Life lessons I wish I could have told my teen self

August 13th, 2010

I was just telling a childhood friend via Facebook that we are all a work in progress. Things didn’t seem to go exactly as she had planned earlier in life. Do they ever go as we plan?

I think we all have experiences in our lives that have formed who we are today. Some were amazing and some were awful. You know what? We are getting better with time. We are far better than we were yesterday, but are not quite there compared to tomorrow.

I was thinking of a way to encourage this childhood friend. What have I learned over the years? What advice would I give to my younger, teen self now? What will I try to pass on to my teen son before he goes out into the world? This is my list. If you have others, feel free to post them!

1)Learn from mistakes in your past. If you regret the outcome, don’t do it again!

2)Not everyone will like you in this world, no matter how hard you try. You can’t change others. You can only change yourself and how you react to the world around you.

3)Bullies are EVERYWHERE. They take your lunch money on the school ground, are in the locker room in high school, take the guy/girl you worship in college, and are in the office cubicle or adjacent church pew when you are an adult.

4)Stay true to yourself and stand for what you believe in. Even if you are the only one in the room that feels that way.

5)What goes around ALWAYS comes back to you. Make sure that it is good coming your way.

6)Tell those that you love how much they mean with words AND actions EVERY DAY.

7)Think before speaking. Those nasty words can never be taken back.

8)Be happy with the little things in life. Financial tragedy can come at any time. Enjoying a board game, playing in the sprinkler, or watching falling stars doesn’t cost anything. Be thankful for what you have. Someone ALWAYS has it worse than you do.

9)Forgiveness is hard to give, but it is crucial. When there is hate and anger filling your heart, you can’t give all of your love to others. Let it go. Nothing/no one is worth all the negative anger, sleepless nights, etc. Let it go!

10)It is NEVER, NEVER, EVER too late to change your path. If you don’t like where you are right now, CHANGE IT! Go back to school, move to a new place, get a different job, start exercising & eating right, etc. JUST DO IT, ALREADY!

11)Life is too short to be surrounded by people you don’t like. If the people around you aren’t enhancing your life, they don’t need to take up space in your life. This is ESPECIALLY TRUE with those that put you down or make you feel badly about yourself. Yes, some of these people can be relatives. This statement applies to them too. If your aunt makes you feel badly about yourself, STAND UP AND TELL HER. Tell your aunt you love her, but you DO NOT DESERVE how you are being treated. Sometimes, distancing yourself is what is best for YOU.

12)Realize that you influence the lives of many – treat yourself with love and respect too. Be a friend to yourself. Pamper yourself. Love you for what you are.

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