By Ann Dillard, LMFT
At 13, the world seems infinite and intimidating, full of promise and pitfalls. Looking back, there are lessons many of us wish we could have grasped earlier, illuminating our path with self-love and assurance. Here are five truths I wish I had known then and I hope every young soul embraces today.
1. My Uniqueness Was a Gift to the World
At 13, the longing to fit in can be overwhelming, with the fear of standing out and being perceived as 'different.' Yet, our distinct qualities, thoughts, dreams, and quirks make us special. Every unique aspect of us enriches the world's tapestry. Embracing our individuality rather than conforming to expectations is where genuine power lies.
2. I Was Not a Burden
Adolescence often brings with it a swirl of emotions, questions, and desires. During these times, it's easy to feel our feelings are too intense or burdensome for others. However, every feeling we have is valid. We're never an inconvenience for expressing our needs, fears, or joys.
3. My Voice Was Important
Whether in class, at home, or with friends, I wish I'd known that my thoughts and opinions were worthy of being heard. Speaking up, asking questions, or voicing concerns doesn't make one annoying or disrespectful. Our voices are tools of change, bridges of connection, and beacons of authenticity.
4. I Was Beautiful
Not just in the mirror but in every laugh, every tear, and every moment of wonder. Beauty isn't just skin deep; it's woven into our essence. The standards set by magazines or peers are fleeting, but the beauty of being genuine, kind, curious, and resilient is timeless.
5. I Didn’t Need Outside Validation
The quest for validation, especially in the age of social media, can feel never-ending. Yet, the only validation that truly matters comes from within. Seeking external affirmation can sometimes lead us astray. Our worth isn't dependent on the number of likes, our friends, or the accolades we receive. It's inherent and unshakable.
To My Younger Self and Every 13-Year-Old Today
Knowing these truths wouldn't have shielded me from every heartbreak or challenge, but it would have offered a sturdier foundation of self-belief and love. It's never too late to embrace these lessons, to look in the mirror and see the wonder that's been there all along.
Stay connected with the Daughters HEAL journey for shared wisdom, insights, and a community that understands and uplifts.