We’ve all heard that one before. Everyone says it. You have been told this by your parents, your grandparents, teachers, celebrities, friends, drunken hobos on the street… We know, we knowwww, and yet, why do we find it so hard to do?
As a teenager, I went through many “phases”. I had my “punk” phase, where I wore red plaid bellbottoms, a bright yellow “Bob the Builder” tshirt (don’t ask!), stacked bracelets, spikes, skulls. I had my “goth” phase, where I dyed my hair pitch black, wore red eyeliner and nothing but black and lace, and never smiled. I had my good-girl phase, my rebellious phase, my crazy girl phase, my loud phase, my quiet phase, my eye-rolling phase, my no-homework phase, my going out phase, my binge-drinking phase… you name it, I was it. I tried them all. None of them seemed right. Nothing I did made me happy, or made me feel like I belonged. Nothing “fit” right.
Our teenage years are the years where we learn about life, and where we truly learn about ourselves. Those are the years where we learn (hopefully) who we are. I definitely wouldn’t be who I am today if I hadn’t been all those other versions of myself first, and I truly believe that. All my mistakes (and believeeeee me, there were more than enough…), all my adventures, my blackouts, my hangovers, my assignments, my deadlines, my triumphs, my failures, my disappointments, my heartbreaks, my tears, my smiles, they all brought me to the point where I am today, and for that, I am grateful. If you asked me “would you go back and do anything differently?”, I might say “yes”, but who knows where I’d be right now? It is thanks to (or maybe despite) everything that has happened in my life that I am the Laura that I am right now! Without making all the mistakes I have made, and without all the knowledge, and without pushing through all the difficult times, I don’t think I would be ME!
I’m definitely not done growing and learning. I feel like every part of my life is a small journey, a chapter maybe, in the big huge adventure that is my LIFE. Every day I learn more and more about myself. Every day I wake up and make it a point to make this day better than the last. I’m constantly striving to improve myself, whether it be physically, athletically, mentally, spiritually. I don’t want to stop growing, I don’t want to stay put and be complacent. I want MORE. I want to DO MORE and to BE MORE, and I know now that in order to become the best version of myself, I need to let go of anything that isn’t right for me. I can’t move on or make positive changes without truly being ME.
It isn’t easy, knowing what to let go of, or actually doing it. I’ve had to make some hard decisions. Being true to myself didn’t come easy. I’m an extremely loving and trusting person, and I can be very naive. I had to let go of many negative people who I thought were great friends, and that was really hard for me. It made me sad for a very long time. It still makes me sad some days, but I know it was for the best for everyone. We just weren’t right for each other. I couldn’t grow or move on while being held back, and that’s a really important thing to realize. It isn’t easy letting go of friendships, but sometimes you have to, and it isn’t a bad thing.
And now, for some classic cheesy Laura rambling…. 🙂 Stay with me!
Never let anyone’s opinion of you define who you are. Let all your failures, mistakes and triumphs teach you and guide you. Release the negativity from your life, whether it be in the form of a bad habit or the wrong friends. Open yourself up spiritually. I don’t mean that you need to go to church or start praying, I mean open your heart up to the world and to yourself. Make a conscious effort every day to LOVE YOURSELF. Before making a decision, before saying “yes” or “no”, before choosing something, ask yourself, “do I TRULY want this? Will this make me a better person? Is this ME?”. Who cares about what everyone else is doing? Don’t pay attention to that. Don’t let the trends, the fashions, the popular things become more important than YOU. Don’t let anyone ever tell you who you should be. Keep learning, keep making mistakes, keep dusting yourself off and getting back up. Every time you do, you are learning more and more about yourself. Don’t shut your ears or eyes off from what your soul and your spirit is trying to teach you. Allow yourself to listen. Be still a few moments every day and regenerate. Recharge your body, connect to yourself. Unplug your phone and tv and computer and log into yourself! Don’t beat yourself up when you stumble down the wrong path. Just find a way to get back onto the right one. Mistakes are human. Just don’t let one mistake derail you and let you give up. NEVER GIVE UP! Believe in your strength and your power. You have much more than you realize. You are more than you realize and give yourself credit for. Trust yourself. Make yourself happy, and then, and only then, can you truly make others happy, too.