Teen me

Dear 7th-grade Kris,

I know you’re going through a tough time right now, and I’m writing from the future to help you feel better and get through it. Things get a lot better in high school and eventually turn out really well, but even now you possess some good and strong qualities, even if you don’t feel them.

First, though, let me just give you a big, long hug and say that that scene on the playground was awful. Being punched in the nose by a girl you thought was your friend, while a bunch of other girls looked on, SUCKS. I’m sorry it happened to you and if you want to you can just have a big-old cry right here in my arms.

Feel a little better? That’s my girl.

Now I’d like you to stop wondering what you might have done to bring that on, and rev up some anger and some attitude instead. She was horrible to do that! It says WAY more about her than it does about you.

I know you’re going to try to be more like those girls to fit in for a while, but the tough-kid thing doesn’t really suit you and it won’t last. When you get to high school you’ll be more comfortable being your true self.

What’s your ‘true self,’ you ask? Well, that’s the part of you that is good and strong and just comes naturally. You’ve had it since you were born and you’ll have it all your life. Your true self is different from anyone else’s, and that’s ok — there’s no need for everyone to be the same.

Right now you think that being different is bad, that it means not being good enough — but you ARE good enough. In fact, you have some awesome inner qualities that are going to help you be happy, do things you enjoy, be successful in school and in more than one career, have many wonderful relationships and even help other people — including teenagers just like you. Cool, huh?

Here are some of those qualities:

  • You are kind. Yes, being a nice kid and a good girl seems really geeky right now because you’ve been bullied for it, but in the grown-up world being kind is a beautiful thing. You’ll always have a tendency to help others and so many people will appreciate you for that. (Just remember to be kind to yourself, too.)
  • You love learning. You’re intelligent and curious and enjoy school and learning new things right up until today — and probably always will. You’ll do well in many ways because of this and it will open up worlds of opportunity. You’ll also meet some fascinating people (and even your future husband) because of this quality.
  • You work hard and care about the quality of what you do. Throughout school and your professional life you will succeed because of this.
  • You see the goodness in other people and appreciate beauty in the world around you. Keep stopping to smell the flowers, enjoy all the travel you get to do and continue to believe that there is something special in everyone you meet.

I can’t lie and say that life will always be easy, but by being open to new experiences and developing some resilience, you will grow to be grateful for the blessings in your life, large and small. Life is really good right now and there’s lots of greatness along the way, too.

You and that girl from the playground even wind up being friends one day.