Letter to my 16-year old self
It's been a long time since I was a self-conscious starry-eyed teen I told myself as I thought about something relevant to write for a local youth magazine. What wise, comforting and encouraging words could I share? What could I have told my younger self? And so I told her.
When you are young you’ll feel the need to have it all figured out before you leave school. The truth is very few people have an exact path carved out by the time they graduate.
I wish the adults in your life would tell you how truly infinite your potential is, how you can do anything you want when you commit yourself to it. The thing with adults is that they won’t always know the best thing to say and they’ll do anything to keep you safe but this will inadvertently keep you small.
Don’t let that happen.
Don’t be afraid to break free and explore life on your own terms because the only way to embrace the awe inducing wonder of the world you were born into is to engage with it fully, deeply and passionately. Let it take your breath away. They will love you anyway.
Don’t let the fear of making a mistake hold you back from trying new things. Everyone makes mistakes. You will too. Some of your mistakes will feel insignificant, others will feel catastrophic and you will be convinced that your world will collapse. It won’t. You will survive all your mistakes.
You will become stronger, wiser, more daring and capable every time you get up and dust yourself off. You will learn to make better decisions so when the big ones come around they won't feel so burdensome and scary. And for that reason I want you to fail often and fail fast. Allow yourself to follow your curiosities and see where they take you.
I want you to stand tall and believe in yourself.
You won’t be shy forever. You will have much to say and people will listen, so please stop comparing yourself to others; doing so will only rob the world of your voice and light.
I want you to be yourself.
I know it might feel important to fit in right now and be like everybody else but that’s all about to change. Soon you’ll want to be different and stand out. Just like everybody else. Life’s funny that way.
I want you to know who you are and what you stand for. This will help you set healthy standards and boundaries on how you want people to treat you. And if you don’t yet know, think about the kind of person you want to be and how you want others to feel.
I think that is by far more important that having your life all figured out at 16. Don’t you?
You will leave school and have many adventures. You will travel and meet many new people. You will experience lows and highs. You will cry and laugh. You will get through heartbreaking losses. You will love hard and be loved, be adored. You will become a good and giving person and go on to inspire others to live bigger lives.
And when you least expect it, strangers will reach out to you and say that because of you they did not give up.
This will be your message to the world. It’s shaping up to be a good one isn’t it?
Love, me x
Before you go, what would you say to your 16-year old self? Leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you.