Dear Teenage Me:
Sometimes, it’s hard for me to look back to my teenage years. Those were hard years. I know you struggle a lot to try and figure out who you are and what your place is in the world. You put on a strong front to the rest of the world--many would never even imagine your inner struggles, because you look to the outside world like you’ve got it all figured out.
But deep down, you’re scared. Your family is facing a lot of transition and changes, and it’s been turning your world upside down. You used to feel like the world was predictable and safe--but with recent changes in your family, the formerly steady ground has been shaken up--and you’ve been shaken to your core with it.
The truth is, you’re terrified of relationships right now. You haven’t really seen many models of good, healthy relationships up close, and so you’re not even sure if you know the difference between what a healthy and unhealthy relationship would look like. You know that you want to figure out all the “secrets” to great relationships that other people seem to know--but deep down, you know that you haven’t got a clue where to start to find the answers.
What I’ve learned since I was your age is that nobody really has any special secrets to great relationships. The average person--and especially the average teenager--is just as clueless about relationships as you are. But, as a teenager, you and others face a tremendous amount of pressure to look like you’ve got it all figured out. It’s hard to admit you don’t have all the answers when there’s so much pressure to live a seemingly “perfect” life.
I want you to know that a good, healthy relationship is out there for you. Oh sure, you’ll face some heartbreaks and unhealthy relationships--I wish I could somehow help you to avoid the one that was even abusive. But, what I’ve realized along the way is that there are some lessons you just have to learn in life, and perhaps that relationship will become one of the greatest lessons of your life.
If I could go back in time and teach you one thing I’ve learned since my teen years, it would be that life is a great adventure. Don’t let fears hold you back--trust the process of life. Even your hardest life experiences will help to shape you into a strong, empowered woman. Stop comparing yourself to other people and being fooled into thinking they have it more figured out than you do--just stay true to yourself and keep your focus on the life that YOU are meant to live. At times, it won’t be easy, but you can keep hope alive at all times by knowing that your past, present, and future experiences will make you into the person you’re meant to be.