5 Life Mistakes That Made Me Stronger

5 Life Mistakes That Made Me Stronger

anika may // fashion and lifestyle blogger

 Not Quitting Earlier

As many will know, I worked in the Leeds city centre for around a year, at one of the biggest building societies in the country. When I first started, I loved it. Heck, I was just a keen and excited nineteen-year-old who was getting her first pay cheque and starting to feel like an adult. Even six months in, I didn’t really enjoy the tasks my job presented (mainly because I worked in investments and barely have a maths GCSE), but I still loved working.

Then my boss started to show her true colours, she became evil and spiteful, constantly trying to make my life terrible. After a month of this madness, I wanted to quit but I didn’t. I stayed. I kept eating lunch alone, I kept taking the digs and insults, I kept ignoring the side-eye and I kept defeating every hurdle. If it wasn’t for that job in Leeds, I wouldn’t be as tough as I am today. Not to blow my own trumpet or anything, but I can be pretty badass nowadays. The reason why is because I put up with trash for so long, not a lot really phases me anymore.

I have also learned to say no. Something I couldn’t really do before. Even in that specific job. In the beginning, I would say yes to everything, and always with a smile because my mother raised me right, but towards the end of my time there, I realised cleaning cobwebs out of the printer wasn’t actually my job and made me feel ill – so no I’m not doing it. The first time I stood up to my boss was the first time I realised I can be untouchable if I want to be. It’s like reality hit me, and I realised there’s nothing she can actually do. And the worst she could do was fire me, I wanted to leave anyway!

It may have been a mistake not getting out of their earlier, especially when it comes to my mental health – but now I feel better than ever.

anika may // fashion and lifestyle blogger anika may // fashion and lifestyle bloggerAccidentally Putting Myself Out There

There have been many occasions where I’ve accidentally drawn attention to myself. And despite having a blog with countless photos of me posing in different outfits every day, I actually really don’t like attention on me – in any form. If you saw behind-the-scenes of my OOTD shoots, you’d see a twenty-one-year-old trying to look cute but then awkwardly running away the minute a stranger appears. Yup, that’s me. So anytime there’s a serious amount of attention on me, from getting up to accept an award in school to making a fart noise on a leather sofa in front of my best friend – I feel awkward.

Yet, each time I put myself out there, or each time I accidentally draw attention to myself, it actually makes me a stronger person.

In some weird way, it improves my confidence. One of the causes is most likely my ability to overanalyse and replay any situation. Going over it again and again in my head and coming to a conclusion of: “Why do I even care?” or “Is this worth being mad about? Nah.”

Then I move on.

This process is a slow one for sure, I’m still a shy person and still get embarrassed from time to time, but those experiences have not only shaped me as a person, but helped me to get to know myself much better.


anika may // fashion and lifestyle bloggerBeing a Party Animal

I was a wild teen. Actually, not as wild as you’re thinking, more like a mediocre wild. I remember being 13 and drinking two WKD Blue’s before acting like I was absolutely off my head; when in reality I felt like I’d have a glass of orange juice. Then I grew to 15 and house parties became a thing. Do people still have those? I’m not sure but between 2010 and 2014, I loved to party.

I still do love to party, but I’ve learned so much from my behaviour as a teen to ensure I don’t make those same mistakes as an adult.

For example, drinking so much my teenage body can’t take it and I fall asleep on a patio table in the middle of December. Not the best thing I’ve ever done, but sure taught me not to do it again. Or, not being able to recognise when I’ve had enough to drink (you know when you go to the toilet, do the swaying thing and you just know you’ve had enough). There was the time I discovered I like gin, decided to drink way too much of it and woke up the next morning with a brand new phone, somebody else’s slippers and an ice cream cone taped to my forehead.

During those years, I became much more social, I was basically pushed out of the shell I was hiding in, and because of this, and I can talk to pretty much anyone now. I learned that I can not only have fun but also be fun – and that’s something extremely important to me. The fear of being uninteresting basically melted away.

anika may // fashion and lifestyle blogger anika may // fashion and lifestyle bloggerLetting Bad People In

I certainly won’t be alone here. Whether it’s an ex-partner, ex-friend, or even parent; there’s always going to be toxic people in the world. On occasion, those toxic people manage to talk their way past the barrier, slip through security and enter our lives. It always seems like a mistake when someone (who’s clearly evil inside) manages to have an impact on our lives, but after the pain disappears it’s good to realise there’s always a silver lining.

The idea of a silver lining seemed like a long shot the last time I let a bad person in my life. The whole, “this is it, my life is over, I hate everyone, I’m never leaving the house again” mentality took over and could have potentially dampened my spirit. However, I learned to flip it, spin it into something positive and escape a negative black hole.

Now I’ve mastered my techniques I not only feel prepared but safe. It may sound like I’m preparing for war, but I’m dramatic so it’s to be expected.

I’ve made the mistake of allowing toxic people into my life many times, but each time truly makes me stronger. I may feel damaged in the beginning, but elevation requires separation.

“TIP OF THE DAY; Sometimes you gotta go broke, lose the person you thought you loved, watch your friends turn into foes, just to get where you going. Trust the process. Elevation requires separation” – @ShawtyNotBasic

anika may // fashion and lifestyle blogger anika may // fashion and lifestyle bloggerSaying Something Stupid

I say stupid stuff all the time. That may sound like an exaggeration, but I’m being totally serious. I ask myself why I’m such a moron at least six times a day. Anxiety definitely plays a role in what I find idiotic and what’s just plain awkwardness. 90% of the time, I say something foolish. Whether I’m trying to clapback or just saying words to fill dead air, it’s often they don’t make sense.

Yet, saying stupid things has actually helped me in a few ways, as strange as that is. For example, I made friends from being a weirdo. Because I’m such an odd little egg, I met my fellow weirdos and now we’re best friends who can be weird and say silly stuff together. It’s a judge-free zone, and that makes me feel incredibly happy. Gaining friends makes me a stronger person because they have a positive impact on my life. Similarly, saying something stupid occasionally makes people laugh, and that, in turn, makes me very happy. Because I was such a shy child, I relied on comedy to get me through conversations and that’s pretty much how I get through life. When I say something out of the blue or completely senseless, I often get a good reaction which boosts my confidence.

Now, on the other hand, saying something reckless can get me in trouble, and it has before. I’ve landed in hot water with other people and also had regret myself. Nonetheless, those experiences have only helped me grow as a person and shaped my personality for the better. I’m actually grateful I say meaningless things sometimes, there’s always opportunity and space to develop.

  • Great post. Do you know what I have learnt is that you have to put yourself first, beacuse if you put yourself last people will make sure you stay last. So well done for standing up for yourself. Love your outfit as always. Amazing! xoxo Cris

    • Lovely point, I like that! Thank you so much, Cris xo

  • Courtney Hardy

    I can totally relate when it comes to taking pictures in public too. And I’m 16 and house parties aren’t really in but going to the football games are in. Also I love that outfit girl, those boots are adorable!

    • Glad you can relate, thanks so much! xo

  • Such a great post! Mistakes and failures definitely help shape us into the person we are, as well as helping us to learn and become stronger for them. Being able to share your own is such a brave thing to do. So well done you xx

    Lauren // itslaurenvictoria.blogspot.co.uk

  • maliblue mymind

    i think we are all guilty of those mistakes… we’ve all been there and the good thing is that they become lessons we learn and make us stronger!


  • it sometimes takes us a bit of beating around to toughen up – though of course that’s no excuse for bad behavior or abuse! saying no is one of the best things i’ve done – though i’m still the kind of person not to say no directly, more like a “sorry, but ____.”

    i’m with you on the saying stupid things, lol – whenever i say something that is truly stupid, i’m glad i have friends that i can count on to call me out – my own partner included, though only when we’re alone. sometimes it’s just better to push my ego out of the way and straight up apologize instead of acting like it never happened.

    becky @ star violet

    • So true though, it’s like training! Definitely, it’s always best to be a bigger person, shapes us! xo

  • Robyn Pound-Woods

    Such a great post! Takes a lot to be that open, really inspiring x

  • Your post was so wonderfully written. Very thoughtful and informative and I loved the story about your boss. Do tell us what happened!! I’m dying to know, what happened when you said “no” and how did you eventually leave the job? Was your boss upset?

    The Heba xx

    • Thank you very much! Well, my old boss was definitely shocked as she so used to walking all over me haha, and when I quit, I handed in my notice and slowly watched the office fall apart 🙂 She still keeps trying to add me on Facebook, haha! xo

  • It’s fantastic that you can look at your past mistakes, learn from them and as a result become a stronger person. ♥


  • Love this post!!! <3 And "you’d see a twenty-one-year-old trying to look cute but then awkwardly running away the minute a stranger appears" made me laugh out loud – I'm too shy to do outfit posts and that would 100% be me.

    • It’s true, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to posing, especially pouting I’m terrible at that haha! xo

  • Pili G

    This are all so real, I feel so related to all of this. But mistakes are there for make us stronger and to learn! I’m glad you are counting them as that and not as just mistakes!
    To Read With Tea

    • Definitely! And memories to laugh at! xo

  • I totally understand you on drawing attention to yourself. I love having my pictures taken (by friends ofc) and then I’m all awkward and they hate it haha but yes, it just goes by and nothing bad happens and I’m proud of myself 😀
    I really like this post. I don’t think I would be able to write it like this, to connect some events and lessons learned.. well done!

    xo Honey – blog Royal LifestyleTwitterInstagram

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, I’m glad you liked the post! xo

  • terrible jobs with bad bosses do make you so much stronger and you learn to know your worth.


  • Daisy Petals

    This post was honestly so relatable!I’m also the type of person to run off when a stranger might potentially see me taking outfit pictures aha x


    • I literally hide, and my sister now knows to hide too, we’re terrible haha xo

  • Love your bag, so cute ! 🙂
    Have a good afternoon,
    Olivia <3

  • This is such a strong and personal post, and I think that everyone should read it. Even if you don’t like to draw attention to yourself! I have noticed that most of us makes couple of these mistakes, but they will come stronger after that, even if it seems not going to end well. For example that work thing, I had quite same thing happened to me this year, the boss was just horrible and thought that it’s okay to treat me like a piece of meat and cleaner lady because I’m a woman. Well, I was out of that place quickly.

    Heidi ✨ | Heidi’s Planner

    • Thank you very much, Heidi! And it’s so much more empowering when you leave right?! Like a giant weight gone, and a great lesson learned! xo

  • Thanks for sharing your own thoughts here! xx

    Daniel x

    The Daniel Originals | Instagram: danielpoonvignez

  • Yara Mel

    This is such a great post!!
    Not quitting right away is a great lesson of resilience. I learned this the hardest way by not quitting my degree. I still think I should’ve done it but not quitting definitely thought me a lesson-if I didn’t quit something I thoroughly didn’t enjoy I would never quit something I love 🙂
    And talk about strangers passing by on a blog photo shoot! Ahhh the unwanted attention – it has also made me stronger. Today I’m ok with doing a photo shoot in the middle of a crowd and still be able to pose my best 😀 progress!


    • Thank you, Yara! I definitely salute those who go through higher education and commit to years of university! Well done for being brave enough to shoot in front of strangers! xo

  • Yiotou_La

    So sorry you had a hard time at work and you had to work with this evil person every day, no one deserves that. I cut toxic people from my life years ago, the ‘friends’ that wanted to be your friend when they needed you and then forgot all about you until they need you again. Best thing I ever did in my life.


    • It was rough! I’m so glad to hear that! Best wishes xo

  • Amanda

    Your former job sounded really tough and your boss sounded awful. That’s awesome that you took that bad experience and grew from it!


  • I’m sorry you had to go through that work wise! It’s so shitty when you have a horrible boss isn’t it! Also, I can TOTALLY relate to the whole attention thing. Isn’t it funny us being bloggers, people think we love the attention but in RL omg I run a mile lol! Great post, really interesting read lovely xox Imogen


    • Definitely agree with you there, I’m sooooo awkward haha! xo

  • Steph

    What doesn’t kill you always makes you stronger! Great great post!


  • Samantha

    These are all choices we make at one point. It is always so liberating to identify mistakes and rectify accordingly.

  • Rosanna Briguglio

    Although these things feel so bad all the time, they are good life lessons to learn! Thanks for sharing your experiences!
    Have a lovely day 🙂
    Rosanna x

  • Beautiful post! Mistakes make us stronger and teach us so much, the important is…not making them again 😀
    Thank you for this inspiring post!
    xx Elisa

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! xo

  • Lovely read thank u for being so honest and I can relate in so many ways. You look stunning as always and I loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee your sweater ! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! Dominica from London, http://www.dominicas.uk xXx

    • Thank you very much, Dominica! xo

  • I feel you on absolutely all of these. But I especially know the feeling of leaving a toxic job and in retrospect, wishing that you had walked away earlier! x


  • Alex L

    Your outfit is so nice ! I say stupid things all the time and i think it is totally ok !

  • Kathrin

    There are so many ways to grow in this life and non of them are easy, but all of them are worth it. It’s great that you found many that work for you.

    Kathrin | Polar Bear Style

  • Learning to say no and what is okay and not okay to take at work was one of the hardest lessons I’ve learned, but also one of the best in the end.


  • Kim

    *Slow clap* This post was really on point and I found myself nodding in agreement throughout your entire post. These mistakes may seem really cringe at the time but it’s definitely how you learn and get stronger! Love all the honesty here. Thanks for sharing!


  • This is really inspiring dear. It’s really brave of you to share these things. We all do make mistakes, but it’s what we do after we fall that defines us. Have a great day!

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com