- Tasha Schuh
An Open Letter To My Teenage Self
Our teen years sure can be a difficult time. When I look back at my junior high and high school years, I was very insecure and had a low self-esteem which made this time to be particularly challenging. My focus and attention was on so many issues that would not matter past high school, yet at the time they were matters of life and death!
I look at where I am now and see how much time I wasted by worrying and getting myself worked up over these situations. I also see so many young people falling into the same traps I did at their age. I sometimes imagine myself sitting down with each and every one of them, looking them in the eyes, and telling them what I wish I had known at their age. And it was that vision that inspired this blog post… an open letter to my teenage self.
You’re going (and growing) through a very important time in your life. Your experiences today are going to shape your future. While this time of your life should be carefree and full of fun, I see you struggling at times. Oh, if you only knew what I know! I have a few things on my heart that I really want to share…
You are beautiful inside and out. I know when you look in the mirror you do not like what you see. You hate your nose and how tall you are. You look so different from your friends and feel awkward and ugly. People pick on you and you let them define what you see. Rather than putting so much focus on outward appearances, turn inward and find what’s beautiful about you on the inside; your kind heart, your many talents. Soon you’ll find this inner beauty will be reflected outward, too.
Know that your choices matter. I know you are right in the thick of peer pressure and you are making a lot of poor choices when it comes to boys, partying, and school work. Even though you’re getting good grades, you’re not always giving it your best effort. Stay strong; don’t give in to peer pressure and you’ll save yourself from future regrets. Your school years can be fun, but take learning seriously, too. And always do your best.
Choose friends who love you versus choosing them to just be part of the popular crowd. I know you do have friends that love you for who you are, but you also have other friends that are only in your life because they are in the popular group. Trust me; being in the popular crowd is not the most important thing! You think that these will be your friends forever and that if you’re not in this group you will not survive. However, these “friends” will be the ones who belittle you, talk behind your back, betray you and won’t really care about your overall well-being. Choose friends that love you for who you are not because of the group they are in.
You need to focus less on dating. Now don’t turn me off, but hear me out. I know you think it is so important to have a boyfriend – it’s almost an obsession. You want someone to love you and all your friends have boyfriends and so you feel alone without one. I’m not against you dating; I just wish you wouldn’t allow it to be such a huge part of your focus and life right now. Your serious relationships at this stage of your life will only create a lot of heartache and pain. The pain of rejection will plague you for years, as will the regret about all you did to prove your love. In 20 years you won’t even believe the hunk that you will marry. This man will love you for who you are. He never pressures you, and treats you like a princess. So please, make smart choices when it comes to boys, relationships and dating.
Be careful with how you treat others. I know bullying is something that happens regularly at this stage of your life; you are bullied and you also bully others. This will be one of your greatest regrets. You will remember every hurtful thing that you said or did to others. You will feel so bad at how you hurt them. You won’t be in this stage for long (once others bully you, you’ll realize how hurtful it can be) but a lot of damage can be done in a short amount of time. Cool clothes do not matter, being in the popular crowd does not matter, but what does matter is that every human being deserves to be respected and treated fairly.
Your future is so bright! Even though you’ll see tragedy and there will be times when your life would be flipped upside down, but please know how wonderful your life is and hold on during the difficult times. While I never planned a suicide, there were times when I definitely thought about it and even saw some of my friends attempt to take their own lives. I look at the times when I was bullied, when I was rejected by a boy, or was hurt by a friend and thought about suicide. Even in my darkest hours, when it was the most hopeless that I had ever felt, I wanted my life to end so badly! However, today I’m so glad that I didn’t give up! Today I have overcome obstacles and challenges, both big and small. Little did I know when I was your age that I would accomplish so much in my life. I am absolutely devastated by the suicide statistics today and the numbers of young people taking their lives and feeling hopeless. Please know there is hope! The best is yet to come if you just hold on and press through the hard and lonely times! I’m living proof of this! Always remember the special gift you are to this world.