I recently came across a prompt to list 10 things you would tell your 16-year-old self, if you could, and I wanted to see what I could do with that challenge.
When I was 16 years old, I was completely different from the person I am today, with a few exceptions: I still cared deeply about the world around me, I was just as much of a bookworm as I am now, and I had a passion for learning.
Some pictures of me at 16:
Dear 16-Year-Old Me,
There are some things I need to tell you, some things I desperately want you to know. The next 10 years are going to be some of the best and absolute worst of your life (I know, you thought age 8 was the worst). Maybe the things I have learned will spare you some pain and make you a better person, maybe that pain is necessary. I hope these 10 things help you:
- Life isn’t fair. The world is not just.
You’ve heard adults toss this at you when you complain about something, but you need to understand that life truly is not fair. This isn’t just some throwaway phrase. You will begin to hate the world because of the injustice you experience. You will rail against the systems that hurt you and others. Don’t let it twist you into a person you’re not, but keep fighting against injustice.
- People will hate you. Accept it.
There are people that have hated you and people that will hate you on a level that you can’t comprehend. You can’t change their hatred or them. You just have to accept it and stop focusing on them (they don’t deserve your attention or energy).
- Stop trying to attain perfection!
Every second you spend trying to be perfect is a second you could be spending enjoying life! You will never be perfect but you will always be the way you were meant to be! Embrace that!
- Have fun!
Find moments of joy in the mundane. Prioritize happiness and make time for fun every day!
- You’re not a hypochondriac. You’re not faking it.
When you’re older (23 to be exact), everything will make sense. Realize that the pain you feel constantly isn’t considered normal.
- Your feelings are valid. ALWAYS
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If someone makes you feel otherwise, reevaluate their place in your life.
- Consent matters!
If you’re not comfortable, you don’t have to consent! If you’re unsure, you don’t have to consent (and being unsure isn’t consenting).
- Don’t judge people, especially when you don’t know their journey!
Try to understand. Show compassion.
- Love yourself
And treat yourself well. You deserve happiness, kindness…you deserve to be treated with respect. Honor yourself and show yourself appreciation.
- You survive. You’re resilient
You’re going to experience some really terrible things but you survive. Some days you’re going to feel like it’s not worth it, but don’t give up hope. Keep going. You are more resilient than you can imagine. You are unbreakable. You are bulletproof.
As always, I welcome respectful discussion and questions and if you found this post educational or interesting, I hope you’ll take the time to comment and share it on social media!
That’s all for now!