My good friend’s son recently celebrated his first birthday, and instead of getting him a gift, he requested that I write him a letter with any advice I would want him to have later on in his life. I was so inspired by the message that came through, so I decided to share it with you.
If you are a parent, teacher, or anyone with youth in your lives, please read and share this. I truly believe that if these three simple tips are shared with our youth at a young age, then we would see a dramatic positive change in the world fifteen to twenty years from now!
To The Next Generation,
When I was young, I struggled with many inner battles. From the moment I could walk and talk, I felt different, like I never belonged anywhere. I had very low self-esteem, and all the anger, sadness, and frustration that I was afraid to express turned into a “me against the world” mentality. I even got to a point where I completely stopped expressing myself to anyone because I was so afraid of the judgment and ridicule.
If someone had shared these three simple tips with me when I was younger, I truly believe that my life would have been a lot easier. My hope is that you do not have to go through what I did and what many others are currently going through. I hope these tips inspire you to realize that YOU are important and YOU are amazing just the way that you are! The life of your dreams is waiting. Go get it!
Tip #1: You are the most important person in your world
If you always put the wants, desires, and needs of everyone in your life over your own, you will begin to resent the giving process. We always say treat others the way we want to be treated, but we never really talk about how we should treat ourselves first. Then we end up looking to other people in our lives to get the validation we are starving for within so we can ultimately feel better about ourselves.
The important thing to always remember is that you cannot give what you do not have, and that not only applies to physical things but to emotions as well.
So if you feel like you need and want more love, respect, and validation, stop looking outside yourself to get it because you will never be truly satisfied. Realize that everything you are looking for already exists WITHIN you. Focus on taking care of YOU first, so later on in your life, you will be able to help others do the same. If you become the most important person in YOUR world, you will have the capacity to make others the most important people in THE world, and that is how you make a positive difference in the world.
The more you give to yourself, the more you will have to offer to others.
Tip #2: Go where your heart leads you
You are going to hear a lot of things growing up from your parents, teachers, friends, extended family, etc., and one of the most important things you can do is learn to decipher what is true for YOU and what is not. This can be incredibly challenging because when you are young, you practically absorb everything you see, hear, and experience from everyone and everything around you. You are like this amazing sponge that sucks it all up. When you get to be around ten or eleven, you will start to think and feel for yourself, but a lot of that will be based on what others want for you. If you put tip #1 into practice, you will develop the confidence, self-worth, and self-love that you need to courageously follow your heart and create your OWN life path instead of following what society lays out for you.
The key to living a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life is finding what you are passionate about, what gets you the most excited, what lifts you up on a dull day, and make it your mission to do more of what brings you joy. Do what makes you come alive! It doesn’t matter if others tell you it’s not possible to sustain a life like that; that is just their fear from their own experience; it is not YOURS. You determine your own destiny, nobody else does! So dream BIG, love deeply, speak honestly, and live a life that feels GOOD to you. Trust your heart—in it lies a deep wisdom that your mind cannot truly comprehend. Wherever it leads you is exactly where you always need to be.
Tip #3: Just be YOU, everyone else is taken
This is the simplest tip to follow, yet it can be so difficult at times. We live in a world that often feels closed to new ways of being and unaccepting of what challenges the norm. I will let you in on a secret: There is no such thing as normal!
Everyone on this planet is his/her own unique and original expression of what it means to be a human. Don’t let anyone ever take that away from you.
All you have to do is have the courage to be who you want to be in each and every moment. And the beautiful thing is that it most likely is going to change from moment to moment so embrace the journey. Don’t let anyone put you in a box and try to mold you into something you are not. Break that box wide open, my friend, and feel free to express yourself in whatever way brings you the most joy. Life becomes very simple when you just show up, as often as you possibly can, just as you are! And remember, who you are and who you choose to be is ALWAYS enough!
Michael Eisen is an inspirational speaker, author, and the founder of the Youth Wellness Network, an organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering youth across the globe to live happier and more positive lives. After positively transforming his own life at the age of nineteen, he is now on a lifelong crusade to share with other young people the principles, strategies, and practices that gave him the strength to start living a more joyful and healthier life. Michael’s first book (Empowered YOUth: A Father and Son’s Journey to Conscious Living) is now available everywhere books are sold. To learn more about Michael and the Youth Wellness Network, visit www.youthwellnessnetwork.ca, join him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.
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