Brittany Krystantos’ 11 Tips for Finding Yourself
When Brittany Krystantos was a kid, she didn’t speak to anyone but her parents until age seven. But now she’s an 18-year-old with a self-published book, a burgeoning career as a yoga instructor, and a list of speaking engagements that would give anyoneÂ stage fright.
So how did she go from a silent child to a teen with an up-and-coming motivational career? It was a long process â€” but she details all of it in her book, “I Am Not Your Average Teen,” where she lists 11 steps for improving your life and loving yourself.
If it sounds like Brittany is a millennial Elizabeth Gilbert or Oprah Winfrey, that’s not too far off. She lives for inspiring people and helping people feel better. And her tips are for everyone, not just people who’ve gone through the issues she’s experienced, like mutism, binge-eating, and depression.
“Everyone’s going through it,” Brittany said. “Everyone can relate. Everyone’sÂ going through a struggle. We’re all battling something. EachÂ and every one of us has a story. Some share it and some donâ€™t.”
In herÂ book, there’s a detailed chapter for each of the 11 steps she outlines, but we’ve created some SparkNotes here. If you like what you see, check out her book.
1. Your Voice Matters
This step is about “listening to your mind and your body,” Brittany says.
“Let’s say your parents say, ‘No, sweetie, you have to go to university,’ but in your mind, you want to go backpacking or have more life experiences,” Brittany said. “What are you gonna do? Go to university and be a doctor? Or follow your dreams?”
Learn to re-form the mindsets other people have pushed onto you. Brittany was in the popular group at school, she said, because like so many other teens, she was told that was important. But at a certain point, she chose to leave that group because it didn’t feel right.
“I needed something else,” she said. “Even though it’s a small jump, I decided I’m going to go on my own journey rather than stay with the norm.”
2. Seek Positive Friends
“It’s easier to push someone down than lift them up,” Brittany said. “So find positive friends who will life you up and embrace who you really are.”
If your friends are laughing at you or not understanding you, or playing you hot and cold, you don’t need to stay in that situation, she added. “Why are you putting yourself through that?”
3. Follow Your Butterflies
“Chase your fears,” Brittany said. “Go after whatÂ makes you feel uncomfortable. DiscomfortÂ teaches the greatest lessons. Let’sÂ say youâ€™re afraid of public speaking. ForÂ me, I’ve always been afraid of speaking. So you go and chase those butterflies and do it.”
When we spoke, Brittany was preparing for a presentation in front of 200 people â€” something she never thought she’d be able to do, but she’s doing it.
“If it makes your stomach hurts, if it makes your hands sweaty, go and chase it and follow it until the fear is no longer fear, it’s just strength,” she said.Â
4. Find Your Worth
“You’re so much better than how these guys treat you in high school or what these girls do to laugh at you,” Brittany said. “You’re better than that. It’s about loving yourself, of course, it’s about reprogramming your mind â€” no more I’m ugly, no more I’m fat, no more I’m hideous, no more I need to be this way.”
Instead, use positive affirmations â€” I’m smart, I’m amazing the way I am.
“When you reprogram those thoughts, you’re becoming your worth,” Brittany said. “You’re becoming so much more than what you ever thought you were.”
5. End Your Addiction or Habit
For Brittany, this meant an end to binge-eating, which she relied on as a crutch during high school. But everyone has their own “thing,” whether it’s food, drugs, boys, celebrity gossip, or whatever.
“If you have a habit, make it a healthy habit,” she said. For her, this meant trading food binges for yoga.
“Find something positive that can help you thrive,” she said.
6. Find Your Place in Life
“Find a hobby,” Brittany said. “Try so many dfiferent things, different hobbies and activities, until you find that thing where, every time you go there, it’s a place of home, it’s a place of safety.”
You can even work toward turning this into your career down the road, like Brittany is doing with yoga.
7. WalkÂ the Walk
This chapter is about understanding people before you judge them. For Brittany, this is especially important. There was a girl in her high school who she used to judge because she thought she was weird. Then, she looked at where the girl is coming from and now they’re best friends.
“Basically, I walked her walk,” Brittany said. “I tried to understand her perception, her life, and realized thatÂ she’s a good person.”
8. Mistakes Are Your Biggest Teacher
“Understand that every time you make a mistake or fail, its okay,” Brittany said. “Everything will pass. YouÂ can get better each time. YourÂ mistakes are your teachers.”
Even if you have a bad breakup, don’t regret it. Understand you can learn from it, she said.
“We hold onto so much,” she added. “We hold onto so many thoughts so many situations and I’mÂ not gonna lie, I get anxious a lot and I hold onto it. But the best advice I give people is it is whatÂ it is. YouÂ can’t change it but you see it as a lesson.”Â
9. Be Kind
“WhateverÂ you give out to the world or people, you receive,” Brittany said. “It’s important to make a difference and empower people. ButÂ it’s also important to be kind to yourself.”
If you are the type of person who gives too much, this could apply to you. Be kinder to yourself. But if you’reÂ a selfishÂ type, Brittany says, it’s time to make a difference.
“Go give a coin to that homeless person or give food a homeless person,” she said. “Buy lunch for the person behind you in Starbucks. Do something to make someone’sÂ day.”
10. Trust Your Inner Spark
“TrustÂ your intuition,” Brittany said. “When something is telling you it’sÂ not right, you trust it.”
We all have difficulty trusting that gut feeling, but take a minute and ask yourself if something’s right, Brittany said. “Sometimes it takes asking yourself that question over and over: is this right? And you listen to it.”
Learning to trust yourself can also make it easier to trust other people and open up, too.Â “Trusting your inner spark means its safe to open yourself to a relationship,” Brittany said. “It’s safe to be yourself.”
11. Love Yourself
This includes loving your mind, body, and spirit.
“I looked at myself in the mirror and said I love myself,” Brittany said. “My mentor told me to. ThisÂ was in the beginning when I was stopping binge eating and I told myself I loved myself and I didn’t believe it until a year after, but it worked.”
Some other ways to show yourself love: go to a movie that’s inspiring, read a book, travel.
“All of these tips are forÂ people who just want toÂ heal and make a change,” Brittany said. “Know you have the courage to do it.”