I knew it would be hard when I left for college, but I miss you more than I could miss anything on this earth.
I miss our car rides and jam sessions. I miss picking you up from school and Dunkin' dates. I miss sleepovers and Sunday morning breakfast. I miss movie nights and binge watching tv shows. I miss our spontaneous adventures and our nights-in together. I miss your smile and your laugh. I miss living with you. I miss being by your side and watching you grow up.
And now you're at the end of middle school and heading to high school. Well, let me tell you, high school is something else. It'll be the place where you have good friends, bad friends, good teachers, and bad teachers.
High school is the start of learning who you are and who you want to be. It's a time where "fitting in" seems like the biggest feat. It's a time where you'll find your strengths and a time where you'll find your weaknesses. Both are truly important, I promise. It's a time of community and embracing your uniqueness.
So, here's my big sis survival guide:
Don't be too hard on yourself.
It's so easy to be your own biggest critic. Living in a performance-based environment makes it hard to not compare and fall into a degrading mindset. But, live life day by day and enjoy the time you have. It goes by so unbelievably fast. You'll one day be looking back and asking where it all went. Take advantage of the opportunities, teachers, clubs, and people that come with the rest of middle school and high school. I found my greatest relationships and memories when I let go of "what I didn't have" and embraced what I did have. Find those things that you do have and use them to achieve your goals.
Grades are not everything.
I know it seems like it now, but grades do not define you. I know it's easy to find your worth in your school performance, but that will not be constant for you, I promise. If you depend on your grades and let your grades affect your mood constantly, you'll never be satisfied. Failing is a part of life. I know you work so hard for the grades you receive, and I am so so proud of you for that. Embrace your failures and built on your mistakes. You can't change that one grade or assignment, but you can change how you will act and improve. Don't dwell on what you can't change. There is so much more to high school and the rest of your life than big red letters on your tests. Find consistent things and run after them because you will find more value and accomplishment in those, I promise.
Remember, you are the only person that has to live with yourself for your entire life, physically and mentally. Look in the mirror and tell yourself who you are and who you are becoming. If you can't tell that to yourself, find people who can surround you with that truth. You are beautiful in so many ways and that will never change. I know from experience that putting yourself down does more than lower your self-esteem. Your motivation goes down, it gets easier to isolate and that's what lies feed on. Lies feed on silence and find power in your isolation. You are worth so much more than you know. You have so many people that love you regardless of flaws or mistakes you have made. Embrace their mindset as your own. Tell yourself in the mirror that you are loved. And if you want to know more about how much you're worth, go to Young Life and listen to their truth as your own. I promise you that your life will be changed just as much as mine has.
Surround yourself with people who tell you the truth about yourself. Finding who you are and who you want to be comes with surrounding yourself with people who encourage you. Not only encourage you to reach your goals but love you as you are, even when you don't. Community is so important when the stress kicks in of school, family, friends, etc. Young Life was such a consistent and loving community that got me through the high school and the stress.
You don't have to please everyone.
Living to please everyone is exhausting. You will always filter what you say and second guess your actions towards the people you think "don't like you." But, know that you should be kind to everyone, regardless of who they are or what they think of you. Rise above that person's actions and words and be kind to them anyway. Be different and love people. Be who you are and don't let the disease to please tear you down.
Embrace who you are.
Don't change for anyone. Fitting in is overrated and unfulfilling. If you chase after people who want to change you, you will lose yourself and the personality and smile everyone around you has come to adore. You are perfect just the way you are. Don't let people tell you that you have to change yourself to be liked or "popular."
You're never ever alone.
Ever. Nothing will ever change that. You know I'll always be here and will leave class to take a call from you (sorry mom and dad lol). Nothing you do will change the amount of love I have for you. So many people care about you and want to see you change the world, and I can't wait to witness that. Liv, you inspire me and regardless of your circumstances, you are not alone.
I love you,