Thursday, September 30, 2010

Life is tough when you're thirteen

 I was contacted recently about getting involved in the Dove Self-Esteem Movement. If you have read the 'about me' section then you can probably guess why I agreed. I did not have an easy time in junior high. Dove is asking "what do you wish you'd known at thirteen?" I took a bit of a spin on this and wrote a letter not only to my thirteen year old self, but to my daughter when she turns thirteen in the future. To share your answer to the question "what do you wish you'd known at thirteen," click here.

I know thirteen is a tough age. I get that. Every woman you see out there has been there too. Many of the ones who look like they have it all together struggled at your age. I was thirteen once myself. I did not find it easy. But I made it through. And you will too.

You are worth it...

You are far more valuable than precious gems. Don't let others get you down. Don't ever believe anyone who says you are worthless. They are lying. People who put you down are likely just trying to take the focus off themselves. They too are feeling insecure and they are trying to bring themselves up by putting you down. If you feel like giving up reach out. There is help available.

If you are one who puts others down it is never too late to stop and have a fresh start. You can always have a new beginning. Never underestimate the power of a genuine apology. 

You are not invincible...

It seems like bad things don't really happen, or if they do, they happen to someone else. Some of those things seem like they don't happen at all because you won't hear people talking about them. However, I guarantee that many of your peers will have to suffer the consequences of bad decisions. Many people are injured or killed by getting into a car with a drunk driver, even if it's only "this one time." Some of your peers will get STIs which will cause problems for the rest of their lives. Girls you know will get pregnant, even if you never find out.  Some of them will suffer emotional pain forever. All of these things happen and they are sadly, far too common. Don't let someone pressure you into doing something you just don't want to do. They will not have to suffer the consequences. You will.

I know it's not popular to say this, but wait for marriage. I'm not going to tell you that sex is bad. It isn't. It's awesome. But it is awesome when you are with someone who loves you, someone who has promised to be with you for ever. It is amazing when you don't have to worry about being the only one and you have no fear of getting STIs or a broken heart. It is incredible when you don't have to be faced with regret or what-ifs down the road. Don't give yourself up to the first guy who says "I love you." He probably doesn't, even if he thinks he does. And I promise you that if he does love you, then his love is not dependant on you having sex with him.

Don't waste your teen years trying to impress guys. Don't try to be someone else. The real men will love you for being you. Down the road, The One is going to love your quirks and is going to think you are beautiful the way you are. And if he doesn't? Then he is not worth a single second of your time. Move on, because he is not The One.

Take care of yourself...

Value your body. Don't smoke. Don't do drugs. Don't drink.

You are beautiful without a tan. Your skin will thank you down the road. Eat healthy and stay active. But don't obsess about it. That isn't healthy either. Just try and look after yourself as best as you can. We aren't all going to be 105 lbs, 5"10, with sky-high legs. And that is not the definition of beautiful. It is merely one of many. Beauty comes in all sizes, shapes, colours, and heights. Which  leads me to...

You are beautiful...

You know those supermodels? The ones who look picture perfect in those magazines. Guess what? Those pictures are airbrushed. Those woman have teams of people behind the camera primping them and putting everything in place. Even after all of that, there are teams of people who edit the photos to death. That means even those supermodels don't look like those supermodels. Don't waste your time creating some picture of beauty that doesn't even exist. Don't waste your time trying to look older. Most older women spend their time trying to look younger. You are beautiful now, the way you are. And you will be beautiful when your face carries the wrinkles and spots that come with age.

Another thing? Beauty really does come from inside. Give to others. Be thankful for the blessings in your life. One of the best cures for feeling down about yourself is doing something for others. Stand up for the girls that are being made fun of. Talk to people who are lonely. Avoid gossiping. Trust me, if you are going to lose friends for doing those things, then they are not the kind of people you want for friends.

You are unique...

There is no other you. Junior high is a time for fitting in, not standing out. I'm going to tell you a little secret I wish I knew when I was thirteen . After high school, no one wants to just fit in, everyone wants to stand out. They are trying to be unique. It's better if you figure this out now. If you like playing the tuba, then rock on! Want to join the chess club? By all means, join. If no one appreciates these things about you now, then believe me, someone will down the road. Do what you love with no apologies. Follow your passions with everything you have. Don't give up. Many of the most successful people out there are where they are because they didn't try and just fit in, they tried to stand out. The sooner you realize this, the more time you have to develop your interests and discover who you really are.

And you are too precious to believe anything less about yourself.

*Please note: the opinions expressed in this post are completely mine. This post does not represent the opinion of Dove. I was not compensated in any form. To learn more about this campaign, check out the video below.


  1. Fantastic program. Love Dove for all they're doing for women and body image awareness. Good for you!

  2. You wrote a wonderful post! All teen girls need to read it.


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