What I Wish I Knew at 16

In a time of thinspo and juice cleanses, youtubers and Instagram fame the pressure on teens to meet unattainable levels of perfection is at an all time high. Barbie Ferreira, a size 12 model recently appeared un-retouched for American Eagle Outfitters. When interviewed by Elle, Barbie stated “you were not put on this earth to do everything to be sexually appealing to people.” This is one of many things I wish I knew in high school.

Self-worth is something I have always struggled with. In high school, I preferred to play piano in the music room and disappear into books in the library at lunch time. I never felt like I really belonged among the friends I had and decided as a result that I mustn’t belong anywhere. This kind of thinking is harmful. The stories we tell ourselves stay with us well after high school. Make your story a positive one.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Beauty is about being confident in yourself and your abilities. Be proud of what you are good at. Work with your body. Wear what you like. Find your own personal style and rock it.

You don’t need to know right now what you are going to do with the rest of your life.

Who you are at 16 will be completely different to who you are at 28. Focus on your studies. Give yourself the widest possible range of options so that when you graduate you will be able to make educated decisions about what you might pursue.

Read everything.

Crushes will come and go. True friends will stick around. Enjoy young love for what it is and not for what you think you need to be to obtain it. Don’t do anything you aren’t comfortable doing. Don’t change yourself to suit others. Make sure you are your first priority.

Ignore haters. It’s likely that those who target you are simply unhappy with themselves.

Be kinder than you have to be.

Don’t let others define who you are. It’s ok to let go of toxic relationships. It’s ok to say no.

Make the most of school. Play sports. Try drama, music, dance and know that ultimately, the only person who is responsible for your happiness is you, so, above all, be kind to yourself.

 
  Haylee Read - CONTRIBUTOR

Haylee Read - CONTRIBUTOR