As part of a series to mark International Women’s Day, Moneyish asked some prominent people to share their thoughts and experiences regarding issues important to females. Read more here.

As you embark on a life living on your own, I want to share with you five things I wish I had known when I was 18:

1. When faced with a choice, big or small, always make the choice that brings you peace. No one at the end of their life ever said, “I wish I proved I was right more.” No one at the end of their life ever said, “I wish I’d loved less.” Life is very, very short and before you know it, decades will have passed. Love yourself enough to have peace along your path every step of the way and always choose peace. Conflict cannot survive without your participation. That decision will always be up to you.

2. You cannot be lonely if you like the person you are alone with, and that means you. If you truly love yourself, you will never be lonely and you will never NEED a boyfriend. You will have a boyfriend, friends, family and people in your life only to add to a very full life that exists. You are enough as you are.

3. The only thing you have complete control of in life is your reaction. Do not give your power away. React with the grace of God and you will always have the power of peace in your life. There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way. Some days, you will wake up happy, and some days, you will have to choose to be happy. Stay “woke” and stay present so that you can always choose happiness. Always be aware of the energy you bring into a room. Unhappy people are burdens.

4. I would rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I’m not. There is no more freeing and peace-filled way to live than in your truth. The key to living your best life is to always speak your truth; let go of the expectations you have of others and love and respect yourself fully. It is none of your business what others think of you.

5. You are not stuck where you are unless you decide to be. You can design the life you wish to live each day with every single decision you make. If you do not like the person you have become, start over. If you do not like the circumstances your choices have lead you to, change. It is never too late to pick yourself up and start again. We are meant to grow, we are meant to evolve, we are meant to change. Growing is changing. But change is uncomfortable and never anything we do willingly. When it happens in your life — and it will always happen — be still and know that God is with you. You will evolve into an even better version of you if you learn from your circumstances, even the truly painful ones.

My sweet, strong daughter, use your gifts to lift the weaker spirits, those that cannot speak up for themselves. You are exactly where you are supposed to be and there is nothing you should be searching for. It is all within you. All that you need has already been given to you. When you are scared, look within. When you are lonely, look within. When you are unsure, be still, stop thinking and feel. The answers will come to you when you do. You are enough because God made you just as you need to be, to live your best life.

I love you deeply,

Rachel Roy is founder and creator of Rachel Roy and a women’s rights advocate.