I remember clearly the times I thought I knew it all; when people would say the phrase “you’ll understand when you get older” and I would scoff because, of course, I was omniscient and there was nothing left in life that I didn’t already know. The mystery was solved, I had it figured out and grasping the concept of my own naivety was just beyond my comprehension. Now, as I progress through life, I realize just how ignorant I was. In reality, I know absolutely nothing.
We all have those “things” – the stuff we wish we could transport through time and explain to our younger selves in an effort to spare us from heartache or terrible decisions, and here are the top five things I would drill into my teenage brain.
You are not the product of your environment.
The age-old nature versus nurture debate is null and void. Our personalities and life-views come from a plethora of experiences and taught behavior—the key word being taught; not engrained in our DNA or wired into our brains, but taught and therefore unlearned. The longer we continue striding through life with this false idea that our identity is not malleable, the longer we deprive ourselves of the deep emotional and spiritual freedom of simply existing. The choice is always there. While opportunities may seem scarce, we decide who we are and what we plan to do about our lives from an external standpoint and ourselves from within.
You are not unique.
The experiences may not be similar, but feelings provoked by circumstance are designed to impact in the same way. Our minds work almost in unison, and while you may feel you can’t honestly express the deepest parts of yourself, you’re wrong. The judgment we assume others place upon us is simply the judgment we place upon ourselves. If I had a nickel for every time I assured someone “that’s normal” when they finally opened themselves up to me, I’d have like fifty-two dollars and sixty-five cents. If you can do that for others, they can do that for you; and thinking any differently is fooling yourself by your own self-righteousness. We are all the same people.
People find you attractive.
You may have gone through an ugly duckling phase in middle-school, but I promise you other people find you attractive. Whether you want to bully yourself or not, you are wasting time worrying about your physical appearance when there are already plenty of people who see beauty in you. Realizing how many opportunities you wasted in the past is never a good feeling; you are never as ugly as you feel.
Family is a decision.
Positivity breeds positivity, and the opposite holds true. You don’t get to decide your birth, or the people surrounding your youth, but you decide what is important to you and hack out the people that bring you down. The concept of boundaries is lost on everyone; you do not have to stop talking to your grandmother entirely, but setting up clear boundaries with yourself and others allows you to chose what you let infiltrate your word. In order to live a healthy, happy and positive life, you’re required to fill it with healthy, happy and positive people.
Reaching out is not shameful.
No matter how you were raised, who you are or what you’ve been through, everybody needs someone. Life is a sliding scale—one minute you’re up, the next minute you’re down and there is nothing permanent about it. The more you give, the more you will get when you need it and asking for help is not about shaming yourself into believe you’re not worth it. It’s about understanding and knowing the people who love you want to see you succeed and will do everything in their power to push you into stability and happiness. Reach out to your loved ones, you’d do the same for them if they ever needed it.
photo source: au.reachout.com