Hi, my name is Helena Grace Donald.
And I want to get real with you for a minute.
Growing up and navigating my way through my school years was not always easy for me.
In fact, it was a rocky road. (And not the delicious Ben & Jerry's kind!)
I put so much pressure on myself to be ‘perfect’ and resented myself when I thought I wasn’t.
I often found it hard to show my true light to the girls in my class because I was scared of how they'd judge me.
I became so overwhelmed with pressures, both external and internal, that I became bulimic. Not a happy time, but guess what? I wouldn’t change a single thing!
Every experience I had gave me an opportunity to learn something really valuable about myself and who I am in the world. I can look back now with compassion for my 14 year- old self, hiding under her covers eating chocolate and crying because she felt so alone and so misunderstood. I'm grateful to her for experiencing that pain so that I can now share with you what I have learnt along the way.
Not being accepted was the best thing that could have happened to me.
When I was 14 I went through a period when I was excluded by a friendship group at school and that left me feeling like nobody, except my family, would care if I died. Looking back, I can see that I was filtering my true self in a desperate attempt to be accepted. I was trying too hard to “fit in”, because when you’re at school that seems the most important thing, doesn’t it? And I don’t want to belittle that or make it wrong. It’s a very natural thing. But I can now see that not being accepted by that group at that time was a gift.
It gave me permission to be my own person. It forced me to tap into my own inner strength so that I could cope, and to be honest, it made me defiant. Since I wasn’t accepted into the hallowed inner circle of the “popular” group, I learnt to be my own person. It gave me the strength to go after my dreams. So, I’m really grateful to the girls who didn’t accept me in High School. Because if they had, I might not be the person I am today. I might not ever have learnt to accept myself and to live my life on my own terms and in keeping with my own values. And I would have missed out on so much...
The story of my school friendship dynamics turned out very happily for me in the end. When I was sixteen, all the friendship groups in my year began to change. Old friendship groups broke up and new ones were formed, and I became friends with two girls who are now life-long besties. And if you had told me at 13 that we'd be best friends and travel around the world to spend time together, I would never have believed you! See how much things can change?
And since growing up a little and making my own way out in the world, I've attracted amazing friendships into my life that I feel absolutely blessed to have. The less I cared about what other people thought, the more I allowed my inner goofball to shine and the less fearful I became of letting my personality out...the better and deeper my friendships have become.
Learning to love myself and to be true to my own values has been the key to the happy, healthy and fulfilling life I am so grateful to have today.
So if you feel alone or misunderstood at the moment, please know that it will not always be that way. I wish I could have shown my younger self just how amazing her friendships would be today. But then, I guess, that would have spoiled the journey that got me here! For a girl who used to feel that nobody would care if she died, I feel abundant in love and friendship… and I believe that is because I have learnt to love and accept myself from within. So, now I attract people who have similar values to me.
Girl, I know that at times life can feel full of challenges, but what if those very challenges could help you to become the happy, independent and empowered woman of your future?
I believe in you.
You are not alone.
I'm with you, girl!
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