This year on news Teen, bloggers shared their personal stories of struggle, triumph and inspiration, while imparting some wise-beyond-their-years powerful pieces of knowledge with their peers.
We’ve rounded up the best real-life advice we’ve heard from our bloggers in 2014. Below, here are their words of wisdom that you should follow in 2015.
1. Rejection does not define you.
“Overall, rejection is going to inevitably happen in our lives at some point. Remember, the dreaded thin letter is simply a thin letter. This piece of paper says nothing about your worth, creativity or potential. Rejection is tough, especially if you had your heart set on something; however learning how to handle the unfortunate event can help in the long run.”
— Madonna Matta
2. Only you have the power to define what “beauty” means.
“I’ve learned that no matter your shape, size or what you look like you can be a princess. You can be whatever you want to be. A princess isn’t a size, it’s a state of mind. It’s loving yourself no matter what. It’s how to see yourself inside. It’s becoming your own princess and not buying into stereotypes. It’s making your own magic!”
— Ally Del Monte
“We need to realize that we choose our beauty. We are the ones who create realities for ourselves, and we need to move past this self-hate. Every single person in the world has beautiful qualities about himself or herself. It is best to step outside of the artificial stereotypical beauty that history has created for us, and to start deciding what truly appeals to us.”
— Nasir Fleming
“My lack of a thigh gap does not keep me from being beautiful, nor does any other ‘imperfection’ I’ve been blessed with. I don’t care to conform and look like every other girl, and I don’t much care about what society’s definition of beauty is because I know it’s only skin-deep. There are far more important things in life to care about.”
— Isabel Song
“Acceptance is acceptance. All bodies are bodies, but who cares? The people inside of them are way more interesting.”
— Miranda Feneberger
3. Don’t waste your time listening to the haters.
“You can’t allow people’s ignorant decisions to affect you. You fight off the fake friends, overly emotional family members, cyber bullying or the annoying cliché high school girl. You brush it off, you let it go, you keep trudging on.”
— Sabrina Dominguez
“To be brave, you have to stand up FOR the bullied, FOR yourself and TO the bullies.”
— Ally Del Monte
4. Your mental and physical health are important — prioritize them.
“No matter what disability, disorder, impairment or other obstacle tries to rob you, it is not for them to dictate what you can and cannot do; it is YOU who decides.”
— Hannah Zack
“For those who are struggling with something similar, know that you’re not alone. There are teens all around you who are going through the same thing. Surround yourself with people who love you and want to help you. The biggest piece of advice I can give you, as a teen that’s been through it and is still going through it, is to be open. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and talk about how you’re feeling often. Sometimes just being able to be open can make a huge difference.”
— Samantha Goodyear
5. Popularity is pretty overrated.
“You’d think that the people who end up in the ever-so elite ‘cool’ or ‘popular’ group, are just that: cool. As it turns out, that’s not always necessarily the case. That’s not to say that there aren’t popular kids who are cool, interesting, and fun to be around; there absolutely are. But the more time I’ve spent around the ‘cool kids,’ the more I see that there’s nothing particularly cool about them that separates them from everyone else. And there are just as many kids who reject that label of ‘cool’ and consciously opt out of that social scene who still have really cool skills, personal stories, hobbies, and are definitely worth getting to know. Bottom line, one’s position on the social hierarchy does not define who they are as a person, or their level of ‘coolness.'”
— Carly Steyer
“The truth is, popular kids have a quality about them that is mystifying. It’s not a pair of sneakers or a certain lip color. It can’t be simmered down to ’21 Ways to Be Popular’ or ‘Popularity in 19 Days.’ Popularity in its simplest definition is accepting who you are and flaunting it. So go out there guys, and flaunt it.”
— Anna Koppelman
6. It’s in everyone’s nature to be competitive…
… But constantly comparing yourself to others will only drive you crazy.
“I don’t see people as competition. I think that’s an unhealthy preoccupation, and the only apparent ‘competition’ or person standing in my way is myself. My own self-improvement is my cynosure. I work hard for my own benefit. At the end of the day, all that really matters to me is that I did my best and gave it my all. As long as I didn’t hold back and did everything I could, I’d be fine with anything, even rejection.”
— Isabel Song
“I used to constantly compare myself to other high school students, wishing that I was as interesting, accomplished and self-assured as they were. It took a while for me to realize that fixating on the achievements of others is futile and that everyone has something unique to offer the world.”
— Kara Chyung
7. Sometimes, the most valuable lessons aren’t taught within the walls of a classroom.
“It is important to be culturally aware, so that as global citizens we can understand different beliefs and see beyond stereotypes. This way we can break the barriers of cultural insensitivity and build stronger relationships internationally.”
— Yii-Huei Phang
“It’s easy to ignore what’s going on around you, and to let people and events fade into one gigantic blur. But if you take a moment to observe, to really stop and give people some attention, you could learn a whole lot. You never know.”
— Camryn Garrett
8. Even at your lowest points, remember to stay positive.
“Not only is it important to motivate ourselves, but one another, in ways that have been seemingly unfathomable in the past. The simplicity of kind gestures and warm embraces can run the world almost as well as Beyoncé.”
— Kamrin Baker
“You can’t win the war if your mind is always starting the fight. You’ve got to learn to love yourself, kid. You’ve got to see that you’re worth so much more than all those dark thoughts consuming your mind. You’re going to get through this, but only if you change the way you perceive yourself. You’re pretty freakin’ awesome, and it’s time you start believing it.”
— Hannah Strohmeier
9. Friendships are stronger and more valuable than you can even imagine.
“Being in contact with friends through email and social media will pull you through those really tough days when you feel like you have nobody else in the world. They might not understand what you’re going through, but they will be there to listen to your rants (maybe even ranting with you), and they are the ones who will put together the pieces after you break down crying on your keyboard.”
— Valerie Hsieh
“How can I be a better ally? Out of my own experiences, I’ve found the keys: communication and awareness. As my friends and teachers have done for me, I do the same. If a peer is down, I ask if they are okay, need to talk or just want to do something.”
— Casey Hoke
10. Don’t be afraid to exercise your voice.
“No matter how involved you’re looking to get in politics or social activism, or at the intersection of politics and social activism, there are going to be road bumps. People will make you doubt yourself because of where you’re from, who you are and what you look like. There will be people who say you are wrong simply because of your age. But those people do not define you. You set your own limitations. The most important thing to remember is that your age is not a liability. It’s a superpower.”
— Rebekah Bolser
“If politicians want young people to vote, then they have a duty to us to improve political education in schools. However, we also need to play our part, and show that we are not the apathetic youth the media has stereotyped us as being, so, if you want things to change, make it happen. Create an online petition, write to your local parliamentary representative, attend local debates and educate yourself about politics.”
— Susannah Keogh
11. Start living like you’re planning for your future — there’s so much good to come.
“Most of us will not become leaders of massive civil rights movements — although there are plenty of movements that need great leaders — however, we are already the leaders of our lives. I urge all my classmates to steer themselves in the direction that they know is right. I urge you to ignore anyone who tells you that the motive you hold so dear, the purpose behind your actions, is wrong or unimportant.”
— Jackson Barnett
“Make sure that you have goals that actually mean something to you, and then live them. Get into that college, become a tiger trainer, get your pilot certification. You are the goal and the goal is you. Become one with it. Never stop trying to reach it, and be on the lookout for new opportunities to fulfill them around every corner. If you’re going to do it, do it 500 percent. It’s going to be hard work, and you might not always enjoy it, but if it’s your goal (this is very important, that it’s your goal), it will be so worth it in the end.”
— Justina Sharp
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