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If I Knew Then What I Know Now: Words of Encouragement to My 14-Year-Old Self

The greatest stories go to those who don’t give in to their fears.

Eakachai Leesin / EyeEm/Getty Images
Eakachai Leesin / EyeEm/Getty Images

By Danai Mushayandebvu

One day you will wake up and seriously question who you are. 

You will then realize that life has been a series of choices, and the people who have walked in and out of your life have molded you into the person you have become. You will think about every moment that has passed, good or bad. You will think about every missed opportunity, and every gained experience. You will contemplate every fear that manifested itself to become part of your reality, and every failure that broke you down just a little bit further away from the person you someday thought you would become. You will also be reminded of all the barriers you overcame, the ways in which you surprised yourself by experiencing things you never dreamed you ever would, and you will smile over the realization that you are a highly functioning, fully-grown human being.

People will challenge you, they will bring you joy, they will make you see the world in colors that you could only begin to imagine. 

Life will be both heartbreakingly beautiful and incredibly difficult, but remember that everyone is going through something, so always exercise compassion. Life is not a race, so stop comparing yourself to others, because it’s futile.

Take your time.

People won’t communicate as well as they used to, so work hard at strengthening your relationships and cherish those you love.

Just as quickly as people enter your life, they may leave.

Don’t be afraid to take a few risks. The greatest stories go to those who don’t give in to their fears. People will surprise you in immensely amazing ways. 

Some things will seem like they never change, but others can shift so quickly, so be good to what you have when you have it, and if things are tough, they will pass. It’s important that you learn to be your own hero, and to take responsibility for your own happiness.

When bad things happen to you – and they will – this doesn’t mean that life is bad; it just means that something bad happened. Eventually the pain will subside and you’ll be stronger for having gone through it. Some things that you go through will make sense someday, and others never will.

Don’t be afraid to take a few risks. The greatest stories go to those who don’t give in to their fears. People will surprise you in immensely amazing ways. They will challenge you, they will bring you joy, they will make you see the world in colors that you could only begin to imagine. It’s in these moments when you realize why we live: to connect, to experience, and above of all, to love.

Keep going. Hope will always be your anchor. Life really is wonderful, and at the end of the day, it’s just you. It’s always been you. Enjoy that, you are doing great.

This post was originally printed in Harness Magazine, Issue No. (Winter 2018).

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