I was listening to the radio this morning while I was driving on a trip for work and the presenter played a piece with a journalist interviewing a young 17 year old American blogger. The journalist explained that most people get to their mid-30’s, 40’s or even 50’s and would reflect on what would they say to their teenage selves if they had the chance. The question was reversed and the blogger was asked what she would say to herself 15-20 years from now. Her answers were very interesting.
I would like to change that a little and write to all the teenagers out there who have been where I was at their age. To those who feel inadequate, unworthy and like they don’t belong.
When I was your age I felt pretty useless. I couldn’t seem to do anything right, no matter how much I tried. I had only a couple of friends and I rarely got to see them outside of school. I was lonely. I got used to being on my own and believed it was normal. When people avoided me at school I believed nobody wanted to be with me. That I was unworthy. That I was unlovable. That was almost 30 years ago and I’ve learned a few things since then. I’ve learned that I experienced all those things so long ago so that I could be here today writing you this letter.
I was never any good at sports. I was never popular with the other kids. But I’ve learned that none of that matters. I am smart. And talented. I have value. Simply because I live and breathe. And so do you. You are worthy. You are smart. And talented. I don’t need to know you to know these things about you.
The world has 6 billion people in it. Every single one of them is unique, with unique personalities, talents and gifts. We have doctors, lawyers and accountants. Teachers, nurses and parents. Mechanics, engineers and priests. Cleaners, rubbish collectors and school crossing guards. Chefs, waiters, actors and bus drivers. There is a place in the world for every one of these people. Each one of them has different personalities and talents and the world would not function well if some of them were missing. There is a place for you too.
So even if you feel like you have nothing to offer, please know, from me to you, that you do. You may not know what your talent is yet, but please trust that it is there. I used to feel like I had no talent, even though I was a good student. I wasn’t good at anything that stood out. Sports, music, drama. I didn’t really belong.
It took a while but I got to know where my talents lie. I realised I was great with people. Listening to them, talking to them, teaching them, helping them. I realised the world didn’t need me to be good at sport or drama. Or even music. Even though I used to dream that I could be. It did need me to be myself. A quiet, shy person who is great with people.
Regardless of what your talent is, even if you don’t know right now, it is needed. You are needed. Whatever you look like, you are needed. Whatever your likes and dislikes, whatever your personality, whatever your size, the world needs you.
So hang in there, try new things, continue to be courageous and allow your light to shine. You are wonderful. You are worthy. You matter. You are loved.