Last week I wrote an article aimed at your teens discussing self-worth and the misconceptions that teens have when dealing with their lives. I ended that article asking them to “Trust. Believe. Have a little faith.” Very cliché advice unless you back it up. This weeks’ article is also aimed at your teens. Again, I ask you to read it first and then pass it along.
Trust. Believe. Have a little faith.
Trust your parents. Most of them want what is best for you. Unless they are snared in their own addictions, are physically or emotionally abusive, or neglect your basic needs, they deserve to be trusted. Believe it or not, they were once your age and most of them still remember how it felt. As parents, we don’t like to admit the things we did as teens because we don’t know if you are going to take it as a testimonial not to repeat our mistakes or whether you are going to throw it back in our faces as your own excuse (“Well, you did it, so why can’t I?). That is one of the reasons that we find it hard to open up to you. But, if you are willing to be real, then so are we. It is worth a try. Talk to your parents.
Trust yourself. I know that you hear that voice in your head or feel those funny feelings in your chest when you are deciding whether or not to do something you know isn’t right. Thoughts run quickly through your head - “mom wouldn’t like it; coach said it would hurt my game; dad told me to walk away; I don’t really want to anyway” – but the decision is yours. If you are hearing those warning bells, trust your instincts and walk away. It does not matter if the people who say they are your friends are harassing you to participate – they only have to live with the consequences for themselves. Trust yourself and do what you know is right. A strong word of caution – once something is done, it cannot be undone. Heart damage or a stroke from drugs cannot be reversed. A baby can be aborted or put up for adoption, but you will still have been pregnant and have to deal with your choices for the rest of your life. Drinking and driving could kill you, your best friend, or even a stranger. Can you live with it? Trust yourself to know what is right AND to do it.
Believe. The first thing you need to determine is WHAT you believe. Believe in a higher power; believe in yourself; believe in humanitarian efforts; believe in being “green”; believe in education. But decide what it is you believe and then stand by it. Hold firm. Don’t be wish-washy. Have convictions. How do you decide what you believe? First, you have to educate yourself. Tune in to what is going on in your school, your community, your state, this nation, even the world. As you listen, what piques your interest? Does a particular issue stir up a passionate response? If so, learn more about it. Get involved! Most importantly, believe in yourself. You have just as much innate ability as anyone else in your peer group. Everyone has their strong suits and yours may not be sports or academics, but there is something in which you excel. Grasp that something and make the most of it!
Faith – belief in something that you cannot see, touch, feel. Faith that there is a purpose in your life. Faith that there is a higher power that cares. Faith that you have a destiny. Believe it or not, life as a whole is good. I remember high school years and I was not happy during most of them – wouldn’t go back to that age if someone offered me a truckload of money. But the good parts of life far outweigh the bad and you simply have to take that on faith. You have to convince yourself that you KNOW that tomorrow will be better than today. People are not meant to live in a vacuum. You have heard your parents say: “No man is an island unto himself.” All it means is that no one person can live without interaction with others. We all need someone else. So, don’t shut people out. Celebrate the good! Enjoy the fellowship of others! Share the bad – let others help you carry that load. Do not isolate yourself. Have a little faith.
Does it all sound like a bunch of overly optimistic, positive crap? Maybe so. But there is something I have learned through experience about life: what we send out into the world comes back to us. It is like a boomerang. If we send out negative, pessimistic crap, then it is going to come right back to us. If we send out positive, optimistic crap, then it comes back to us, too. Here’s the real jab – it takes just as much effort to send out the negative as it does the positive. So, it’s your choice. What are you going to make of your life?