Dear Teen, When Things Get Hard, Be True to Yourself

teen doesn't know why they are even here


Dear Teen,

When there are so many things you wish you could change about yourself. When you zero in on every detail you don’t like. When you wish your hair was curly or your nose was smaller. When you wish your eyes were bigger or your teeth were whiter. When you’d give anything to change the way you look in one way or another.

Remember who you are.

When you don’t feel strong enough or smart enough, funny enough, or friendly enough. When you don’t feel tall enough or short enough, big enough, or small enough. When you don’t feel like you’ll ever be pretty enough or handsome enough, brave enough, or confident enough, and everyone else seems to be more than enough compared to you.

Remember who you are.

When your friends turn on you, ignore you, exclude you, or deceive you. When they make choices that seem wrong or cruel or reckless or stupid, and you’re confused and angry and don’t want to be around them anymore. When you’re not even sure who your real friends are and you wish you had someone you could trust.

Remember who you are.

When you work so hard to get good grades, or make the team, or get that part, or be that friend, or look that good, and you feel like all that trying is getting you nowhere. When it seems like nothing goes the way you planned, nothing works out the way you’d hoped, or nothing comes easy for you, ever.

Remember who you are.

When you wonder why everyone else seems to have it all together and look so good and act so confident, while you feel so insecure. When you worry if you’ll ever feel comfortable in your own skin, and you’ll ever be brave or strong like them.   

Remember who you are.

When you’re trying a new thing, meeting a new friend, or starting a new school. When you join a new club or learn a new sport or get a new job. When you’re scared you’ll say the wrong thing, make a mistake, do something stupid, or look weird. When you feel unwelcome, unprepared, unqualified, or uncertain if this is ever going to work out.

Remember who you are.

When you feel like no one understands you and no one seems to care. When you feel alone in this world and you don’t know where you belong. When it feels like you have no one on your side and you can’t find anyone like you.

Remember who you are.

When you make a mistake and regret what you did. When your choices get you in trouble and you take a wrong turn down the wrong path and you can’t figure out how to fix things or find your way back. When you feel like a failure for the mess-ups you’ve made.

Remember who you are.

When you have no idea what you want to do. When you feel clueless and aimless when so many others seem to have everything perfectly planned out. When you wonder if your future will even be successful because you aren’t sure of anything right now. 

Remember who you are.

Oh, dear teen, when things get hard and you question what you’re doing and why you’re here and where you belong, and how you’ll ever make it through these really tough years…

Remember who you are.

You, dear teen, were born with a treasure trove of gifts uniquely created for you. You have special talents and traits that no one else has. Throughout your life, you will learn of all your strengths and abilities, and you’ll find what sets your heart on fire and gives you purpose. All that you have and all that you are is enough.

Growing up and figuring out what makes you, YOU, takes a lifetime and you are only at the beginning of this incredible journey. Don’t force yourself to be someone you weren’t meant to be. Don’t try to be someone you’re not, just to belong. Be true to who you are and you will find your people, the ones who love you for being you.

Wanting to be like someone else denies you the privilege of discovering who you are. The only way you’ll grow into the person you were meant to be, is if you honor who you are as you learn what that really means. And in time, you will see the significance of how you think and feel and look, and you will realize your worth.

But for now, when things get hard, remember who you are.

You are one of a kind, exceptional, a bona fide original.

No one has what you have and no one ever will. 

That nose, that smile, those curls, those eyes, were carefully picked, you see.

You have all you need in you, to be all that you can be.

Your strengths and skills, your flaws and quirks, make you who you are.

Please believe that in time, you’ll find your own north star.

Its shining light within your heart will tell you what is true.

Listen carefully to its call, trust that voice in you.


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