01 May 16 Reminders for My 16-year-old-self (or others who still don’t know)

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I am twenty six today but there used to be a time that I was just like you, sixteen, ready to take on the future. I also recall being scared and worried and I wished that my future self took the time to write to me.
 
So today, I’m writing to sixteen year olds everywhere (sixteen year olds at heart included) to share a few things I picked up on the way.
 
1) Beauty is not Just a Physical Issue.
 
I love beautiful things. I love looking at them and I adore beautiful people but what I’ve realized is that beautiful is not defined by one look (yup you heard it right kids, dark skin is ALSO beautiful!). Beautiful people are beautiful because they radiate kindness and they are a reflection of the magnificence that they find in their everyday lives. When we’re engaged with the beauty around our lives and are not hounded by our insecurities, we allow ourselves to become truly beautiful.
 
2) Be Your Own Cheerleader
 
– Often, we are our own worst critic. We magnify our weaknesses and we hardly give ourselves a pat on the back for our strengths. While it is true that we have to be able to see ourselves in a balanced way, it is equally important to not be too hard on ourselves as well. It is important for us to be able to cheer for ourselves at the end of the day because for most of our lives, we will be the only who will be able to do so. Most of the time, we think that in order to deem we’re worthy to be loved others have to love us first. Truth is, you’ll get far in life if you learn to know the value of who you are and learn to love yourself. Loving and accepting yourself, whatever the flaws you may have leaves room for others to love you as well.
 
3) School Is The Way
 
– The only way to develop confidence is by doing things that leave you empowered and the best way to find these things is by going to school. In school, we earn knowledge that will bring us far in life but in it is where we learn how to be compassionate and how to deal with bullies in a healthy way. It is also in school where we develop friendships that will last for a long time.
 
4) It is okay to be different
 
– Truth is, we’re all a little bit weird and a little bit quirky. It’s just that some people are better at hiding it than others. But I’ve always believed that it is our differences that make us stand out and often our little quirks is the best that we can offer the world. This generation is actually more forgiving of the little oddity of people, so why not take advantage of it?
 
5) Laugh
 
– Life can be sad at times, however, you’re far too young to not to be able to enjoy it. Lessen the time you spend overthinking things and spend more time counting your blessings. Spend time with people who make you laugh until you cry and also learn to laugh at yourself. Life is beautiful if you don’t take everything seriously.
 
6) Make the word “try” your best friend
 

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– It is true that all of us are equipped with talents and skills when we were born. However, in order to discover these skills and create a lot of experiences in your life, it is critical for you to get out there and try something at least just once. Trying makes your life richer and makes you a stronger and smarter version of who you are today. You will become one who knows what you’re good at and what was, well just done for experience’s sake.
 
7) See The Good
 
– To get through life, it is important for you to be able to see the good in people no matter how mean they are and see the good in every situation no matter how sad it may seem. Learning to love the not so lovable and learning to smile in the most wicked of storms will help you become a resilient person who can weather through just about anything in life. Also, a positive person just radiates this beautiful vibrancy that becomes a magnet for all the good things in life.
 
8) Love Your Parents
 
– As a 16 year old, you may see your parents as the enemy. However, at the end of the day, our parents only wish the very best for us and their life experiences and age old wisdom give us a different kind of advantage to attack life. So instead of arguing with your parents and thinking that they “hate” you, love and appreciate  what they’re doing for you. In addition to that, learn to love your family, no matter what set up you find yourself in, it is the best training ground for your future family. Family, no matter what happens, loves you like no one else in the world.
 

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9) Learn To Speak Out
 
– As a young adult, you may feel like you’ve been told to keep quiet so many times that you feel insecure to speak out. However, it is important for you to be able to nurture your ability to speak out. Do so by practicing to speak out, in a very polite manner. This way you don’t bottle up things that later on lead to an outburst or a breakdown. Speak out, the world needs to hear what you have to say.
 
10) Success is Different For Each Person
 
– When I was your age, I was blinded by the idea that the measure of success is based on my fame or whether or not I’m on the cover of a magazine. What I realized is that success is different for each individual, success really is making the most out of your talents and abilities and how you contribute it in the world. Contributing your talents to the world and making it better, no matter how small, truly makes you feel like a star in your own right. So as you ponder on the future, remember you already have it in you to be the best. So go after what makes you happy, whether it is behind the scenes work or in front of the camera! Work with what you’re blessed with and see success unravel in your life!
 
11) Know Your Worth
 
– Growing up wisely means filling your world with positive people. You have no time for people who belittle you and your ambitions, you need people who will encourage you and criticize you constructively. If you know your worth, you will know what to put up with and what relationships you need to walk away from you. If someone constantly puts you down to feel good about themselves, leave.
 
12) Don’t Be Limited by Your Circumstances
 
– Not all of us are born with the same background or equal opportunities. However, we are all given chances to overcome them. At the moment you may feel like you don’t have the same opportunities as your classmates with richer parents or families, know that as you grow older you will be given chances to alter your destiny. Where you are today will not define where you will be ten years from now so make conscious decisions to change the course of your life.
 
13) Understand Your Emotions But Don’t be Overcome by Them
 
– Much like learning how to speak up for yourself, it is also important for you to learn to understand your emotions. It is okay to be sad and it is okay to be angry, don’t stifle your emotions but at the same time don’t be overcome by them. It is important for you to be able to acknowledge how you feel and the fact that you can make the decision as to whether or not you will allow your emotions to rule over you.
 
14) What Others Say About You Doesn’t Define Who You Are
 
– It has been said that high school is a battlefield. While you’re at the age of figuring out who you are, you are also learning how do to deal with others around you and that can be difficult. It is important for you to understand that everyone else is going through the same things you are so when you hear negative words spoken about you, don’t take it to heart immediately. As you grow older, it is important for you to be able to filter through what is constructive criticism and what is meant to spite you. Often times, what is said about you is a reflection of how another feels about themselves and actually has nothing to do with you. Grow a thicker skin, this way you will be able to respond with kindness to those who speak negatively about you, believe me, there is power in that.
 
15) A Note About Prince Charming
 

– I get it, he’s a star basketball player, gets straight As in school and goes to church every week. It’s enough for every high school junior to go crazy, there’s only one problem, he NEVER responds to any of your twitter posts, facebook messages and text messages. It may hurt but I believe that if a man wants you, he will let you and the whole world know. Also, the endearing quality of the Prince is the fact that he is extremely charming and a gentleman. A real man will treat you absolutely right meaning he won’t physically or verbally abuse you. And lastly, if he walked away, he isn’t the one.  Don’t dwell on those who walked away and believe that whoever is meant to be in your life will find their way.
 
16)  Relax, It All Works Out.
 

– The future is unknown but truth is, life turns out ridiculously beautiful in the end so might as well enjoy the journey. You should also know that God has planned great things for you even before you were born so trust in the process and believe that everything will work out for the best. Trust me when I say, life is about to get better from here.

 

 

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