I regularly talk about my feelings of inadequacy that often plagued me during the years whilst I was a teenager. In fact many of these feelings carried on through to my adult life.
But let’s face it – I am not alone. Many people are unable to resolve those old childhood emotions of low self worth.
Do not mistake the fact that just because many of us feel bad about ourselves, that we must have had a tortuous childhood. This is just not the case. My parents were both loving and supportive throughout my adolescence. But still, I was crippled with confidence issues.
At 16 years old, I was like many other young people – full of bravado, but secretly terrified.
I was worried about my appearance, worried about what other people thought of me and hell bent on meeting other people’s expectations, rather than my own.
How I wish that I had known it would all turn out okay.
So I have compiled a list of 36 pointers to my 16 year old, younger self (conveniently 36 years my junior, at time of writing.)
“Why spend your whole life trying to fit in,
when you were born to stand out?”
1. Stop trying to please others.
2. You can be exactly who you want to be. That is the fact.
3. What you focus on you attract. I believe that Your Thoughts Become Your Actions. So think positively in a way that serves you best.
4. Be your authentic self. As Dr. Seuss said : “Why spend your whole life trying to fit in, when you were born to stand out?”
5. Continue with the piano lessons.
6. Just because you don’t like Games at school, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy exercise. Persevere and find something that you love doing. You will thank me for this.
7. Your weight does not define you. Stop dieting. It doesn’t work. Once you start liking yourself your body shape changes anyway. Not fitting into the Fairy outfit for the NSPCC Christmas Party ( aged 7 ) might have felt like the end of the world – but you got through it. Just because you feel fatter than everyone else does not mean they are better than you. I promise.
8. Don’t try out for the school butterfly team. You will end up swimming a lot and this will shape your body in the future. For the rest of your life you will hate your “wide back and massive shoulders.” ( I am doing you a favour here. )
9. Those butterflies you feel in your tummy when you are tongue tied and cannot concentrate – it’s called nerves. It is not love. Do not mistake the two.
10. Those bitches and bullies at school, have more insecurities than you ever imagine. Their unkindness to you is all about their own crap – not yours.
What other people think of you is none of your business.
11. Don’t try so hard to be liked. What other people think of you is none of your business.
12. You are totally loveable.
13. When adults let you down ( and they will ) – don’t immediately think it’s your fault. In many cases it’s not. Adults too are fallible. They also get it wrong.
When that teacher in the classroom tells Mum & Dad that “Caroline will not set the Thames on fire!” … Get up and walk out. Do not listen to her. SHE IS NOT THE EXPERT.
14. The “Adam Ant look” is not a flattering one and neither are puffball skirts. ( Oh! Neither is the 80’s perm … see photo )
15. There is no such thing as failure – only feedback. Failure is a part of success. It shows that at the very least, you have tried. Failure is not a sign of weakness. We learn best when we make mistakes – it’s part of our development.
This includes doing Double Maths at A-level. A prime example of taking bad advice and not following your ‘calling’.
16. You should always stick to following your passion. Just because you are good at something doesn’t mean you enjoy it … and most definitely does not mean should follow it as a future life choice.
Everything Happens for a Reason.
17. Everything Happens for a Reason.
The fact that you “fail” to get into St. Andrews University to read Maths is in fact a blessing. You go on to meet the love of your life in Bristol.
18. Alcohol does not solve your problems. It will just add to them.
19. You will never change your laugh. That’s okay.
20. Learn to accept compliments.
21. Whenever you get the opportunity, place a bet on Red Rum to win. ( Bet sensibly folks )
22. They say in life the only things you regret are the things that you don’t do. So, stay out of the rat race for as long as possible. You never truly settle in the corporate world anyway. You always feel like an outsider.
Young adults in their early 20’s you have more opportunity to have fun and to take risks. Generally speaking there are fewer responsibilities. My advice to you is : Travel. This is one of your regrets that you settled for a job and a car instead of travelling.
Don’t wait until you’re old enough – don’t wait until you can afford it. That time rarely seems to materialise.
“Life is not a Dress Rehearsal.”
23. Dad always said “Life is not a Dress Rehearsal.” He always encouraged you not to stand in the wings. Oh boy! How right he was.
24. Love is what makes the world go round. Family is the most important thing. They are your “Standing Stone.”
25. Value your friends and be a good one in return. ( Actually you are doing this already – just keep going. ) But don’t be led astray so much!
26. Always steer clear of gossip. It’s not big and it’s not clever.
27. You are a great judge of character – keep trusting this too.
28. Taking the corner in 4th gear at 30mph does not end well. Likewise – do not open the car door in car washes.
29. Your sense of humour is refreshing and fun. Your children will inherit that characteristic ( YES! You get married and have kids. ) Please refer to point 12 above.
30. Granny always used to say “Do As You Would Be Done By.” She was damn right. Be kind. Be polite. It costs nothing.
31. Don’t turn down opportunities just because you doubt yourself. Everyone else doubts themselves as well. Follow Sir Richard Branson’s advice : “Screw it! Let’s Do It!”
32. Trust your gut – every time. It is your inner compass and never lets you down. Sometimes you have ignored it – to your detriment.
33. When Mum & Dad keep sending you to have golf lessons. Pay attention and practice. You will wish you did.
34. No-one is really paying attention to you and your shortcomings. Invariably, they’re more concerned on how they are doing anyway.
35. When your parents are on your back; this is because – truly – they are the only ones who do have your back – unconditionally.
36. Gratitude Works.
Lots of Love BabyGirl. You’re doing just fine.
( Yes. Your nickname sticks. )
Cai’s ultimate driver is to empower Parents and Young People to navigate the minefield of Adolescence.
By making a few small changes, you can live your lives harmoniously and respectfully – together.
Cai prides herself in facilitating people to Live Their Lives Out Loud – because it matters. When all said and done – it’s personal.
Getting your Head Around You.
For more information please contact Cai : firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02891853478.
Want to Feel More Confident about Your Parenting Skills?
Get your FREE copy of my A-Ok Confidence Builder ebook to help equip you with strategies to face Parenting challenges head on