Teen Think

Being a teenager is both a great time in life and one of its most challenging. You don’t need any help having the fun, but the challenges are another story. I think I can help with those. Below I share with you some of the most common thoughts that teenagers have shared with me and how you can see those thoughts differently to change your life.

Please click here for a text synopsis of my high school presentation on Depression, Bullying and Suicide. Click here for a video excerpt.


Don’t think that:  “I’m ugly.”


We very much affect our physical reality with our thoughts. Where you “put” your thoughts, and how frequently you put them there, shows up as something real in the world. So, how you think about yourself matters. Literally!

Someone once said, “We’re all born perfectly imperfect. On some of us it’s on the outside and on others it’s on the inside.”  Yet we all have our portion of uniqueness and beauty, in different forms, expressed in different ways.

The object isn’t to look (or be) like anyone else; it’s to wear with pride the ways in which you are special. The more you see the unique beauty of you, the more you guarantee that others will see you the same way.

Beauty is not so much in the eye of the beholder as it is born within you and projected outward. Focus on the best of you and so will others.

Think This: “Everyone is beautiful and I see the beauty in all of us.”

Don’t think that: “I can’t do it.”


Every cell in your body has consciousness and memory. They are aware of what you think and say. They remember what you’ve transmitted to them. When you tell yourself or others that you are incapable of doing something, you reinforce for yourself that you, in fact, cannot achieve your goal. Every conscious cell in your body responds accordingly.

When you set the bar so low, it is inevitable that you will come up short of your goal. Not only have you directed yourself not to succeed, but in cementing that thought you close off any opening through which you might receive internal inspiration, or external suggestions, that might get you the outcome you really want!

Oftentimes, what gets in our way is that we think that if we try and do not achieve our goal, that we have failed. Failure has nothing to do with trying and not succeeding. Failure has everything to do with trying, not succeeding and never trying again.


Think This: “I am giving this my best effort and that’s all that’s necessary. If I don’t like the result, I’ll try again next time.”

Don’t think that: “Why are they being mean to me?”


When someone is being unkind or hurtful to you, it’s easy to own their rejection of you. In reality, when someone is being hurtful or unkind, they are either frightened or in emotional pain themselves.

A person who likes themselves or is happy within themselves does not strike out at someone else. But when someone is unhappy or has low self-esteem, its not uncommon for them to try and project their pain onto someone else. This “helps” them in two ways: 1) it diverts them from having to face their own problems and 2) by making someone else feel badly, the person who is causing pain to another temporarily feels superior or “better than” the person who is the object of their unkind behavior.

What to do?

First, work on keeping your own self-esteem in good standing! In sports, a basic rule is that “the best defense is a good offense.”  When your self-esteem is high and your heart open, your vision about your self-worth is clear. With a clear picture of your own self-worth, someone trying to mirror for you or project upon you an inaccurate image will have little success.

Secondly, don’t own the behavior, which means that if someone is saying or doing something unkind, or even mean, realize that it’s about them, not about you. It’s really a statement about some lack they perceive within themselves or some pain they are experiencing that they cannot deal with.

Think This: “I’m sorry that he/she is so unhappy that they have to behave that way but… it has nothing to do with me.”


Note: This also applies to people who inflict physical abuse upon others; however, it’s never enough to just understand why someone would be physically hurting another. It’s also necessary to remove yourself from that person or environment where physical abuse is occurring and seek additional support.


Don’t Think That:  “What’s the point?”

When enough seemingly bad things happen to us it’s easy to want to give up. Giving up comes in varying degrees. It can be as minor as not finishing a homework assignment (because it’s taking too long) or as major as deciding to commit suicide (because life seems too hard or too painful).

But when we give up on something, or more importantly ourselves, it’s because we’ve “misplaced” hope. Misplaced hope is always a temporary condition we mistakenly think is permanent. So whether we think we’ll never finish the homework assignment or whether we think our life is too difficult to go on, we’ve just temporarily set aside the hope that things will feel differently than they do in the moment.

Setting aside hope happens when you disconnect from the belief that 1) you are not alone 2) circumstances will change for the better and 3) your life has purpose and meaning.

The simple way to hold on to those three beliefs is to trust that no matter what is happening in your life at the moment, you were intentionally created by G-d to fulfill a specific and necessary purpose that no one else in the Universe can fulfill.

When you believe that, when you hold on to that thought, hope returns, and with it comes the patience to continue onward toward fulfilling your life’s destiny.

Think This: “I am needed by the Universe and no one else can fulfill that need.”

Don’t think that: “I’m invisible.”


A feeling of invisibility comes from two sources.

First, it comes from not valuing yourself. Because you don’t yet recognize how important you are to Life, you feel that somehow that makes you unworthy of recognition. Not recognition as in acclaim, but recognition as in present. You are equating the value of Who You Are with what you do or don’t do. In reality, the value of you as a human being is independent of doing. It’s directly related to your being.

Secondly, allow for the fact that there may be some valid basis for your feeling of being invisible, but not in the sense of less than. Instead, in the sense of more than.

You see, we are all just energy vibrating at different frequencies. If your Soul is highly evolved, and your consciousness highly evolved as a result, you are vibrating at a frequency that is more rapid than many others. This rapid vibratory rate results in your personal energy field emitting a light that for some is impossible to see and for others may be truly blinding. So they turn away.

Look for eyes in which you see a reflection of yourself that is affirming and acknowledging. Too often we seek affirmation and acknowledgment from those who are unable to see us and we take that as a statement about our own self worth rather than as an understanding of where they are developmentally on their Soul journey.

Think This: “I am seen by those whose energy vibrates at the same frequency. The importance is quality, not quantity.”

Don’t think that: “I not smart.”


There are many kinds of smart. There is intellectual intelligence, emotional intelligence, intuitive intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, sensory intelligence, creative intelligence and more.

Now, in some way, you possess at least one (and likely more than one) of these. Yet you think you are not smart. Why? Because you have allowed someone or something outside of yourself to set the standard and define the term “smart” and you are judging yourself against that external standard.

Helen Keller was really smart. If you don’t know who she is, that’s all right. Take a moment here and find out. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Keller But she wasn’t perceived as smart until she connected inside herself with the external world in a way that had meaning for her. Then, when she did that, the external world, that had thought her pathetic, dumb and limited, suddenly saw her as brilliant.

Smart begins inside of you then grows when you acknowledge its unique character then nourish and feed it what it needs to flourish.

Never define yourself by another person’s standard. Go within and find the gifts that are uniquely yours, then live them.

Think This: “My brilliance is waiting for me to let it shine.”

Don’t think that: “Nobody understands me.”

Usually when we think no one understand us it’s because we are not yet sure of our own thoughts, opinions and feelings. It’s really easier (if not more comforting) to make the challenge about someone else rather than about ourselves.

But as teens and young adults, you’re not supposed to know with certainty and confidence what you think and feel. It’s a time of “shape-shifting”, when you are in the process of formulating, for the first time really, your own vision of the world and your place in it.

What’s needed during this process is that you have patience with yourself and not look to others for validation.  Mainly because you are unlikely to find validation for “unfinished business.”

Right now, you are a “work in progress”, and like any creative project, you often cannot know what the final work will look like until its substantially complete. Expecting, or even asking, someone else to understand what you yourself still struggle with is futile and unnecessary.

If you still feel you need to be understood, then let me leave you with this.

If I were your teacher and you were standing in front of me right now, with all your doubts and unfinished growing, I would give you an “A+”, in advance of the final project being turned in. Now, you have your grade.

Go live your life knowing you are understood.

Think This: “I’m a work in progress. I don’t need to use my energy worrying about being understood. I need to create.”

Don’t think that: “No one loves me.”


Everyone wants to feel loved and approve of by others. And it is a wonderful feeling. But whether it’s a parent (who can’t love unconditionally), a boyfriend or girlfriend, or even your best friend, when you define yourself as being lovable or not based upon how someone outside of you behaves, well, the simple phrase would be “If you get it from someone else they can take it with them when they go.”

So it’s really important to remember that I AM IN LOVE AND LOVE IS IN ME.

And it’s really important to realize that YOU ARE LOVE.

If you hold onto these two thoughts and come to know them with certainty in your own heart then nothing and no one can ever make you feel that you are not loved.

Think This: Everyone who loves themselves recognizes the love in me.”

Don’t think that: “I’m different.”

Of course you are. No two snowflakes that have ever fallen had the same configuration. Did you know that? Well, it’s true. What then makes you think that any two people would be the same? The beauty in each of those snowflakes was their uniqueness. It’s exactly the same with you. The beauty of you, both inside and out, is the uniqueness of you. So, being different is exactly how you were created to be.

How you think about being different is the key.

Too often we think that because we don’t look or feel or think like others that there must be something about us that is lacking, inadequate or just plain wrong. The good news is that you are different in all the ways you are so that you can make a unique contribution to the world at some point or points during your lifetime.

It may take you a while to figure out what your special contribution is, and maybe even some more time to figure out how to make it, cherish and be joyful in the ways you are different while you’re figuring it all out.

Your difference is your wealth.

Think This: “Being different is the path to finding my purpose. Being different is my path to greatness.”

Don’t think that: “If I died tomorrow no one would miss me.”

We each have appointments in life. If we don’t show up to keep them no one else can. For example, if you need a haircut and make an appointment to get one you can’t send someone else to keep that appointment. It’s yours and only by showing up can you get the desired outcome.

Well, there are many more important appointments to be kept in your life than haircuts. There’s the friend having a bad day who will need your friendship. There’s the painting that only you can paint, the song only you can write, the invention only you can create, the cure only you can discover. There are those and so many others that you’re never aware of until you actually show up. And by showing up you change the world.

So, if you died you’d be missed in ways beyond your imagination. That doesn’t mean those ways don’t exist. It just means that from where you are standing at this moment in your life you can’t see them from here.

You would be missed and the world would be less beautiful without you.

Think This: “I have important appointments in life and I need to show up.”

Don’t Think That: “Things will never get better.”

There’s only one constant in your life. It’s change. That’s the irony of life. The one constant is change. Unfortunately, with all the other courses you take in school there isn’t one dedicated to change, the thing you will definitely need to know the most about.

This is why when you’re unhappy or sad or feeling hopeless you lack the knowledge and skills necessary to move beyond that frame of mind and into one that’s more positive.

Of course things will get better, because life is a wheel and it turns.  So, if you are feeling that things will never improve, well, they will. Guaranteed! You can actually count on it.

What you can do in the meantime to move things along is to trust that they will and focus your mind on how you’ll feel when they do. Adding feeling to your thinking is like giving your thoughts a boost or jump-start.

The stronger your feelings the faster the change!

Think This: “I’m excited to get through this part because I know things are going to be great.”