Dear 14 Year-Old Self,
Even when it feels like the world is shouting that you’re not good enough… You are. You always have been. You always will be.
You are beautiful. People around you will be obsessed with their appearance, but you shouldn’t let them get to you. Don’t compromise your self-worth to fit in. I promise, you won’t feel better by starving yourself. It may make you feel “in control” for a short amount of time… But then everything else will spin out of control. Eat well, exercise, and love yourself.
Always remember that the prettiest girls are not necessarily the thinnest ones, with the whitest teeth, and a closet full of vintage dresses. The prettiest girls are the ones who have only kind things to say about others, and themselves. Try to be of those girls. Some people will disagree with this description of beauty, but those aren’t the people you need to surround yourself with anyway.
People are more dangerous than your naïve heart can imagine. I don’t want you to live in fear, but you need to know how to protect yourself. If a boy ever physically or emotionally hurts you, that should be the last time he ever sees you. I don’t care how many times he says he loves you or promises not to hurt you again. He doesn’t and he will. If you stay, you’ll start a pattern of playing the victim. You were not meant to be the victim, darling. You need to be the heroine of your life.
Insist on your own happiness. Fight the temptation to give into depression. Disregard the pressure to compete with your peers. Ignore the voices in your mind that wonder if you’re loved. Don’t give in. Be stronger than everything that hinders your spirit. Be creative, seize opportunities, and pursue everything that inspires you. Paint. Read. Write. Swim. Express your soul.
Don’t worry if you’re not the girl all the boys like when you’re young. You’ll have plenty of time and opportunities for that later. Just enjoy the time you have now– time to be free, innocent and void of responsibilities. Someday, there will be a line of men who claim to adore you. You won’t accept all their offers, because you’re not desperate for love. Instead, you’ll ask these men to prove themselves through words and acts of genuine kindness and respect.
The older you get, the more you will realize that your life needs to be about giving more than you take. When you start feeling overwhelmed or insecure, pray about it. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and ask God to fill your mind with His love and compassion. Ask Him for a mind that thinks of others more than yourself. If you do this enough times, your fears and insecurities will be replaced with joy and peace.
You will not make it through life without scars, but it’s never too late to re-do parts of your past. You always have choices. You can choose to give and accept forgiveness. You can choose to make peace with your past. You can choose to silence cruel words with compassion. You can choose to stand up for what’s right. Even if you stand alone.
Walk in beauty and grace, today and always.