If I could go back in time and give my 16 year old self some advice, I'd say this: Take off your mask and be who you were created to BE.
We all wear certain masks; masks to hide or masks to fit in. Our masks feel safe to us and it takes great courage to take our mask off and be authentic.
So what's wrong with wearing a mask anyway?
Well, our masks keep us from connecting with other in intimate and meaningful ways.
When we let our guard down, authentically sharing our mistakes and how we have grown because of them, we are saying, "you are not alone".
We all mess up at times, the question remains, will you learn and grow from your mistakes, or will you glue the mask onto your face and wallow in your failure?
When we take off our masks, we notice that there are differences, and differences are good. Our differences are the very things that make us stand out; do not be afraid of them.
When we live out of our gifts, talents, strengths, values, and unique personalities, we attract those people and opportunities that are most in line with what we were made to do and BE.
So, I'd tell my 16 year old self this: people's opinion's do not define you. They are just that: opinions.
Don't fear vulnerability, focus on others and the value you can provide in the relationship.
How about you? What advice would you give your 16 year old self?