5 Things that teenage girls should know


"Don't strive for perfection, believe in yourself and go for what you want without fear of failure"…

We were all teenage girls once. It's easy to look back at our younger selves and laugh at how silly we were especially about our reactions to certain situations. But, when we were in the midst of it, it didn't feel silly. Teenagers still face the same issues albeit in a different format and this generation have the added pressure of social media.

No matter what situation in which your teenager finds herself, we want her to remember these five things:

1. Be kind to yourself
Not everything will turn out the way you want it to. When things don't go your way, don't beat yourself up. It's okay to make mistakes. Be kind to yourself. Say things to yourself that you would say to a friend after she's not achieved what she'd hoped.

2. Perfection is limiting
Striving for perfection is unrealistic and limiting. You will never attain perfection because you set the bar and decide what the definition of perfection is. And you're constantly moving up the bar. Perfection is unattainable and adds to the detriment of your self-confidence and potentially your mental and physical health.

Don't strive for perfection, believe in yourself and go for what you want without fear of failure.

3. Don't believe everything that you think…
Social media and magazines barrage us with images of 'beautiful, glamorous, happy, perfect people' living their best lives with their perfect bodies; and that's what our expectations become of ourselves. Social comparison is dangerous. Behind the scenes even celebrities' lives and bodies aren't perfect or ideal, you just don't see it.

Don't believe everything you think about yourself or others. It's important that you know you are worth more than a 'like' on social media.

4. Don't underestimate the power of one
One kind word, one small gesture, or a minute to practise mindfulness breathing. One small adjustment to your daily routine to help you achieve your goals. One friend who has your back and whose back you have. You don't need to fit in with the popular girls, you just need that one person who gets you, supports you and uplifts you and vice versa. You will realise as you get older the power of 'one'.

Every day ask yourself "what one thing can I do today to make someone's day, help my mom or dad, be kind to my siblings, make someone at school feel included, etc? You will be amazed at how powerful and effective 'one' act can make to your life.

5. Be grateful
As hard as it is to feel grateful for your circumstances at times, there is always something for which to be grateful:

  • That you live in a country that encourages girls to attend school, learn to drive cars and doesn't promote under-age marriages
  • For food in your stomach, a roof over your head and clothes on your back
  • That you can read and that you have the ability to learn
  • For your health, that you have legs, eyes and ears that work
  • That you can see colours, etc

If you struggle to feel gratitude for your life, imagine not having all those things in your life. How grateful are you now?

It's so easy to focus on the things that you don't have or the bad things that are happening around you. But if you keep doing that, you're going to miss out on the amazing things you have going for you.

About the author:
Despina Senatore is a South African mother of three young children. She is the author of Soar! – a guidebook for teenage girls that aims to instil confidence and resilience as well as educate them on career opportunities.

Soar! is available to purchase at https://purposefulwoman.co.za/online/ for the low cost of five Starbucks cappuccinos (R150,excluding courier fees). For more information please visit her website //www.purposefulwoman.co.za/.

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