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An Honest And Open Letter To My 16 Year Old Self

An Honest And Open Letter To My 16 Year Old Self

Here is an open letter to myself when I was 16 years old. A lot has changed since then and here is what I would tell my younger self.

Being a teenager is genuinely one of the most difficult things I’ve encountered so far in my brief life. You’re emotional, confused, struggling through exams, crushes, unfamiliar emotions, and, on top of everything, you’ve been told these are the best years of your life. For me, that wasn’t true, but they might have been a little better if I’d known these things back then. Here is an open letter to my 16 year old self.

1. No One is Looking at You

I know, this one seems obvious in an open letter, but if someone had just sat me down and said kindly: ‘I promise no one is looking at your spots, or that flyaway piece of hair, or your stomach, legs, or any other part of you’, I would have probably walked with far more confidence. It took me until I was 18 to realise people are way more absorbed in their own lives to even notice that your lipstick is a little smudged, and that’s a fact. Wear what you like and walk without fear, and try to remember that if people are looking, it’s probably in a positive way.

2. Pretending to Like Things Will Only Get You So Far

Another major one in my open letter– a lot of people I knew changed as soon as they hit 13, and a lot of them pretended to like things just to fit in. I did a bit of this myself and changed my taste in music to impress a boy I knew deep down would never like me back. I would giggle stupidly, attempt to twirl my hair, and then feel like an idiot because doing these things were so unlike me, but the magazines told me I should, and so I did. Don’t do what I did – you want people to like you for you, not for the person you’ve fabricated for them to fall in love with.


3. Your Problems Are Important

You will always encounter people who think you’re overreacting, and maybe you are, but that doesn’t make your problems any less real. Friendship problems, relationship problems, issues with mental health and schoolwork – they’re all important issues that don’t become any less important because you’re young. I spent most of my teenage years bottling up how I felt because I was worried my parents would dismiss my problems or talk about them to other people and I didn’t feel any better for it. Always talk to someone you trust about how you feel because as they say, a problem shared is a problem halved!

4. Your School Friends Don’t Have to Be Friends for Life

A lot of teenagers think that the friends they have at school will be their friends forever and ever, but a lot of the time this really isn’t the case. When you go to college or university, or even when you start a new job or apprenticeship, your friendship group will naturally start to drift apart as you develop different interests and meet new people. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and you will retain some of your friends – one of my closest friends is someone I’ve known since I was 4 – but putting pressure on your friends to stay friends forever will have the opposite effect of what you want and can cause an awkward rift.

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5. Do NOT Let Your Friend Dye Your Hair

Okay, so this one in my open letter is a little specific. Seriously though, if you’re thinking of dying your hair, never go for permanent straight away, and always make sure your friend actually knows what they are doing. You could end up with streaky red stripes, or stringy yellow hair that is the opposite of the lustrous, shining blonde the box dye promised. I’m all for experimentation, but make sure you do a trial run first unless you want to look back at photos of you from that time and wonder oh god, what was I thinking?

I can’t go back in time and tell my 16-year-old self these thing, but if you’re a teenager reading this then I promise you it will get better. All of the angst and the sorrow and the in-between you’re feeling right now will fade away. Allow yourself to grow as a person, to go through silly phases, to laugh loudly and wear that bright eyeshadow, because that’s what being a teenager is all about – expressing yourself and learning what works for you!

Have you ever written yourself an open letter? Let us know in the comments below!

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