Ahhh life as a teen. Don’t you wish you could go back in time to give yourself advice from the older and wiser version of yourself? I think about this often. What would I say to myself when I was in my teens or in my 30’s? Would it be reassuring, thoughtful, humourous or just a “hang in there, it gets better”? If we go with the notion that there is more that binds us together than sets up apart, couldn’t it also be said that any one person’s advice for themselves just might also apply to others?
I’m going to go with that thought and to that end, I’m starting a new weekly series called “Wish I’d Have Known”
This week, I’m speaking to the teenaged me (and any others who care to listen in).
You are amazing!
First off sweetie, you are SO much better than you think you are. I know it may seem like everyone else has someone who is cheering them on. Someone they can rely on to boost them up when they’re feeling down and you don’t have anyone. I know you think you are clumsy and uncoordinated, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not witty enough. TRUST me, you are more than enough of all those things. Until you come to believe that about yourself, you will be a feather in the wind carried in whichever way it blows. And there are storms coming.
You may not be able to completely stop this inner dialogue (the stuff you tell yourself when you’re laying in bed at night) right away. But promise me that every time you think something negative about yourself, take some time and find something positive to tell yourself. Maybe it’s how you stood up for someone at school today. Or maybe it’s that you surprised yourself and ACED a math test… Whatever it is, find something. And then say it out loud. Hear yourself, believe in the weight of those words as you put them out into the universe. That beauty will come back to you as time goes on and it will be GOOD.
Life as a teen; be with people who make you HAPPY
Second, you know that swell, skip, flip that your stomach does when that person you like so much pays you some attention? It’s great, isn’t it? I know. The best part? That feeling doesn’t go away when you get older. What you need to know is that if you are with someone who can’t or won’t make an effort to make your stomach do somersaults, it may be time to think about moving on. And you should want to make them feel the same way. It’s that desire to make your partner feel better just for being with you that will carry you through a lot of hard times. One more thing about that flip in your stomach… you should be able to do that for yourself too and if you can’t keep trying new things, going new places until you feel it for yourself. You shouldn’t have to rely on someone else to make you feel so good.
Third, listen to yourself. You know that little voice, that fleeting moment where you think twice about a decision you’re going to make or an action you’re going to take? Sit in that thought for a minute; figure out where it’s coming from and LISTEN to it. That’s your intuition and it DOES NOT let you down. I have a LOT of years of experience in this. It doesn’t EVER LET YOU DOWN. Not in your life as a teen. Not any time later either. Only when you ignore it do you get into hot water.
It’s FINE to be alone
Fourth, you’re just fine on your own. You do not NEED to be with someone. Sure it’s great when things are good or even when the going gets tough and the person you are with is right there with you in the muck, holding your hand and rooting for you, yes it’s a wonderful thing. But you are just fine on your own; don’t be afraid of your own company and don’t think you NEED to be with someone else just because “society” pushes the notion that if you’re not part of a couple, you’re a sad sack, a loner or worse, a loser. Trust me on this one, “society” gets a TON of stuff really wrong. Be comfortable with your own company now so that when you’re older, you don’t NEED to be with someone else just to be happy. Be brave; you’ve got this.
And for now, don’t make life decisions based on the actions or wants of someone else. If your best friend is going to Western but you want to go to Queens because the program there is PERFECT for you, sweetie go to Queens. There will be LOTS of time to make decisions based on the people in your life later on… for now, you worry about YOU.
I’m betting you’ve probably noticed that the recurring theme here is YOU and being confident in yourself. No coincidence on that one. Just paying attention to that idea, that you are as amazing as I know you to be, will be enough because sweetie, you are a STAR. Now go out and shine!
Miss a week?
If you like reading about life as a teen and missed other “Wish I’d have known” posts, you can read them here: