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How to make peace with your teenage self

As far as I am concerned, I should be doing everything I can to love my teenage self so that when I am older I am not so bitter about my teenage years, right? Easier said than done - a line I use with my mother all the time. Like anyone, I have my insecurities but that doesn't mean that I cannot try to love myself. Arguably, some people see these years as the hardest of your life and at only 15 years old I don't know what's coming ahead of me, but what I do know is: I'm doing things in my time, by my rules and having my own priorities.

I am quite a deep thinker so no wonder I ponder on my life and where it is heading. Lately I've worked through some stuff - and you know what... I feel great now. I always try to find ways to rethink my life's direction so that I can grow up as happy as can be and make peace with my teenage self. This is what I came up with :

The two F words-Failure and Forgiveness 

If I may quote Winston Churchill, "Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm"-Failing is exhausting. I'm a self-proclaimed perfectionist but unfortunately, unless we fail, we learn nothing! It took me a long time to understand that life goes on. Of course success really matters and worth it but I failed because I tried and I will have to get up and try again.

As teenagers we like holding on to past bitterness and we just cannot let go. I have been working tremendously hard on my ability to forgive people who do me wrong so that I can move on. Sometimes the enormity the bruise from getting hurt impacted on you so much that you cannot let go. I have been hurt so many times by so called 'friends' and at the moment I find myself forgiving them, after which I feel so much better and start enjoying myself.

Help others understand you

With time, I've got to know myself better (as we all do), I've changed a lot, I see things differently, I dress differently and do things that maybe certain 'friends' regard as boring. Not all my peers understand me, for example I am quite vocal and will express myself and defend what I believe in and couldn't really describe myself as very introverted however I have no desire to go to social events outside of school. I'm just not interested but I find some people really struggle to understand that. I do lack self confidence because of that but I have now realised that my friends will be much more understanding if I let them in. In the past people have labelled me 'boring' because I don't go out much and socialise or don't socialise in the same way as them or go partying. What I should make my friends understand is I do treasure my time alone. I sometimes go on shopping trips alone and spending time with myself  has been a self discovery journey. The best thing you can do is to let your friends know what you are all about. You should not feel guilty about who you are or be down on yourself because others don't get you.

Figure out what makes you happy

Like I said, making peace with yourself is also about finding out what really, truly make you happy. Do things you love regardless of what others think about you. Wear what makes you happy and most importantly live in a way that you can find joy in every moment because you are happy with yourself and the people surrounding you. If you don't enjoy doing something, just stop doing it.

Record your happy moments and then look back at it: I bought a dotted notebook at that beginning of the year in which I've written anything and everything that I want to remember on the days that feel low to remind myself that we live for those moments of joy, no matter how small they may be...

photos by Ella O'Neill

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