8 Things I Wish I Knew as a Teenager
I haven’t been a teenager in over a decade but if I can go back in time, boy would I give myself some advice. As a teen, I sought most of my advice online but there are some things you have to learn from experience.
I don’t regret anything I had to grow through, however, if I can save some time, pain, and frustration for the next teen then why not.
Here are 8 things I wish I knew as a teen:
1. Do not set expectations in your head for others.
I would set expectations in my head for how I thought people should act. This led to major disappointments when things did not turn out as I thought it should. Do not set yourself up like this.
For one, it is not fair to hold others accountable to your expectations because you do not know what they are going through.
Number two, sometimes people are bound to disappoint and that’s okay. This shouldn’t ruin you.
2. It is possible to have a relationship with God outside of church.
I mentioned in my “How God Drew Me Closer to Him” video that when I was younger I did not really know God outside of church.
Honestly, I barely knew who He was when I was in church. I did not develop a close relationship with Him until my late 20s and this was before I even started going to church.
It’s nice to see nowadays teens striving to get to know God for themselves and I wish I would have had that when I was younger. It would have helped develop my understanding of the world we live in.
3. Find who you are outside of your friends and parents.
It is easy to form your identity from who your parents and friends are. This is a huge no-no! I wish I knew myself outside of the people around me. Spend time getting to know YOUR dislikes, likes, interests, hobbies, talents, and passion while you are young.
This can even help lead you to a career you love and not something you are doing just because your parents told you to. Find your identity from who God says you are in the Bible (the book of Ephesians is a good start) and from getting to know yourself as an individual.
4. Do not let bullies make you feel insecure.
Now, this is easier said than done. How can you not feel insecure if someone is picking on you? I have learned from time and experience that bullies are broken people who do not know how to properly express themselves.
It is true that “hurt people hurt people” but not every hurt person will look for someone to pick on to cover up their pain so that is no excuse. You have to understand as the one that is being picked on that their words are stemming from unresolved issues in their heart.
People who are happy and secure with themselves have absolutely no reason to bully others. Pray for your enemies and do not let their words make you feel any less than who God says you are. If someone is physically harming you, you must seek the help of an adult.
5. Speak up for yourself.
This is something I am still learning how to do along with how to say no. I grew up avoiding confrontation because of the many battles I faced in my household. This left me as somewhat of a pushover and I hate it!
If you feel that pull inside that you need to speak up for yourself then do it because you will regret it later if you don’t. Know when it is appropriate to say yes and learn that it is okay to say no. Stop caring about what others will think. You will be responsible if something happens that you did not like.
6. Seek a mentor or counselor.
As a teenager, you will need someone to talk to outside your parents and friends. One thing I wish I had so much was a mentor.
A mentor is there to provide you with guidance and support. They will help you feel like life is not actually caving in on you because most likely they also been through similar situations.
If you have been through some trauma, then talk to your parents about seeing a counselor or therapist. These are assets that will benefit you in the long-run.
7. It is okay to grow apart as friends.
The number of friends you keep in your 20s from middle and high school may be few and far in-between. You may end up going to different colleges, choosing different career paths, moving, or developing new interests.
Before you know it, the friends you saw in high school every day, you’ll be lucky if you guys talked once a week on the phone. It’s okay if you drift apart or make new friends. It is a part of life.
8. Bad times do not last forever.
I’ve spent a lot of time depressed as a teenager. There were moments where I felt like life was not worth all these struggles. This is not true. You will also face moments of joy and moments when you feel like you are fighting just to make it the next day.
When I thought it was all over and the worst was yet to come, I made it through. You will too. Each trying situation, I’ve made it out a better version of myself.