8 things I wish I’d know when I was a teen

Thanks to our newest Scriblerian member, Kathrese McKee, we’re spending some time looking backward. What would you tell your teen self if you had the chance?

Not that my teen self would have listened. Some lessons you just have to learn by living them. I still have a problem following rules if I don’t understand the reason for them. Convince me why, then I’ll do it. I’m not much for blind obedience. For the most part, that’s a good thing.

Well, Lisa, here are the things you need to understand and WHY they are important.

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It’s not about you.

When the waitress forgets to refill your water, it’s not because she she secretly thinks it’s funny that you’re thirsty. When someone parks too close to you in the parking lot, it’s not because they want to see you climb in through the passenger-side door or because they have a personal vendetta toward you. Perfect strangers have NO opinion of you whatsoever, so cut them some slack. People have bad days. They can be rude, distracted, grumpy, or careless, and it doesn’t have anything to do with you. In fact, if you knew what they were going through, you might want to give them a hug.

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

It does you no good to make your displeasure obvious to everyone around you. You might have a good reason to be angry/insulted/hurt, but making your feelings obvious won’t win any bonus points. Kindness goes a long way. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Try to understand why a situation happened before reacting to it. What you find out might surprise you. It will also make you look more classy and less like a female-dog.

Saying shocking things is not attractive.

You don’t have to say every thought that comes into your head, especially the crass ones. You want people to think you’re edgy, that there’s more to you than meets the eye, that you’re not just a goody-goody, super smart girl, but people aren’t laughing because they think you’re funny. They’re laughing because they’re uncomfortable and they can’t believe what you just said. That’s NOT a good thing. You’re a funny girl. Be funny without the shock-factor. And there’s nothing wrong with being good or smart.

People like you for who you are, not who you wish you were.

This will continually surprise you, but people like you. They think you’re kind, sweet, funny, loyal, and smart. Just be yourself, hang out with the people who genuinely interest you (that does NOT mean trying to get in with the “popular crowd”), and enjoy the moment. There’s no such thing as a “popular crowd” when you get to college anyway.

True love waits.

You’re a closet romantic. You believe all those TV shows about one-true-love, so you think that if you’re in love with someone, you should do whatever you can to make the relationship work. Your friend Tammy had it right: you can be practical AND in love. Don’t compromise your time or integrity for some guy. Hang out with your friends and have fun instead. The world doesn’t revolve around him either.

True love doesn’t play games.

If I guy really likes you, he’ll avoid doing things that make you jealous. Love is not a manipulation game, and trust is the foundation of any relationship. Beware.

God is about relationship not rules.

You’ve got a lot to learn, girl. You’re smart, but there are things you just don’t understand. God is NOT about “do this” or “don’t do this.” God is about “get to know Me. Let’s hang out. I’m better than any true love you can imagine. I’m worth knowing.”

There is nothing you can do to make God love you more or less.

Remember #1: It’s not about you? Yeah, that goes for God too. He didn’t allow your father to die to keep you in line. Life is not an equation of If I Follow The Rules then Nothing Bad Will Happen. That’s not the promise. The promise is that when bad things happen, God will be there. So relax. You don’t have to be perfect. Live in the moment, and consider God first in everything. He’s a Really Cool Guy. You’ll love Him when you get to know Him better.

Trust me.

NOW YOU: Did you do any of these things? Please say yes, because I feel like I’ve just hung out a bunch of dirty laundry. :/ I’d elaborate, but I’ve learned you probably don’t want to know what I’m thinking right now.


8 thoughts on “8 things I wish I’d know when I was a teen

  1. I can relate somewhat on every point! Growing up is tough. Too bad we can’t really advise our younger selves but hopefully, we can have some influence on today’s teenagers.


  2. I just heard Mercy Me’s “Dear Younger Me” (& the story behind it) the other day and it made me think of this series. Part of me has a hard time speculating about this kind of stuff because my brain wants to take things too seriously and the ramifications of what might change if I really could write to my younger self scare me. 😉

    But if I ignore that part, I’d be very similar in the “not everything is about you” dept. I’d want to enjoy myself on family vacations and trips to the mall instead of being convinced every kid my age was judging me for being with my family. To share in the girly games/conversations at sleep-overs, camp and lock-ins instead of being terrified of sharing anything personal convinced I’d be made fun of. That people think you’re a snob, not shy, when you act stiff all the time. That the right one will come along eventually so it’s ok to just relax around guys. (Funny how everybody has something to say to their younger self about that one.)


  3. Good advice. I still sometimes have to stop myself for a few seconds before I blurt what’s in my head.


  4. Lisa, it’s hard to believe you used to be full of “vinegar.” You are such an encourager now.


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