I don’t really like the idea of regrets – so I feel like either you do something or you don’t. Having said that, though, I think there are quite a few people who would like to go back and talk to themselves in High School and tell them to do (or not do) certain things.
This, I think, is why some people can feel a little stifled by their parents – your parents just want to stop you from making the same mistakes they did, but it doesn’t work that way. Everyone needs to make mistakes so that they can learn from them. I mean, I’ve never met a successful person that hasn’t made a few mistakes, have you?
If I were able to go back and advise my past self about one thing to do with High School, it would be this: romance and love are amazing and wonderful, but don’t make it the absolute main factor of your life. Now that may sound a little strange, maybe a little jaded. I’m not saying love isn’t worth it – because it truly is. And I met my fiancé in my final year of High School. I am truly grateful to have him in my life.
The problem was, while I was going through Middle School in particular, my mind was rather driven by the need to have a boyfriend. I would have small crushes on people and blow them out of proportion until I worried that I was a little obsessed. I think the worst issue about this was that it made me care more about what the guys in my school (and anywhere, really) thought of me. I began to put myself down, form friendships that felt pointless because they were either with girls that obsessed over boys, too (sometimes the same ones as me), or they were with guys that, often without realising, would make me feel completely unattractive and worthless.
I became relatively convinced that if I could just be pretty enough or look more like some of my friends (I had somewhat of a friend complex), then I would feel better about myself.
That is not a good way to think about yourself – or to put that kind of pressure on your friends or potential partners. It just makes everyone concerned feel like they aren’t good enough.
If I could, I would sit down with past-me and just say: ‘yes, it can be fun to have crushes on other people, but don’t let define who you are. Because I see you changing who you are to suit your current crush’s likes and dislikes, and that just isn’t going to make anyone happy. Someday someone will come along and think you’re amazing as you are so you need to start being true to yourself so that when that person comes along, you can be yourself.’
I wouldn’t take back all the crushes I had or the heartbreak I went through because of it, because I think it is part of what made me who I am today. And I really like who I am today. But I just wish that it hadn’t been such a big factor for past-me, and that she could have realised that being herself was the best possible solution to how awful she was feeling.
I wonder, for those now towards the end of High School, or perhaps already finished – would you go back and say something to past you? What would it be?
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