No matter which part of the world you live in, teenage years are always challenging. The hormonal and physical changes, the desire to fit in, and the general confusion that we had during these years make us feel thankful that it’s all over. As we grow older, we slowly learn that some things are not as important as they appeared to be or vice versa.
To remind us of how much we’ve grown, we asked five people from around the world what they wish they could tell their younger selves.
Iulia, Romania: “Love yourself.”
“Dear teenage me, love yourself. You don’t need others’ approval to do it. The opinions of other people don’t define who you are. You can be lovable without them.”
Aymen, Tunisia: “Take care of your health and be patient.”
“Dear teenage me, don’t forget to take care of your physical and mental health. You will have the urge to study and work hard all the time, but you won’t get there if you get sick. Remember to exercise regularly, eat healthy food, and take some breaks when you feel tired.
I know you want everything to be fast and have immediate results. Unfortunately, that’s not how life works. Some things might feel pointless now, but later on, you will see how even the most random events are going to fit into your life story. So please, be patient.”
Abiem, Indonesia: “Be brave to apologize.”
“Dear teenage me, don’t forget to say sorry. You are young and full of passion, so sometimes you say mean things you don’t mean to. Own your mistake, then apologize. It’s a good habit that will help you in adulthood.”
Mafalda, Portugal: “Believe in yourself and be confident of who you are.”
“Dear teenage me, stop thinking that you’re not talented enough. Be brave to take new opportunities because they will help you advance and give you unforgettable experiences. Just because you can’t do something now doesn’t mean you will never be able to do it. Give yourself some time to learn.
You might feel out of place now because you have different interests than your classmates. Don’t worry about it! When you get older, you can finally choose the environment that suits you better and surround yourself with like-minded people.”
Omer, Pakistan: “It’s okay to be alone.”
“Dear teenage me, please don’t force yourself to look “cool” by doing things that make you uncomfortable. Your comfort should be the priority. The truth is, it’s much better to be alone than surrounded by bad company. Stay true to yourself! Good friends would never want you to feel awful.”
As we can see here, things change for the better as time goes by. So if you are in a bad place today, better days will come.
Is there anything else you would say to your teenage self?