A Letter to My Teenaged Self,
When I was a young teen, I was awkward, withdrawn and so unsure of myself. Nothing I attempted seemed to be good enough and I mostly felt that I just didn’t fit in.
While I was never suicidal, I often wondered what was the point to all of this?
In retrospect, these insecurities were mostly in my mind and I did more to undermine myself than I realized.
If I could talk to my younger self, 5 decades ago, here’s what I would tell her:
You are not alone. Everyone struggles with something in their life. They all have their unique problems and anxieties that they’re working through in their own way. So, if someone disregards you, or insults you, or is unappreciative despite all your efforts, it probably is not a reflection on you, but is a sign that they’re also struggling. Don’t take everything so personally.
Let your experiences be a lesson to always be kind and forgiving even when others are not.
You are doing much better than you realize and you actually do have the support of your family and teachers and friends, even if they don’t always express it in the way that you want. Always appreciate and surround yourself with people who support you.
Take things one day at a time. You will always be impatient (even in your old age) but take the time to breathe and relax before you react. Things will feel a little less daunting.
Your fear of speaking out will disappear in time. You will find your voice and you will be able to capture the attention of others and even make them laugh. This will happen when you begin to believe in yourself.
You will have a chance to attend a Seven Sisters college and you will be initially hesitant about it (no boys!), but it will be the most empowering experience of your life, to study alongside so many accomplished young women. This is also where you will find yoga. It will teach you to love your body and you will discover that you can be physically strong and mentally resilient. But you’re already strong – you just don’t know it yet.
You will learn to appreciate your accomplishments, know your self-worth and stop comparing yourself so much to others. Fitting in really isn’t a goal you should worry about. Find your own way to shine. You have the power to do this and someday soon you will realize it.
May Louie first took yoga in college to fulfill a Phys-Ed requirement and immediately fell in love. She, unfortunately, did not continue with her practice but reconnected with it when she retired from her corporate job in 2002 and has since become a serious yoga enthusiast. After her second retirement last year, she completed her 200-hour RYT certification, studying with Dina Crosta, Ellen Mosko, and Jamie Segal Hanley, with a focus on alignment based flow.
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