Dear Teenage Girl, Learn To Love The Person In The Mirror

Dear Teenage Girl, Learn To Love The Person In The Mirror

Stop being your own worst enemy.
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You yearned for your thirteenth birthday. On that day, you could finally announce to the world that you are officially a teenager. What exactly is the draw of being a teenager? Maybe it's the idea of more independence and adventure. Maybe it's the hope of going on a first date and getting that first kiss. Despite all of these exciting prospects, however, you quickly realized that the reality of being a teenager doesn't quite match the dream you had of it.

You never prepared yourself for the first time someone called you ugly -- and actually meant it. You never would have guessed that one day you would look in the mirror and hate what you saw. You never expected that you could feel so alone and misunderstood. The fact is, the best parts of being a teenager are often hidden beneath all of the uncertainty and insecurity. In all likelihood, the mirror has become your enemy and an ally to that voice inside your head that is always tearing you down. But here's the thing: You can and should learn to love the person staring back at you in the mirror because that person is beautiful and completely unique. It's not as difficult as it may seem.

Take control over that voice in your head. They're your own thoughts and you can change them for better or for worse. When you look in the mirror, force that voice to say something positive rather than something negative. You can see all your flaws staring you in the face because you know yourself better than anyone else. Practice looking at yourself the way others see you, and that voice will almost certainly find something good to say about you. In the same way you see everything that's good about other people, so do other people see you.

Believe people when they call you pretty. I understand how hard it is to listen when people call you pretty, I do. You automatically assume they are lying to try and make you feel better or to flatter you. Stop doing that. People tell you that you look pretty because you do. The fact that you think of yourself as ugly has no bearing on how other people perceive you. Learn to take compliments, especially from the people that know you and love you. They are sincere.

Understand the mean girl's motive. I know that there is that one girl, maybe several girls, in your life who takes every chance she can to make you feel bad about yourself. Perhaps she is subtle about it, making snide comments about something you're wearing or how you did your hair. Perhaps she talks about you behind your back to other girls and you overhear it. Whichever way she mounts her attacks, just know this: That girl struggles with the same feelings you do. Anyone who feels the need to constantly bash others cannot possibly have a good self-image. You might have much more in common with that mean girl than you think.

Most importantly, listen when people tell you that what's on the inside counts the most. You've heard people say this over and over again. You are sick and tired of being told that having a good personality trumps having good looks. But I'm here to tell you that it is 100 percent true. As I've grown older, I've come to realize that I value kindness much more than "beauty." I think my friends are absolutely gorgeous, of course, but that's not the reason I like them at all. Who cares if someone looks fabulous if they act awfully? You should be striving to make that person in the mirror someone who will bring joy to people.

Learning to love the person you see in the mirror is a struggle that every teenage girl experiences. But if you know what is most important in life, then that lesson is an easier one to learn. Understand that being considered pretty is not what life is about. If you make life about having good looks, you won't live a happy or satisfied life. Instead, be a true friend to the people who need it most and focus on all of the people in your life who care about you. They care about you because you are who you are, and they would hate it if you changed. When you look in the mirror, smile, because the person there is more than a beautiful face. Smile because the person there is a beautiful person.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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Your Health Journey Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Perfection takes time.

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When you first start to do something, you have all of the motivation in the world to accomplish that goal set out in front of you, especially when it comes to being healthier. The problem is as you continue through this journey and food and laziness kick in, motivation slips. It's human, and it happens to everyone no matter how physically strong they are.

Trying to be healthier doesn't always mean losing weight. It can be so your knees don't ache as much, so you don't feel as out of breath climbing stairs, or any goal you have set for yourself. Being healthier is personal and different from person to person.

I will be the first to admit that there are plenty of changes I would love to make about myself. From my weight to my body type and many other things about myself inside and out. I am by no means the most confident person about how I look, but I have worked hard for the past year to be an overall healthier person.

Becoming healthier isn't about looking thinner or fitting into a specific size of clothes. It is about taking care of yourself from eating better to working out more. There comes a feeling of confidence in what your body can do if you put a little love in it.

Perfection takes time, and I know firsthand how frustrating trying to be healthier can be.

Pizza tastes so much better than salad. It is so easy to fall into a rhythm of something that seems never to change whether that is your weight or your mile time. Sadly, you can't build a city, or become healthier overnight.

We see people who are thinner, curvier, smarter, faster, and so much more than us. We all waste time comparing ourselves to people around us and on our timelines, but some of our biggest strengths are our individuality and the gift of getting back up after falling down.

All I can say is, please don't give up on your goal of being healthier because this is solely for you. We can have a great support system in the world and have everyone in our corner, but that isn't enough.

You need yourself. You need to know that if you don't entirely put yourself in this journey, then you won't fully succeed. Your commitment to bettering yourself can keep you going even if you want to give up.

Your motivation may not be at its peak level right now, and you may have every cell in your body screaming at you to quit. Don't do it. Prove to yourself that you can keep going no matter what. Not giving up will be worth it. The results and taking the hard way will make you a stronger person inside and out.

You can do this. You can do anything you want to accomplish if you just believe in yourself. You need to understand that becoming healthier takes endurance. There will be periods where you slow down and may not be going at your fastest pace. The difference is that you are not giving up and you are still trying and moving.

Don't treat becoming healthier as a sprint: short term and quick. That mentality will only leave you feeling deflated and defeated. It is a life-long marathon of pacing yourself and pushing yourself further than ever before.

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