It's always been tough to be a teenager. For today's teens, it's even tougher. Social media has teens living their lives out online for everyone to see -- friends and family as well as their enemies and bullies. All too often, when problems arise, teens hold everything inside instead of reaching out for help. They think no one could possibly understand what they are going through. They feel alone, isolated and sometimes abandoned. They feel like they have no one they can talk to when they regret making the wrong decision or do the wrong thing.
However, thousands of teens have unloaded their internal struggles on my online confessional, www.SecretRegrets.com. It's a place where people of all ages anonymously confess the biggest regret of their lives. I've included many of the regrets today's teens face in my bestselling Secret Regrets book series. For teens, reading these regrets can provide an overwhelming sense of relief, showing that no matter what you are going through, you are not alone. There are others out there dealing with and making it through the same kinds of situations. And if others can make it through, there's hope for everyone. For parents, siblings and friends of teens, reading these regrets can help you peel back the layers of the teens you love and open up conversations that may ultimately help the important teen in your life learn how to deal appropriately with these regrets, and leave them where they belong -- in the past.
Below are ten excerpts from the Secret Regrets book series, highlighting the real life struggles of today's teenagers:
1) "I regret wanting to be popular and well-liked. I got my wish but the grass isn't greener over here. I've lost my mom's trust due to partying, my true friends due to being selfish, and my respect for myself. I have everything I've ever wanted and all I want is for it to all go away." -Anonymous Female, Age 15
2) "I regret being so lonely all throughout my adolescence up through the end up of my high school years and not being able to change that no matter how hard I tried and wanted to. I regret turning to self-harm and drugs to fill in the empty space around me." -Anonymous Male, Age 17
3) "If I had a second chance to do ONE thing differently in my life, I would not have raised my fist back at you. I might have stopped to think about why you were raising yours in the first place. I might've noticed that the reason you felt you needed to break me was because you, too, were broken inside. You felt like you needed someone to hurt -- the way you did -- so you wouldn't feel alone, so someone would finally understand. I could have realized that the difference between us is that you are too afraid or prideful to admit your heart is in pieces. I would have let you know that it's okay to not know how to put yourself back together... that you're not alone in your struggles. That we can do this together. Violence was not the answer, we both know that. Neither of us will ever get a second chance to rewind and take back those physical and mental fights, but I want you to know that we can both take a deep breath and look forward. It doesn't have to happen again. I think I might have told you that, more than anything, I'm here for you. Daughters rely on their mothers... but sometimes, it's okay for the mother to rely on her daughter." -Anonymous Female, Age 18
4) "I regret that I have lived my life in such a way that my mother loves me more than anything, and yet does not like me at all. I regret that I'm not what you wanted. You always ask why I can't finish things I do, and it's because I just want to find the one thing I can do to make you proud, Mom." -Anonymous Female, Age 16
5) "I regret losing my virginity in a car in an empty parking lot. Happy Birthday Will." -Anonymous Female, Age 19
6) "I regret being what I am and being born this way. I regret being rejected by God and society. I regret not coming out of the closet sooner than high school. I don't feel like I can anymore, that it's too late." -Anonymous Male, Age 15
7) "I regret deciding what I wanted to be at a young age. Now that I've started college, I realize it's not me. I just don't want my parents to be disappointed." -Anonymous Male, Age 18
8) "I regret that I lied to the only love I've ever had. I lied about my identity. I told him I was two years older then I actually am, and that I had a different face and body. He lives in Florida and I live in California. We met in a chat room. We hit it off and fell in love over the phone. I never wanted to confess to him. But I did. Two days before he was going to get on a plane and come see the fake me. He forgave me. Spent a fortune on me. Ended up not coming. He asked me if he could anyway cause he loved my personality, but not what I did. I regret not saying "yes" in an instant. I regret that I ever did this to him. He deserves "her." She was perfect for him. I wish I could change in an instant into "her." I want to be her so bad. Now he won't talk to me, and I regret not saying "yes" that very instant." -Anonymous Female, Age 17
9) "I regret never telling anyone about the molestation. I know I was a kid, a scared and confused kid -- but telling someone, ANYONE, instead of just pretending it didn't happen, would have saved me a lot of heartache. Trying to heal 12 years after the fact is ridiculously difficult. I regret all the time I've lost." -Anonymous Female, Age 18
10) "I regret hurting you by hurting myself. I never meant for you to find the letters, the poems, and the diary entries. I didn't want anyone inside my head, no matter how much I wanted the pain to stop. I didn't mean for you to find out that way, and I'm sorry. I regret not telling you, and having you find out when it was almost too late. But you saved me, and I can't ever repay that. I just wish it hadn't hurt you in the process. If I could do it all again - I wish I never would've made the scars on my wrists. I would tell you how much I'm hurting, and why I chose to end my life. Luckily, I'm still alive. Thank you Mom." -Anonymous Female, Age 14