Guest Contributor: Lisa Pascoe
For as long as I can remember I’ve always been quiet and introverted, preferring books and animals to people. I’ve always been quite sensitive to the world around me too. While these are all attributes I appreciate about myself now, growing up I really struggled to find a sense of who I was in the world. Frequent house moves meant that making friends wasn’t easy. The only way I knew to shine was to get the best grades and so I put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect. I share this because I know that many girls today are putting themselves under tremendous pressure to do all the things. Anxiety is on the rise among teenage girls and now more than ever we need to build empowering communities so that no-one feels alone. Today I’m sharing 5 things I wish someone had told me growing up.
1) Make friends with your body and listen to it. When I was a teenager my hormones ruled the show. Every month I felt unattractive, anxious and like a failure. What I didn’t realize then was that this was part of my monthly hormonal cycle. If I could speak to younger me now, I would say this: know that you are inherently beautiful, be kind to yourself, and look after your body because it is the only one you have. You are capable of amazing things.
If you have a difficult relationship with your body, practice thanking different parts of your body for the big and small ways in which they support you.
2) You are not your feelings. When you are in your feelings, it can feel like they are the whole world. For the longest time growing up I saw myself as an anxious person rather than someone who experiences anxiety. Somehow, I had become my feelings. One day I came across the quote below and something shifted.
Next time you feel sad or worried know that you are the sky and that just
as the storm passes so too shall the feelings.
1) Speak to yourself like you would to your best friend. If you find yourself being self-critical and giving yourself a hard time, pause for a moment and think about how you would speak to your best friend in that moment. The chances are that you would be kind, compassionate and caring. If you think kindness is important, then be sure to practice being kind to yourself.
2) Ask yourself not ‘can I?’ but ‘how can I?’ Sometimes in life there are things we want to achieve or make happen. Maybe there’s an opportunity you really want but it feels out of your reach. If you find yourself in this position rather than asking ‘can I do that or is it possible?’, instead ask ‘how can I make it happen?’ This automatically opens the door to possibility and lends itself well to creative thinking. You are capable of so much more than you realize right now.
3) Dance to the beat of your own drum. Working out your place in the world can feel confusing. As humans we are social beings and it’s natural to want to be liked by those around you. You can feel pressure to do what your peers are doing even when it doesn’t feel quite right. What’s more you may hide parts of yourself through fear of people rejection the true you.
The biggest gift you can give yourself and the world is to be true to you and allow yourself to shine. When you do this the world is a brighter place to be and you give permission to others to do the same. This is a wonderful thing. I end this piece by sharing one of my favorite quotes of all time by Marianne Williamson: