If I could talk to my teenage self, I would say…
You are worth more.
Don’t let other people define your value. Don’t let boys define your value. Don’t let your body, your appearance, your talents, or your popularity define your value. Because you are worth more. You are worth more than they understand. You are worth more than YOU understand. And nothing you do, nothing you have done, can ever change that.
You are not a failure.
Everyone makes mistakes. You will never achieve complete perfection, and one day you will have to learn to be okay with that. So why not start now? Learn to embrace your mistakes and to let them transform you, rather than hating and punishing yourself for them. You may have experienced some failures in your life, but YOU are not a failure. You are a human. Accept that, and let your past failings steer you towards a better, brighter future.
It’s okay to ask questions.
There are some things that you have “known to be true” your whole life that you are questioning right now, and that’s okay. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that it’s not okay to ask questions or to have doubts. That is normal. It’s a part of discovering yourself. So don’t be discouraged by your confusion, or let your questions and doubts derail you from the convictions in your heart. Rather, let them drive you to find the answers that you are searching for. It may take a lifetime, but it is a worthy pursuit. Because no one else can tell you what to believe. You have to find that for yourself.
You don’t have to do it alone.
Life can be so lonely when you’re a teenager. You don’t think anyone will understand, you expect everyone to judge and desert you, so you isolate yourself as a means of protection. But the thing is, people actually care. They may not have walked in your shoes, but they have faced their own hardships and challenges. They understand pain. And they can walk with you through this. So find someone. Preferably, find someone a bit older, who has experienced a bit more life and who can help you navigate through the mess. Find a youth leader, or a teacher, or a coach, or a counselor, or a family friend who you trust, and talk to them. Let them in and let them help you. You don’t have to do it alone.
You’re going to be okay.
You are going to get through this. You are going to survive. And, believe it or not, you are going to conquer the demons that you are facing right now. It’s going to take some time, and it’s going to take a whole lot of faith. But you’re going to do it. So don’t give up. Give yourself permission to believe that you’re going to be okay. Because one day, years from now, your life will tell the story of how you overcame the impossible. And when that happens, you will look back on this season in your life and you will whisper to your 15-year-old heart, “I get it now. It really is going to be okay.”