Ten things I wish I knew when I was a teenager – part 2

Hello – I’m back with part 2!!

I’m sharing the next few items from my list of things I wish I’d known as a teenager.

And an update on part 1 : I’m currently on Day 1 of my Five Day Tell-Yourself-You’re-Amazing Challenge.

And so far – wow!! I have to tell you, I’m blown away with how fabulous I feel and what a great day I had at work. I’ve given myself time to relax and enjoy myself too, and reminded myself that’s amazing as well, because I’m nurturing this wondrous collection of cells and molecules that have somehow combined to make me. (If this sounds totally loopy, go back and read part 1, I promise it may make more sense then 😊)

Now onto the next few items in my list.

2. You’re allowed to make mistakes


This was such a big realisation to me. The idea may sound obvious, but how often do we beat ourselves up for getting things wrong?

The world is a big place. So much to learn. So much to see. So many adventures to have.

And – it can be a confusing place to navigate, this big world of ours.

You are going to make mistakes.

It’s called being human. Making mistakes is a huge part of how we learn things. So – teen me – don’t beat yourself up when you do.

I’d also tell my teen self – who didn’t know any better – don’t be afraid of saying sorry. If you do something mean or stupid, just own up and apologise, the sooner the better. I’d venture to say that every single human in existence—the Queen, the Pope, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama not excepted—has done something mean or stupid at some point in their life. It’s not that big a deal. You can say – “Gosh darn it, that was really mean of me. I’m sorry.” Or “Cor blimey – that was a stupid thing for me to say/do. I’m so sorry.” (Questionable figures of speech are optional 😊)

It’s really that easy, teen me.

The mistakes you don’t apologise for are the ones that fester – in your own heart or in the hearts of others. And a late apology is better than none. The mistakes I regret the most are the times I’ve hurt people by things I’ve said or done—and didn’t apologise. I can’t undo those things. Some of those people I’ll probably never see again. I made mistakes. I’m human. But if I could tell my younger self: it’s okay, you can admit you made a mistake — it may have saved her, and others, a fair amount of pain.

Be open and speak from your heart. It’s powerful.

3. Having fun is not wasting time.


Do more of what you love! We only have one life, so fill it with the things that give you joy.

I’ve travelled the world and had some amazing experiences. I’ve visited the …

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Ten things I wish I knew when I was a teenager – part 1

I was a messed-up teenager. Shy, emotionally confused, slightly overweight, somewhat nerdy and wanting desperately to be cool. Wanting to be someone other than myself, someone better, or at least someone different. Because I didn’t know how to love myself as I was, because I had emotional pain I didn’t know how to deal with, I was trying all these random things, hoping something would help me find happiness.

I took a lot of wrong turnings. And a few excellent ones 😊

There are some things I wish I’d known then, things that could have made my life easier. Some of them may sound obvious, some may sound like platitudes, but for me they’re all hard-won truths. If any of these ideas resonate with you just a little bit, maybe they can help make your life-journey a little easier, a little more joyous, a little more magical.

I’m breaking my list into several posts because it grew too long. Seems I have a lot to tell my teenage self 🙂  Number One today.

1. You are amazing – just exactly as you are


Doesn’t matter what shape or size you are, or what colour your skin is, or how you style your hair, or what clothes you wear. You are already more beautiful than you can ever imagine. You are an incredible collection of atoms and molecules, of memories and experiences, uniquely combined to make you. You are a living, breathing miracle. You are so full of potential. And every day, you do something amazing, just by being you. Every time you do something to nurture that amazing being that is yourself, or when you connect with other people, or when you look up and appreciate the beauty of the planet we share, you’re doing something a tiny bit marvellous.

It’s so easy to take our amazing selves for granted, or to find reasons to put ourselves down. If you have a vigorous inner critic who likes to find fault with you, check this out. I’m not really religious, but I love the wisdom of this pastor. She is one awesome human being… and she has great tatts. (No, you did not misread. I’m talking tattoos 😊).

My books tend to feature people with actual magical powers, though they often have a hard time accepting who/what they are. But I think all of us are capable of creating magic, in our own way.

What amazing thing did you do today? I made eggs for breakfast, I went for a walk, I cuddled our two kittens, I spent time with my family, and I wrote this. It’s been a good day.

Update – inspired by Mary’s comments below, I created a new challenge for myself.

The Five Day Tell-Yourself-You’re-Amazing Challenge.

It’s a behavioural experiment. It’s easy, it’s free, and it’s fun. Tell your friends, or don’t tell anyone – either way works. All you have to do – if you accept the challenge – is to tell yourself frequently through …

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Discover Your Warrior Spirit

Picture a packed auditorium in Southern Spain. A lone guitarist takes the stage. The audience stills. A single note sings out, pure, evocative, spell-binding. Then another and another, gradually picking up tempo until you are carried away on a wave of soaring sound and complex rhythms—the power and passion of flamenco.

A dancer stalks in from the wings. A woman. Her hair is pulled back in a severe bun, her dress is black, with flashes of red. She strikes a pose and glares at you. She is not concerned about looking pretty. She does not need you to like her. She demands your attention. She is strong. She is angry. She is powerful.

Slowly, she begins to dance, a step, a hand gesture, a turn and a snap of the head. She listens to the music, becomes one with it, loses herself in its rhythm and flow. A flurry of steps, heels clattering, skirts swaying, arms curving and twisting, a magnetic display of breath-taking skill, of discipline, of undiluted magic. The dancer ignores you, but you are riveted. You are in awe.

Everything else falls away. You and the audience become one, a single awareness focussed on her presence, unable to look away. She commands the entire room. She owns the stage, and in that moment, she owns you, heart and soul.

She is in touch with her warrior spirit, and you won’t ever forget her.

I was in that audience a few years ago, while on holiday with my family in Grenada, Spain. I don’t know the dancer’s name, but she stayed with me. There were other dancers, all of them stunning. But the woman solo dancer made the greatest impression. She was inspirational. She understood her own power.

What do I mean by your warrior spirit? I don’t mean the sword-wielding, ass-kicking variety of warrior (though I like that kind, and they feature regularly in my stories 😊). What I mean is more of an attitude, a state of mind. It’s about walking tall with your shoulders back and your head held high. It’s about looking the school bully square in the eye. It’s about picking yourself up when life knocks you down. It’s about speaking up for what you believe. It’s about finding, and living, your passion.

Too often, we are afraid of our own power, but making friends with our inner warrior doesn’t have to be scary. It can be liberating, exhilarating. We are taught to be nice, to defer, to swallow our pride and stamp down our anger, to play small. There’s nothing wrong with being nice, or with deferring to others, but if that’s all we ever do, we can’t stand up for what’s right. If we play small, we don’t allow ourselves to shine.

The greatest gift we can give ourselves is to be true to our highest self. And when we do that, we also give that gift to the world.

Do you have the warrior spirit? I’m willing to bet that …

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