#DearTeenMe – Jessica Sepel

A leading Australian nutritionist, best-selling author, and the founder of wellness empire JSHealth, Jess is passionate about empowering people to embrace balance in their lives. While studying nutrition at university, Jess began writing a blog sharing her personal journey to body positivity, her favourite recipes and her philosophy that health should be enjoyable. That blog is now a global brand and has allowed Jess to assist people all over the world. Here are Jess’s words to her teen self.

Dear Teen Jess,

I know right now it feels as if you’re not good at anything. And you often feel like you’re failing at life. You can’t see it now, but what a smart, beautiful, competent and caring person you are.

It’s a hard time. You’re feeling a bit down, sad and maybe a little bit depressed. You’ve moved to a new country and had to make new friends. You feel a new pressure on you, the pressure to be perfect from your heart, to your head, to your feet.

You are not alone in feeling that. But trying to be perfect is not a useful goal. It won’t help you and it won’t help those you care about. No matter what advertising, magazines, films, or television shows seem to be telling you, it’s impossible to be perfect and, what’s more, you don’t need to be! The quicker you learn to let go of perfect as an ideal, the quicker you will learn to be proud of who you are.

One day, you’re going to totally love yourself. It’s difficult to imagine, I know. You will realise that you don’t have to be perfect to be worthy of love, respect and success. You are already enough for all of that and more.

It is going to take some time to learn these lessons, and sometimes it’s going to be difficult. Sometimes self-doubt and self-hatred will get in the way of doing things you really want to: going on an overseas trip with your school, hanging out and eating junk food with friends, loving your gawky teenage body from head to toe. When you’re older you will regret you missed these experiences but you will also understand it was part of the journey you had to go on to get where you are today.

You are going to live a life you never imagined was possible. A life you never thought you were worthy of. But you were worthy, all along.

You have challenges ahead, and what you think about yourself will be your greatest challenge. Your family, your friends, your therapist and your amazing future husband are going to help you through it. But it will be you and only you who overcomes your hurdles in the end. I am so proud of you for that. Thank you.

You will be a happy, healthy human. You will create for yourself a career you’ve always wanted: to be a nutritionist who is able to help people live their own happy life. You will create a company that employs other smart and passionate women. Most importantly, you’re going to just love what you do. You will wake up every day bursting with energy to help other people, many who have gone through similar things to yourself.

I know you feel like you’re never going to be good at anything. You watch, my girl!

Despite your fears, you will never be alone. You have the most loving family and friends. And you’re going to meet a man that brings you an eternity of love. These people love you. They know your flaws, they know you stuff up sometimes and they love you even more for it.

A word of advice: people only deserve to spend time with you if they love who you are, not what they want you to be. I know you don’t have a lot of confidence right now. But it is going to come back, and you will use your confidence to help the world.

This year I want you to not be so hard on yourself. You are already worthy of a most incredible life. You are strong, stronger than you think. You have the power to help yourself and to help others. And you will. You are not a perfect person, but you are a good one.

You deserve love, especially your own. Remember this. Always.

Love, future Jess

Find out more about Jess’s world on Instagram @jshealth

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