We all must have experiences in order to learn and grow. It’s not always enough to read a book, or listen to family and friends preach–you simply have to figure some things out for yourself. Sometimes those lessons are easy, but often they can be hurtful, embarrassing, upsetting, and/or humiliating. A message for the young people: let me tell you…as painful as they are in the moment; you WILL survive!
I know I said it was hard sometimes to listen to yet one more adult tell you things you may have already heard, but indulge me please. I may just have something new to share.
Love Lessons and Messages For Young People
- This can apply for both men and woman, but I see it more with the ladies: Do NOT dumb yourself down for anyone! Sure it might come off as cute, but girlfriend–you are bigger than that game, stronger, and smarter than that. I know our confidence can naturally take a beating in our teens and early 20’s: don’t add fuel to the fire. Confidence, intelligence, the ability to carry on a conversation about more than the latest music or fashion trends are what make a person attractive and sexy!
- Everyone can be a leader! You don’t have to have a title to lead; you don’t have to follow the crowd to fit in when it’s something that is wrong or something with which you are uncomfortable. And guess what, everyone is NOT doing it. Girls and boys fib, quite a lot sometimes. Step up and stand out for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone in the beginning.
- Don’t over-expose yourself. Trust me that less is more. Leave some mystery about yourself and your body. There is no need to dress like you are going to work at a club and there is no need to post an over abundance of tasteless pictures on Snapchat, Twitter, FB or whatever the current social media platform of the day may be. Hormonal teenagers may think it’s sexy, but in a few years, these same men (and woman) have children and suddenly, they will be in protective mode and will warn their children to stay away from the same things they felt drawn to a few years earlier. PS: If you are under 18 and post pictures of yourself naked (and especially if you share them) and get caught–you can be charged with a felony! Did you know this? While it may seem like “innocent” fun, the potential consequences are very real! Have pride in and respect for yourself! Check here for more info: http://www.pajusticeattorneys.com/blog/2016/02/sexting-criminal-consequences-for-minors-in-pennsylvania/
- Protect your character! Your reputation is important too, but that is simply someone else’s opinion of you. Your character is who you are and how you live your life. We all make not so great decisions or make silly mistakes when growing up. What’s critical is that you hold yourself accountable for what you say and what you do. When something bad happens, take ownership, correct the issue, apologize, make amends and try not to do it again. Integrity goes a long way in this world, contrary to what you might see on TV or online.
- In addition to what was said in #3, colleges and employers often do look at what you post online–this can negatively hurt your chances at scholarships, jobs, promotions, etc.
- Get sleep, eat decently, study hard, value friendships, don’t lose sight of your faith, do volunteer work, help an older person, don’t curse all of the time. These things will serve you well in your future.
- Don’t get so annoyed at nagging parents; they do it because they care for and love you. I know, there are extremely overprotective parents and extremely negligent parents (please reach out to a friend, teacher, pastor, etc. for help), but most are simply there to teach and guide you. Cut them some slack. In a few years, they just may be one of your best friends.
- LOVE YOURSELF! Oh my young friends–I know it’s tough when you might still have some baby fat, or a bunch of acne, or you are shorter or taller than your friends or you don’t have the latest in designer clothes or a car at 16. You can’t see it now, but trust me…NONE of these things will matter in a few years. You cannot love others in a healthy way if you first don’t love yourself.
- Do NOT find comfort in food, alcohol, drugs, or sex. Talk with a trusted adult, ask for assistance in finding a counselor who specializes in young adult scenarios. You can email me if you need to: I will listen and help you find the support you need. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Report any type of abuse (emotional, physical, sexual) immediately to a trusted adult or to the police. Remove yourself from this relationship as quickly as possible. Abuse (from men or women) is NOT love, and this behavior will not stop without excessive counseling. Please do not end up as a statistic. Contact your local crisis intervention hotline for help or if in the Pittsburgh area, please contact me if you need to know where to turn. You never have to live in this way.
- Love who you love. If you are straight, that’s wonderful, but if you are homosexual or lesbian or bi-sexual, or if you love someone of a different race, that’s wonderful too! Do NOT listen to those who think that you can be “cured”. Yes, I won’t lie, you may face harsh criticism, bullying, upset parents, upset people of a different race because you can’t understand their culture, but, guess what? It doesn’t matter. You are perfectly and wonderfully made and are a being created to give and receive beautiful light and love during your life.
- Don’t rush into relationships just to have a boyfriend or girlfriend; there is plenty of time for dating. Enjoy your friends and hanging out in groups, enjoy school. Even though it can be a struggle and is often filled with unnecessary drama, you typically will look back on these years fondly.
- Don’t be in such a hurry to be an adult. Yes, it has its perks, but it comes with a whole new set of stresses, responsibilities and worries and you will long for the days of your youth.
- Be friends with people of the opposite sex. Yes, platonic relationships are possible; some of my best friends are guys. They will stand up for you, you can learn a lot from them, and generally, it’s just fun!
- Learn to live authentically–true to yourself. Be honest, humble, compassionate, and kind. I can’t make any guaranties but if you can commit to some of these, I am pretty confident you will live a pretty happy life filled with friends and love. It’s not always easy, you will get hurt, but you will be able to pick yourself up a bit easier and help to inspire others!