I know it can seem like your life is limited right now. How you spend your time is based mostly on obligations assigned to you by someone else. Your path up till now has been determined by chance; this is the life you were given. Any free time you do have feels seriously limited to interests and hobbies that are decidedly popular, that is if you’re interested in experiencing acceptance and connection from the people you see every day. Worse than your time being limited, your circumstances make you feel limited. Your capabilities, rights, and choices are defined by your parents, your peers, even your mentors. It almost seems like there is one correct path and not choosing it…well that’s not even an option. How could I know such personal things about you that maybe you hadn’t even realized before? Because I’m pretty sure this is how everyone feels at some point, at least I did. But as someone who is able to say did, as in past tense, as in no longer do I feel this way, I can tell you that there’s more for you here in this life. It’s not waiting for you in 5, 10, 50 years, it’s here now. And if you don’t at least consider that you could do things other than what’s expected of you, things that could be bigger, better, or just different, well that’s a shame. Because if you aren’t willing to try things that you never thought were possible for you, you’ll never really discover exactly who you are and maybe you’ll never feel any different than you do now: limited.

I’ll admit, it’s really tough to talk about these things in a letter. Well to talk about them at all really. It’s tough to condense it all, to make any sense from it. Most confusingly, I’m finding it hard to accept that these things I’m saying could really be true…and hard to accept that maybe they’re not true. But I never promised to only tell you the truth, I promised to be honest with you. And these are the things I’ve decided to believe. And since to me they mean so much, I want to try and explain them to you. I don’t need you to believe everything I say but I would really like it if you would consider these thoughts and see if any of it rings true to you. Or if any of it enlightens for you a different truth that’s just your own. I’m sharing because I care and because I believe that your life will be better for you when you start working to understand it and yourself.

We only have one life and we don’t know how long it will be. Should we spend it pleasing others, pleasing ourselves, making the world better, kinder, freer? I’m afraid to tell you the wrong thing because I can’t positively answer that question. But I think it’s worth it to talk about it, even to decide a belief to live by. I’m finding it a much better way to live my life, with intention, than following without question those who walked before me. I think we should know why we do what we do. We can’t and shouldn’t walk confidently into the future without questioning if this is the right road, the right choice, the only choice. It’s up to us to determine the future, just as it’s up to us to determine what we do right now in this moment.

All of your potential and all of your opportunities are only made possible or limited by the mindset you choose. What you achieve will reflect what you believe. If you want something more that what you have now, if you want to be something more than what you are now, open up your imagination and stop limiting yourself and this world. Believe that things can be better. If you step outside of what you see everyday you can discover a world that changes and breaks expectations. There’s music, books, blogs, fashion, movements, that doesn’t conform to the pressures you’re feeling in your small corner of this world. If you decide you can be anything, that you choose who you want to be and who you are, expectations cannot hold you. There is a larger world that can bring you acceptance, where you can find connection. Become a part of it now rather than later.

We are connected to millions of other lives with the majority barely resembling our own at first glance. This is a beautiful and freeing thing. Some people look at diversity as frightening because it questions, and threatens, our own way of life. But seeing, even experiencing, other walks of life, other ways of thinking, can free you from the hold of a few people’s judgment and can show you ways in which your society can be bettered. The best of us have had to fight the hate and criticism and, most difficultly, the potential acceptance of others to make change where change is needed. You can do the same. Just remember that judgment of others can be difficult to fight, but our own judgment of ourselves is the most powerful and the most motivating. Choose to look at yourself as powerful, as free, as beautiful. Accept your flaws and improve upon your strengths. Most importantly, never bring yourself down to less than you should be or put yourself into a box or a single label.

Never chose to be unhappy and defeated. That mindset stops us from contributing to the world in the ways that only we can. If you find out who you really want to be, how you can make yourself proud, you have to fight every battle with yourself and with others to get there. No one can hold you back besides yourself, and, if you have confidence in yourself, your abilities become limitless. Stop defining yourself as you are now. Realize that your abilities will always grow and exceed even your own expectations. You can always learn new things and open new doors. You will be the voice and the inspiration that expands your life and you will make it more beautiful. Start first by finding in this world inspiration, amazement, and admiration. Then, use the energy and motivation they give you to act and to become for others something inspirational, amazing, and admirable.

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