I wish I never allowed other people’s thoughts about me to define my self worth. Even now, it’s something I’m working on. But when I was in high school, what people thought of me was EVERYTHING. Now I know that it’s not everything, and there is SO much more to life than what people think of me.
Instead of paying attention at school and working toward my future and the way I treated others, I focused on the latest petty gossip, what I was going to wear to the next dance or ‘gathering’, who was or wasn’t wanting to be my friend and making sure I could race home in time to get to the computer first, before my little brother beat me to it, so I could talk to my latest crush on MSN (yes, it was a thing!).
I often imagine what it would be like to go back to school, but with all my newly acquired knowledge. I know I’d still have some of the same friends, but I bet I would’ve made more of an effort with more of my schoolmates then I did the first time. I think my biggest lesson learnt is to trust my instinct when it comes to judging situations and people, rather than being swayed by what the ‘leaders’ of the friendship groups would direct me to believe. At the time, I knew that if I didn’t follow the crowd I would be the next in line for being left out, but really, who wants to be friends with people like that anyway? Most importantly though, I’d remember to treat others the way I wish to be treated.
I collect a lot of memories, and I have a solid collection of letters, notes and photographs from my time at high school. Majority are hilarious to look back on now and read, but I know that at the time every single word was serious business. One of my best girlfriends from school (and still now) is one of the predominant authors.
We often giggle at the things we considered to be a major life event or crisis, and whenever I come across a new letter I’ll send her a photo. I have a 14th birthday card from her, that has one line saying “happy birthday” and the rest is about how I shouldn’t be upset that my then boyfriend (of a week) dumped me and is now messaging *insert girls name here* and that I’ll make sure I look really pretty at the upcoming gathering and we can sit in a different area of the school for lunches from now on. The sentiment is amazing from her, and I feel so fortunate that I had her to get me through said 'dramatic' events, but realistically none of those moments were going to make or break my future. But I let them.
I let everything that was said about me, to me and against me cut deeper and deeper into my self worth, self-belief and self-esteem.
Those moments, became habits for future interactions and I taught myself to behave in a certain way - and I also built a big brick wall up around me. It's been a fascinating, and tough journey for me to rediscover my worth, on my own and also the value I add to other peoples lives and how to nurture good friendships. The biggest moment, was realising that it all began with me and my mindset.
I've formulated many tool to get me through those moments, and have continued to study, research and further educate myself of best practices to coach myself out of it and develop strong and ever lasting rituals that have since become my new normal and habits; all of which have ultimately led me to a much healthier and happier mindset.
Unfortunately it is a mentality of some groups of girls – even as adults it happens. I’ve had so many reality checks when it comes to friendships, and how people still have a need to judge by achievement, image and labels.
What I want to say is this…who cares what they say about you. What do you say about you? Don’t let the empty words get to you, because whoever said them will forget they did, and you’ll only end up breaking your own heart the longer you let it get to you. You’re too kind and too strong to pay attention to that behaviour, and the only thing that matters as you grow as a person is what you want to do for yourself, and whether you think you’re worthy of it. I’ll tell you now…you are SO worthy.