Dear 16-year-old me,

I’ve grown up a lot in these past few years and boy, have I learned a lot in that time. I’ve changed so much. I’ve loved. I’ve lost. I’ve cried. I’ve partied. There’s been incredible times and there’s been times when I didn’t know if I’d make it through the day. I know so much about life and about myself now that I didn’t know then, so I’m writing to you to tell you everything I wish you knew.

1. Don’t live to work, work to live

You will spend so many hours worrying about work. About what you’re going to do—where you’re going to end up. You’ll put endless pressure on yourself to achieve and to make people proud, but in the meantime, you’ll forget to focus on things that truly make you happy.

You’re supposed to work to live—earning money to supplement a life that makes you happy. Never get in the cycle of living to work, unless your work is what truly brings you joy. You can have all the money in the world but if you’re not happy, you have nothing.

2. It’s ok to grow apart from your friends

There will be friends you have right now who you can’t ever imagine not being in your life. Sadly, you’ll grow apart from some of them. Some will change, some will have different priorities than you and some you’ll just drift apart from.

Don’t waste your time getting upset over this because it’s just a part of life. Some people don’t grow up to be who you wanted them to be and that’s fine. People grow apart; it’s sad, but it happens.

For every friend who walks out of your life, you’ll gain another incredible one at a different stage—I promise.

3. You don’t need validation from anyone but yourself

When all’s said and done, the only person you’ll have left is you.

The only person who truly needs to validate you is you. Don’t listen to fuckboys who will bring you down. Don’t listen to bitchy girls who are jealous and ignore anyone who doesn’t want the best for you.

If you’re happy, then that’s really all that matters. Pleasing you should be your number one priority.

4. It’s normal to be a little lost

There are times where you’ll feel so lost and alone with absolutely no idea where your life is headed. It will be scary and it will be hard—but here’s the secret: Absolutely everyone is lost!

You won’t realise it just yet, but everyone is in the same boat as you are, and that’s ok. Things will always work out in the end, and being lost is part of the journey.

If you don’t know what career path you want to take, what boy you like or where you see yourself next week—let alone in the next 5 years—it’s cool, you’ll work it out.

5. You’re perfect just as you are

The hours you’ll spend crying over boys hurts me to think about to this day. Thinking you’re not good enough is the worst thing you will go through and you are—you so are good enough. You’ll do crazy fad diets trying to lose a few pounds and juice cleanses to clear your skin and spend nights out worrying about how you look.

You are perfect and you are so loved—I promise you. The sooner you start to realise you’re amazing just as you are, the happier you will be.

You’re going to have some tough times ahead, but so many wonderful times, too. You’ll be blessed with incredible memories and you’ll grow into someone that I think you’ll be really proud of.

Stay strong, be true to yourself and don’t ever forget your worth.

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