This post is dedicated to my niece, I am so fortunate to know her. She is truly beautiful on the outside and inside, wherever she goes happiness follows.
As she is getting older, I’ve been thinking about the advice I would give a young person who is beginning to negotiate her way through life.
So here are some of my thoughts..
1.Love yourself first.
So what does this mean? You hear this term being flung around often without any explanation which would always leave me confused. My definition is – realising that you are complete as yourself and that is enough. You are whole as you are, and do not need anyone else’s approval to feel validated. Remembering that you are valuable and what YOU want is just as important as what everyone else wants. Also part of loving yourself is expressing how you feel, if you’re sad or happy allow yourself to feel these emotions. When I’m in situations where I feel stuck I ask myself some questions – What do I want? Will my decision make me happy? Am I doing this out of fear or do I really want this? In the society we live in, we are often punished for being ‘selfish’ but to take care of yourself first is not selfish, it’s self care. There’s a big difference. If you set a high standard for how you treat yourself when no one else is around, you’ll be very clear about what you expect from those people who enter your life.
2. Keep a list of your favourite qualities about yourself and read it every single day.
I do this all the time! It’s best to have a notebook and write down all the things you love about yourself. The key is to write down the attribute and then next to it, specify a time when you saw this characteristic in action. For example, ‘I am a nice person, a time when I was nice was……….’ It doesn’t need to be anything elaborate or over the top, just start with something simple.
3. Take care of your body
This is a huge one, whether you are 10 years old or 100 years old taking care of your body is very basic. However, sometimes the basics are neglected. Exercise, drink water, eat food that nourishes your body, believe me it’ll make all the difference. Also, remember to always make an effort with your appearance, clean clothes and personal hygiene is so important as it has such a huge effect on our self esteem and confidence.
4. Use your protective shield to protect yourself.
Now this is a concept I’ve only really understood in the last few years. I believe that the majority of human beings are nice people, and they are doing the best they can however it is inevitable that you will encounter unpleasant interactions with people. Nice people can be horrible and horrible people can be nice, it all depends on the state you find them in. Whether it’s your school friend, your teacher or your family – we need a way of protecting ourselves from what is being said. This could be in the form of an outright verbal attack or someones subtle comments which are negative. Every time this happens, visualise a shield coming up – you know the ones that the knights of the round table would carry and used during battles. The purpose of this should be to deflect those comments away, so they do not enter your personal space or more importantly your mind.
I’m 30 years old and I feel like I haven’t even reached my best, my perspective on life is – you are constantly growing and progressing. When you’re in your teens, it is a great time to enjoy everything about life. The little things like walking in the park, reading, spending time with friends, whatever it is – do it. The aim is to nurture your natural self. Be curious about things, there so much out there to experience.
Most importantly I would like to emphasise that challenges are a natural part of life, you will have times where you are hurt and upset. This happens to everyone, regardless of who you are but if you are able to accept the challenges and deal with them you will see that in fact these difficult times helped you develop your strength and become stronger. I have had some unbelievably upsetting times in my life, as has every single human being living on this earth. However those moments of utter despair have been my biggest learning experiences. I am stronger and wiser for the experiences I have had. I’m pretty happy with the person I’m becoming, I know there will be challenges in the future but with time I am growing in confidence and trust that I have the ability to overcome any storm. In time you’ll also see that those things that have upset you have also helped you in your journey to becoming the best version of yourself.
Most of all remember that we are not defined by the clothes we wear, or the place we live or even the friends we keep. It’s nice to have nice things, but happiness comes from accepting ourselves as we are, there is no other person walking this earth who is like you – you are the way you are meant to be and you are perfect as you are.
Create Happy Thoughts
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