A Message for Teenagers

Learn to Love who you are

 

 

 

As a teenager, in addition to becoming more independent, you are likely to start being more aware of your body, the changes that are occurring and maybe even comparing your physical shape to others, either those that are in your school, friendship group, family or even those whom you see via social media.

During this time that it’s so important that you remember that everybody is different, each and every one of us is unique and this needs to be celebrated. Do you know how amazing that is? Just think about it – out of 7 billion people in the world not one other person has your hair, your teeth, your brains, your face, your personality, or your fingerprints – it’s time to start appreciating this and celebrating uniqueness not perfection.

A very famous man and former President of the USA, Theodore Roosevelt, said a long time ago that “Comparison is the thief of Joy”. This is so true and supports what I said at the beginning of this post, let us embrace who we are and learn to love who we are!

As a teenager this is such a crucial message for you to hear. With social media now, there is so much pressure to look a certain way, get more likes and of course compare yourself to others, but by doing this you can damage your self-confidence, happiness, and health. You can end up being so worried about being perfect rather than unique that it can damage not only your physical health but your mental health too. Whilst social media can be great in many ways, for keeping in touch with friends, enjoying the places that people visit or finding people to follow who inspire you, it can also have a very dark side. It is important to understand that and be aware of how easy it is to get swept along with the picture of perfection. The truth of the matter is that if you are wishing to look like someone else, then the chances are they will also be wishing they looked like some else too!

As teenagers it is important that you embrace your uniqueness and start to focus on you, to have a healthy lifestyle which includes not only your physical health but your mental health too. So how can you do this – well below are a few tips to get you started.

Tip 1: Focus on what you love about yourself.

Think about what you love about yourself, this can be anything at all –

  • is it the colour of your hair?
  • your strong nails?
  • your nose?
  • your eyes?
  • your legs? as they keep you moving.
  • your ears?

No matter who we are we can all dig deep and find something we like about ourselves. Once you have thought about what you love, think about why you love these things. For example, do you love you legs as they help you run or dance, your hair as it feels good when it blows in the wind, or your eyes because they allow you to see everything around you.

Tip 2: Change your focus

So instead of focusing on what your body looks like, start thinking about what your body can actually do. Whilst your nose may be a shape that you love or loathe just think that without it you wouldn’t be able to smell the changes in the seasons, someone’s perfume or aftershave, your favourite meal being cooked or the smell of flowers in the garden and what about all the amazing parts of your body that you can’t actually see – seriously what about your heart – it is amazing when you think about it, this muscle beats about 100, 000 times a day, doesn’t that deserve a “like”.

Tip 3: Sleep

As a teenager you may think that you can keep going for hours with little sleep, but the truth is that the recommended amount of sleep for teenagers is 8-10 hours per day. During this time, your body recharges itself so that it can keep you going and enjoy all the activities you do on a daily basis.

Tip 4: Eat Healthy (and maybe with family too).

Ensure that you eat healthily, do not just eat what everyone else likes to fit in – if you like olives, fish, certain vegetables, and fruit then eat them, just because others don’t enjoy then why should you miss out on eating what you like. Whilst you may rather eat hidden away in your bedroom or den, taking mouthfuls of food in between interacting with friends on-line do not make it a habit, make it a treat. Whilst you may not always want to eat with family like you use to – it can be enjoyable, fun, and sociable. A time when you can be you!

So, my wish is that as teenagers we are taught to love who we are and remove the pressure to look a certain way and dare I say that instead of idolizing the people who take part in Reality TV Shows, aspire to be like the athlete like Emma Raducanu or Professor Sarah Gilbert the woman who helped design the oxford vaccine.

Remember that the key to happiness is genuinely loving who we are!