I was a very shy and overly sensitive teen who would have benefited from this list. Often I held back from trying new things because I was afraid of failing or looking stupid. And when I did fail, I’d wallow in self pity for ages instead of getting on with it.
I still have a tendency to be this way but the wisdom of age has helped a lot and I’m willing to put myself out there more often. If I mess up, so what? It doesn’t mean the world has ended.
These days as I get older, I feel a sense of urgency to enjoy the moment more, worry less, laugh more and recapture that inner child where wonder and imagination live.
Ten things you would tell your 16 year old self if you could.
- Be happy with who you are and don’t try to be like someone else or compare yourself to them. They have their burdens just like you and no one’s life is perfect.
- In hard times, remember that they will soon pass and keep faith that you will get through it. Ask for support if you need it. No one needs to go it alone.
- It’s okay to have fears but it’s important not to let them paralyze you from living. Brave people face their fears and keep going through the fear. Talk to a caring friend or adult if it’s too much. And remember that you aren’t alone. Everyone is afraid of something but many people keep their fears hidden and are experts at pretending everything is fine.
- No one knows everything even if they try to give the illusion that they do. They have their strengths and their weaknesses just like you do. Perfection does not exist.
- Respect yourself and pick friends who respect you for the unique and special person you are. If they don’t, they’re not really your friend.
- Don’t get down on yourself for failure. Sure failure hurts and is a setback but it is also a huge learning experience that makes you grow. Don’t be afraid to start again after failing. All the great people in the world failed at some point but the main thing is that they didn’t give up.
- Love yourself and practice self love each day. Keep that Inner Critic from poisoning your thoughts with lies that make you feel hopeless and inadequate.
- Take time to be grateful for all the good things each day instead of focusing on what’s lacking in your life. You will feel much happier.
- Don’t take things so personally when someone hurts you with unkind words. It’s hard when you’re overly sensitive as most teens are. If you try and distance yourself, you’ll see that it’s not about you and is usually the other person’s problem. They feel insecure and making you feel badly makes them feel better about their own situation.
- Realize that you are totally unique and there will never be another you, ever. Let the world have the privilege of knowing you and share your strengths and talents. The world will be a better place as a result and you will find happiness and purpose through giving of yourself.