A letter to my 16 year old self

dear16

Dear 16-year-old self:

I want to share some important lessons I have learned with you. If I knew then what I know now, your life would be a lot different. Not necessarily better or worse, just different.

  • Follow your heart. Regardless of popular opinion, of what your parents and family tell you, follow your heart. Even if the kids at school laugh at you, follow your heart and do what you love. Always. Even if you think you can’t – you can, you should and you will.
  • You are naturally beautiful. You are beautiful. In every aspect. On the inside you are sensitive, kind, caring, empathetic, passionate, curious, loving and have a natural way with people. On the outside, you glow from all of the good on the inside. Love your freckles, and protect them with sunscreen, even if you don’t want to. Hold your head up and shoulders back. You have been blessed with an hour-glass figure of perfect proportions – take care it and stop trying so hard to hide it. Get your hair trimmed now and then. Your natural black curls have a hint of amber and will look healthier if you get the split ends trimmed off. You don’t need makeup – your face and complexion are perfect as they are. You are not fat. Stop comparing yourself to what you think is perfect, look in the mirror and do your best to learn to love what you see.
  • Study hard and complete your homework. Focus more on your education and less on your socialization. Opportunities will open for you that you cannot even dream of. You will come to appreciate options so try to set yourself up to have as many choices as possible.
  • Don’t quit what you have started. Especially music. Keep playing and composing. The lyrics will always be there, focus on the score. Work hard to be great at playing the music you love. Your potential has not even scratched the surface. Keep learning and take it seriously. Music will always be your constant, honor it, especially when your life gets tough, and it will.
  • Take Art. Explore all forms. You are creative. You are. Go against what your parents want and what others tell you. It is time to start making decisions for you without guilt. Experiment in all kinds of mediums. Use creativity as an outlet for your feelings and emotions. Get them out of your mind and heart. Your emotions are real and need to be expressed. Don’t stuff them down, deal with everything without delay or you will find they will begin to creep back up showing up in ways you will never understand and slowly suffocate you.
  • Let yourself fall in love. Let someone be in love with you. It is worth the risk.
  • Listen more than you talk.
  • Wear your glasses. I know you don’t like them. Wear them anyway. Then read more books. Then read them again. Your eyesight will be compromised before you turn 40.
  • Trust your instincts. Trust your decisions and own them. Accept you will make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Stop pretending to be strong when you are not. Ask for help. Lose the ego and reach out your hand until you find someone who will reach back and never let you go. It is OK to feel vulnerable. You are not meant to walk through life trying to deal with everything on your own.
  • Stop trying to impress. Stop trying to be noticed. Stop trying; you are trying too hard to be something you are not. Stand up for your beliefs. Figure out what they are and stay true to you. Let people in to see the real you. All of you.
  • Talk to your grandparents; get to know them as the people they are and not just as your grandparents. They unlock the questions of where you come from. They get it. They get you. Let them see you as you are and connect with them as often as possible.
  • Tell the truth. I know it seems so hard and sometimes impossible. You won’t die. Everything will be fine, eventually. Don’t lie anymore – especially to yourself. You have nothing wrong, start living like it.
  • Talk with the ones closest to you about how you really feel – without delay, assumption or expectation. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Learn to communicate without blame or anger.
  • You will disappoint, you will fail and you will hurt others. In turn, they will do all of this to you as well. Work on respecting the fact you are not perfect, and no one else is either. Take some of the pressure off your shoulders and relax.
  • Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Walk with your fear instead of running from it. Running away from your problems or shutting down does not equal a solution. You are only delaying the inevitable.
  • You don’t need to drink alcohol to have fun. Stop binge drinking. It will become a problem for you and only then will understand what addiction really is. Don’t use substance abuse as a crutch or a solution to forget the pain that is coming your way.
  • Save your money. Pay yourself a small percentage of your pay check first. Always have enough in the bank – to pay for what you need, not what you want. Always.
  • You are still very young, enjoy your youth. Stop worrying about everything and everyone all the time. It is not your responsibility to be a problem solver. Time will tick and you will age in the appropriate way. One day you will blink – and poof you will be old.
  • Trust the adults in your life. They are not without fault, and you will always have a different perspective than they do. Know in your heart and soul that they want to help you, have your best interest in mind and love you unconditionally.
  • In your darkest days when things look bleak and there is no glimmer of light, do not give up. Do not give up on yourself. Do not give up on your dreams. Do not discount yourself. I know you will feel like that is impossible, I am telling you it is not.
  • Let go of grudges. Forgive unintentional acts.
  • Allow yourself to be free from your own thoughts by recognizing your thoughts do not define you. Never define yourself by the career you have chosen or the job you do.
  • Stop saying no when you want to say yes. Say yes and accept help, accept love and accept that you have limitations. Say no and do not make excuses.
  • Love your family – they love you. You can’t see that now, I know, believe me – they will walk with you in your glory and hold your hand when you are in your personal hell.16yroldme

Live a balanced healthy lifestyle. By the time you are 38 – so many things will have happened for you. Most good, some great and some are absolutely terrifying and horrific. Go to a therapist. There is no shame in talking to a professional about your feelings. Cry in public. Laugh until your face and your body hurt – as much as possible. Don’t dump your frustration, anger and fear on the ones you love. Express your expectations of others and of yourself then re-adjust them. Do not allow yourself to keep regrets. You can’t turn back time and re-do, erase or repeat. Second chances are rare and tomorrow will be too late. Live in the moment, do not fret the past and plan for but do not worry about the future. Today and everyday can be the best day of your life – if you allow it to be. Remind yourself you are loveable, remind yourself to speak softly, remind yourself to take deep breaths and finally remind yourself you are not alone and you are never stuck….you will always be able to grow and move forward.

Love, Me: Your 38-year-old self.

dont-give-up

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