’s futile to try and convince them otherwise.

18. You are able to see your faults and admit you’re wrong. You’re not afraid to apologize, because we are all human and could use some improvement.

19. You understand that hard work doesn’t always pay off but you keep trying anyway because you know the kind of person it makes you is more important.

20. You are satisfied with your life, flaws and everything, and don’t try to compare it to other people’s lives.

21. You don’t make harsh judgments. You understand everyone is different and going through their own difficulties.

22. You stand up for what you believe in no matter what others may think. If someone is rude or says something morally unjust, you say something. It doesn’t matter if it makes others uncomfortable.

23. You don’t constantly need attention to feel valued. You like yourself enough to know that you’re smart, or beautiful, or funny. You don’t need those comments on Instagram from your girlfriends that cheer you on on your appearance. You don’t need to be dating someone who strokes your ego. Sure, it’s all nice, but in the end even if such things were missing you’d be just fine.

24. You understand that what you want may not be what you need. This is learning to control your impulses and looking at the bigger picture of things.

25. You know that your idealized notions are not reality and, most of the time, are better kept in your head. Life isn’t a Hollywood movie. We can’t shape our reality when other people are involved because we can’t force others to feel a certain way or do certain things.

26. You know that life, one way or another, always works itself out. We often try to plan our futures out bit by bit with teaspoons, but we can’t possibly predict everything that will happen. The universe has a funny way of getting involved, so it’s best to just keep a positive attitude and let things unfold organically. As my friend says, “You plan, God laughs.”

27. You understand the statement “patience is a virtue” on a whole new level. Life is all about waiting. Waiting for those college admission letters. Waiting for the sweat and work you put in to show when it counts. Waiting for the right person. Waiting for a new beginning. Waiting for the seasons to change. Waiting to see progress.

28. You know that people change. Friends change. Just because they’ve been your best friend for years doesn’t mean it’s meant to be a friendship forever. Interests and priorities don’t match up anymore, and as sad and inevitable as that sounds, such is life. You take what you’ve learned from these relationships and create better ones.

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