Hey you! Happy Birthday.
You won’t recognise me but I know you very well.
Has anybody told you lately how wonderfully strong you are. How important you are? How unique you are?
Growing up is painful, it’s exciting and scary but we have all got to do it. If I could go back exactly 10 years in time to your Sixteenth birthday, I would give this advice to you…
Be proud of who you are. Don’t compare yourselves to other people, they aren’t any better than you. Don’t change your looks to fit in. Instead see the beauty already in you, and give others the opportunity to appreciate that too. You are beauty in your own right. Stop telling yourself otherwise.
You are not fat! (Well you might be if you don’t leave those Mini Eggs alone!)
Your natural hair colour will always be the prettiest. You were born perfect just the way you are. Changing the way you look on the outside won’t change how you feel inside. Don’t conform to what others around you are doing. Things you might consider as cool right now won’t matter to you in 10 years time and they won’t matter to those you truly care about either.
Life is better when you’re laughing.
The friendship groups you have, they won’t stay as strong as how they feel right now. People change as they get older. People grow up and venture in different directions and yes, that includes you.
The true friends you will have in later life are people you deem worthy to be there. They will be the ones who listen to you and support you in healing but don’t allow you to play the victim in your own life. They will call you on your sh*t and empower you to grow. When life is tough and gets you down, you will often find that a coffee with your best friend is all the therapy you need.
Think happy. Be happy.
You are not for everyone and that’s okay. Don’t waste your energy trying to convince everyone of your value. Not everybody is going to want to walk your journey alongside you. Don’t try to convince them to, this will only cause unnecessary hurt. This world is filled with people who, no matter what you do, will not like you. But it’s also filled with people who will love you fiercely. Unconditionally. They are your people.
Play hard. Give everything.
Nelson Mandela famously said ‘You playing small does not serve the world, who are you not to be great?’ You are unique. There is nobody the same as you. You have talents of your own that you are dulling just to fit in. Don’t give up your hobbies, if you love writing and drawing keep it up. I challenge you to talk to an adult who gave up something. Chances are they will tell you how much they wish they’d pursued an athletic career or kept up their music lessons.
Be consistent. Being flaky will effect your relationships, your self esteem and your anxiety levels. Follow through. Say what you mean and mean what you say. It will ensure you think twice before agreeing to something that doesn’t inspire you. You have a voice, speak up. You have a world of knowledge and experiences already that you can use to inspire.
Sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.
Practice saying ‘NO’ in the mirror. There will be times that you have to tell someone ‘NO’ and it will be scary but you have to set boundaries or you will end up feeling taken for-granted. Standing up and taking responsibility might seem like the most painful route but trust me, you will thank yourself for taking control over the life choices you make.
Smile often. Dream big.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. When things don’t go to plan, don’t give up. The most successful people in this world have failed a thousand times. They have been knocked back a thousand times. Fall 7 times? Stand up 8.
Learn to let go of toxicity in your life.
That boy you thought you loved. It’s not love, rather just the insecure need to be loved in return. Someone who mistreats you, hurts you physically, hurts you mentally, doesn’t love you. He is not ‘the one.’ Know your worth and don’t accept anything less.
Your future partner will love the very bones of you. What you will find most bizarre is that you’ve known him the majority of your life. You will have already grown up alongside each other, completely, utterly and blissfully unaware of all that lies ahead. He’ll love you at your best and stand by you at your worst. He will find you attractive in the morning, when you’re as sick as a dog and when you’re in your lazy clothes. He will encourage you to be the realist you you’ve ever been. This man will love you not just despite your flaws but because of them.
Enjoy the freedom of being young, save money, spend time with your family. You may think they will always be around but nothing lasts forever and you will wish you’d have spent more time with them. People grow old, they pass on often without warning and you will miss them immensely.
There will be painful moments in your life that change your world in a matter of minutes. These moments will change you. Let them make you stronger, smarter and kinder. Cry if you must. Just look forward.
Listen you your Mother. Guaranteed she’s ‘been there, done that, read the book and brought the t-shirt.’ You will be a mum and a wife yourself one day and her wisdom and knowledge is invaluable.
Be gentle on yourself.
You were born to have children and you will be excellent at raising them. It takes somebody strong and made of special stuff to be a mother of a special needs child. You possess all it takes to love and nurture them.
You are your own worst critic and I know you may never truely take this advice. Don’t let a bad day fool you into thinking you haven’t got what it takes. You are the only one for the task. You are their mother and they love you so very much.
Somebody told me if you are gentle on yourself, the world will be gentle too.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your younger self?