I consider myself to be a mature, responsible, innovative and hard working individual. At age 26, I feel as if I’m exactly where I need to be professionally. Aside from my career, I consider myself to be healthy, in shape, extremely happy in my relationship and truly moved by helping other people.

With all of that self-boasting out of the way (I know you thought it, it’s fine, there’s no shame in my game), there are some things I’ve learned throughout the past few years that come along with practicing and executing these traits.

Some of these learning experiences have brought me copious amount of stress and tears. They have also made me feel as if my situation was unfair or inopportune.

Historically, I’ve tried my best to remain positive and appreciate the process. I do my best to stay focused on the fact that all things in my life, both positive and negative, present themselves for a reason. They are here to teach me, make me stronger and to guide me further in the right direction. More importantly, these things don’t just appear and then disappear, with lessons magically learned. They require a level of calm, strategy and focus that in turn teach us a valuable lesson. We have to put in work in order to learn from our issues (the horror, I know). Here are a few specific things being a hard-working and progressive adult have taught me, that you may benefit from as well:

1. When you have your sh** together, for lack of a better phrase, you will be asked to over compensate for those individuals around you who in fact, do not have their sh** together. You will be asked to ‘cut them some slack, understand their situation and maybe even pick up their slack.’ Don’t do it. Just don’t do it.

2. The cliché phrase known as “haters gonna hate” is unfortunately terribly true. In grown up words, people will not be able to handle your successes. It will annoy them when you talk about it. It will bother them when they see material results of your successes. They will feel uncomfortable when those around you who are in fact happy for you, give you praise for being awesome. Two important things to know here: 1. These people have their own deep-rooted issues that likely started before you and will live long after you. 2. You do not have to fix them. You do not have to wait for them to grow up or be nicer. You do not have to subject yourself to being treated with less respect than you deserve because they have not taken advantage of learning from their own issues. Move on. This is also part of taking responsibility for your own mental health and happiness.

3. At times, things will seem unfair and it will appear as if justice is absent. This can happen in the workplace, in a relationship or in social settings. When you live your life with love, diligence and respect, you are bound to attract more people and opportunities that require and execute those exact characteristics. People who practice the opposite characteristics in their lives, will also attract less desirable situations and less desirable people. It may seem at times, that they have the easy way out or that you are left with more responsibility or work. But please understand that actually, you are being tested in the most beautiful of ways. You are resilient enough to handle and conquer. You win here, not them. Again, this comes with maturity and self-preservation. It takes a strong person to view a weak situation in this manner.

4. The sacrifices you make may seem abundant, but they will always pay off. As a young post-college grad trying really hard to jump-start my career, I sacrificed a lot of time, social events and even material things I wanted to buy in order to achieve my goals. Even though it dwindled at times, a part of me knew, in my heart, I was doing the right thing. Turns out, I was. Trust your gut and know that what you give out to the universe will always come back to you.

5. People will usually try and point out the things you’ve done wrong or could have done differently. Thanks them for their advice and keep going. I can’t tell you how many times my friends asked me why I wasn’t taking time off after college to travel. Why I wasn’t seeing the world while I was young and wild and free. The answer was pretty simple, at least for me. While they were taking years to get serious about a career, I was working on building mine. I knew that if I traveled the country or held random odd jobs, my competition would inevitably beat me out. I knew that if I wanted nice things later in life, I had to work my butt off now. I’ve always been competitive, and if you’re anything like me, you don’t wait around for other people to take your position or promotion. Especially not for a bonfire in Brasil.

I am so thankful that I trusted my own hopes for the process. Today, many of these same people are struggling to not only make the money they want to make, but find the job they love. I am able to travel when I want, where I want and for however long I want. It was all a timing thing for me, and one that I’d never revise.

Everyone has their own way of doing things. Yours will inevitably differ from the paths others choose to take. Own yours with pride and dignity and execute on it 100%.

I could be Captain Obvious and tell you that as you get older, you acquire more responsibility, have more bills to pay and will likely have to deal with ‘politics’ of some sort. Instead, I’ll tell you this: Don’t let others bring you down. Work as hard as you can. Do everything with love. Always stand up for yourself as a working person and as a human being. Cheers to the wonderful people who have made us stronger (and the rotten ones we laugh at today).

This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post