Changing; growing through relationships

Changing; growing through relationships



     In four years, your life is going to change a lot. Your friends may change, your view of the world should change, and the expectations you hold yourself to will change.

     Coming into high school, I was worried. Everyone told me I would lose my friends, the people I had known for years, the ones I had grown up with.

     Because people change.

     But, I had made it through three years of middle school with the same exact people I had met in kindergarten so I knew I was doing something right.

    And while all of the middle school teachers convinced us that people change, they failed to tell us that change could be a beautifully crazy thing because when you change together and grow together and love together, there is not much you have to worry about.

    Coming into high school, I knew I had to be choosy with my friends. I didn’t want to end up in the wrong crowd. I didn’t really want anything to change. Why do I need new friends if the ones I already have are all I need?

   I didn’t understand the concept of ‘popularity’ nor did I understand how people could be so fake.

   So, I just watched.

    I watched “best friends” talk behind each others backs as soon as they turned around.

    I watched people make stupid decisions.

    I watched people cheat. Lie. Do anything for others’ approval.

    And I wondered how I got to be so lucky.

    While most people wanted that cool and popular title, all I wanted was to be known for being kind.  And nice.

    What I wanted was for people to like me, but for the right reasons.

    But you see, as an insecure little freshman girl, I did not have the confidence to talk to anyone besides who I was comfortable with.

      I needed to learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

     But that seems so impossible when you are so insecure. I was so scared of what others thought of me. I could barely speak a complete sentence in front of the class or even talk to an upperclassman. I could only walk through the hallways with my head down.

    But change happens.  Subtly, but it does.

    I began to break out of the shell I had been in all of my life.

   My first relationship taught me a lot about myself. I learned how to love someone but also how to love myself.  And I learned about heartbreak. Never did I ever expect to actually feel a physical pain in my chest like that one, but that small crack left in my heart has left me stronger and smarter and feeling more deserving of the right kind of love.

     For months I wondered what I was missing. I felt like I lost a small part of myself through that relationship but what I ended up learning was that I gained a lot more than I lost. You cannot live with the mindset that you are not enough. You are enough. You cannot live trying to meet everyone else’s expectations because everyone else doesn’t matter.

    I thought I had messed up, that it was my fault, but my mom continued to remind me:

                                   I am strong. I am smart. I am beautiful.

                                   And finally, I began to learn that.

    I started to use every opportunity as a chance to grow. I began to realize there is value in every experience and every relationship.

    I won’t say that every friend I have ever made has stuck around, but to anyone who has played a part in my absurdly crazy life, thank you. You taught me things I didn’t know about myself and have allowed me to grow into the (mostly) confident, positive, ambitious senior girl I am now.

So, that is the beauty of relationships. There is always something to give and something to take.

     Learn from every person and every experience because every person comes into your life for a specific reason.   If the people you care about don’t make time for you, why are you putting in so much effort fighting for them? If someone in your life wants to leave, why are you fighting for them to stay?

    Let them leave so you have the energy to fully be present in the lives of people who DO matter.

   The people who truly care about you will be by your side no matter what.  And I know this better than most. Those same girls who were my friends in kindergarten are the same ones who I will be walking the graduation stage with in a few short days.

 So this is just a reminder to be picky. Choose the right friends, the ones who want the best for you. The people you invite into your life lead you onto your path of life, whether that path be good or bad, remember that every choice and every moment is just a part of the plan. So trust the process, trust the plan. And stick together.

    So maybe what those middle school teachers should have been telling us four years ago is that even when you have experiences that leave you feeling confused or frustrated, don’t get lost in regret or doubt.  Prepare to learn that forgiveness is a gift that should be cherished and one that is not always easy to give.

   Finding a balance is critical to surviving this time in your life.  Sometimes it feels impossible to make time for everyone, but do it anyway.  Remember your friends will always be there and (probably for a lot longer too) than that boy you think you love with every fiber of your being.

    As you find balance, learn to focus. Whatever you are going through, stay focused. Do not ever lose sight of what is important to you. Do not ever change your values for someone else- AND you are known by the company you keep, so surround yourself with good.

    Remember that something fun and new might seem like a great way to forget about pain, or heartbreak, but it’s not always the best way to go.

    Just because something looks good doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Kinda like ice cream.

    What is appealing isn’t always healthy.

    So remember, always use good judgment. Whether it is making a decision at some stupid party or deciding to do your homework, make good decisions. Don’t waste all of that precious beautiful energy on something worthless.

    And make those decisions with your future in mind. With so much ahead of you, why do one stupid thing to blow it? Spend your time with the right people and make the right choices.

    So when your friends warn you about something, they are usually right. Listen to them.

    Read that last sentence again. Your friends and family have an uncanny ability to see and know a lot more about you than you know about yourself. Why?  They know what’s good for you because they see the good in you.

     Learn that when you love, there are bound to be some wrinkles along the way and the lessons you learn through the hardships are not going anywhere even though people may.

     Take those lessons and run with them.

    And keep running even when your lungs burn and you want to quit because what’s ahead is always better than what’s behind you.  You are young, carefree, and limitless. And you have so much to love, and so much love to give.