Dear young Bethany,
First off, I just want to tell you to stop worrying about what other people think of you. Their opinion doesn’t matter, I promise. They’re too busy worrying about what others think about them to be thinking about you. So, relax, and if they are thinking about you, then you clearly made an impression. Chances are, you intrigued them, so let them wonder who you are and continue to be yourself. If anyone doesn’t like you, don’t worry about it. Not every one is going to like who you are, and there’s nothing you can do to make them. Embrace the people who do like you with everything you have, because they’re the people that are worth pouring into.
Don’t be afraid of love. You will find it, you will lose it, and you will find it again. Do not settle for anything less than you deserve. You will date a guy who you know you shouldn’t have. He was manipulative, he was disrespectful and didn’t like hearing the word “No.” Stick to the morals you set for yourself. If someone isn’t willing to respect them, don’t be willing to give them the time of day. Know your worth and be strong enough to walk away. You will date another guy, who tells you he loves you and that you’re the best, he will make promises to you, but ultimately, he will not want to make you any sort of priority. Walk away. You deserve someone who’s words are followed by action. You deserve someone who’s willing to make sacrifices for you just as you do for them.
When love comes along, know that it’s not really a feeling, it’s a choice. And it’s not just a choice you make once, but one that you make over and over. When you’re angry, upset, frustrated, you still have to make it a choice to love the person you’re with. It’s not easy, it’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it. Make sure that the person you choose to love is choosing it and you too, every time. Make sure they truly mean it, and it’s not just something they say, but something they prove. In good times and bad, the person who chooses you and love in each of those moments is the person who will make your soul sing.
Don’t underestimate the power of loving yourself either. Being content with who you are, with your imperfections and flaws, is one of the ways to live a truly joyful life. Life kind of sucks when you hate yourself, so work hard on self love. Don’t be too discouraged if you have some days where you don’t particularly like yourself, those days will come, but they will also pass. You were fearfully and wonderfully made, so please don’t forget that.
You’re also going to struggle with your mental health. You are going to get anxious, you are going to have panic attacks, you are going to wish you weren’t alive anymore. Fight those feelings with everything you have. You will make the first steps to find help, and not go because you think you’re getting better. Go talk to someone, get the help that you need, because you are worth it. You’re a fighter and know what you want, so fight the irrational thoughts, the fear, the anxiousness, the feeling of complete and unbearable sadness. Fight it all because you still have a beat in your chest, which means you have purpose. Continue to talk about it too, don’t hide it, because it’s okay to not be okay all the time. It’s okay to admit you need help, that you need extra love or prayers just to help you get through the day, because ultimately you matter.
I know you feel everything so deeply and it’s both a blessing and a curse. When the good comes along, soak it up, bask in it like sunlight. It’s the energy that fuels your soul, don’t let doubt come and black it out. When the bad comes along, feel it, but don’t let it consume you. In high quantities it will poison your soul and ruin the kind and gentle person you are. Try and understand that not everything is going to go great all the time, that bad times are inevitable, but they make the good times worth it.
Choose to love the people who love you. Love them fully. The people who stand by you when you’re at your absolute worst, those are the people who are worthy of staying in your life. Don’t settle for shallow relationships, go after deep and rewarding ones and put your whole self into them. Let them know that you love them at every chance you get, even if it’s not always with the words, “I love you.” Sometimes they come in the form of, “Text me when you get home so I know you’re safe.” or doing something that they enjoy that you don’t. For the people who don’t love you, love them anyway. Show kindness and compassion at every chance you get. A life lived in love is a life worth living.
Finally, “Wonderful adventures await for those who dare to find them.” (The Girl from the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor). Seek adventure, live in the moment, live in love and don’t live in fear. Jump at opportunities, take risks, fall in love, fall out of love, fight for yourself, let the world know who you are. If the world tries to tell you who you are, tries to change you, or move you where you don’t want to go, “Plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world, ‘No, you move.'” (Captain America in Amazing Spider-Man #537.) Ultimately, you know who you are and you know what you deserve so fight for it. If you fall down, pick yourself up again and continue on because there’s nothing like starting over. When one door closes, who knows what wonderful adventure waits behind the one that opens.
P.S. Do the things that make your soul happy, and enjoy every minute of life.