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Your anger? It’s telling you where you feel powerless. Your anxiety? It’s telling you that something in your life is off balance. Your fear? It’s telling you what you care about. Your apathy? It’s telling you where you’re overextended and burnt out. Your feelings aren’t random, they are messengers. And if you want to get anywhere, you need to be able to let them speak to you, and tell you what you really need.

I want to go on a road trip someday. Alone or with someone I love. I want to get away. Explore places. Sleep in the car. Stop a lot just to admire the view. Visit museums and try out coffee shops. Listen to my favorite albums while driving. Have a Polaroid camera. Take pretty pictures of the sunrise. Take pictures of myself. Run through a forest. Chase fog. Chase the sun. Spend hours on a field making flower crowns. Feel the wind in my hair. Buy souvenirs. Meet people. Take time to observe. I want to make memories. I want to feel alive.

There’s no such thing as a ‘bad kid’—just angry, hurt, tired, scared, confused, impulsive ones expressing their feelings and needs the only way they know how. We owe it to every single one of them to always remember that.

Beneath every behavior there is a feeling. And beneath each feeling is a need. And when we meet that need, rather than focus on the behavior, we begin to deal with the cause, not the symptom.

Standing up for yourself doesn’t make you argumentative. Sharing your feelings doesn’t make you oversensitive. And saying no doesn’t make you uncaring or selfish. If someone won’t respect your feelings, needs, and boundaries, the problem isn’t you; it’s them.

You are not your feelings. You just experience them. Anger, sadness, hate, depression, fear. This is the rain you walk in. But you don’t become the rain. You know the rain will pass. You walk on. And you remember the soft glow of the sun that will come again.

Sit with it. Sit with it. Sit with it. Sit with it. Even though you want to run. Even when it’s heavy and difficult. Even though you’re not quite sure of the way through. Healing happens by feeling.

In my world there are no bad kids, just impressionable, conflicted young people wrestling with emotions and impulses, trying to communicate their feelings and needs the only way they know how.

A history of trauma can give you a high tolerance for emotional pain. But just because you can take it doesn’t mean you have to.

Let it hurt. Let it bleed. Let it heal. And let it go.

When the world feels like an emotional roller coaster, steady yourself with simple rituals. Do the dishes. Fold the laundry. Water the plants. Simplicity attracts wisdom.

When things change inside you, things change around you.

This is for everyone who tries. Who tries to learn, tries to grow, tries to respond kindly and wisely, tries to recognize their own issues instead of blaming everyone else. This is for everyone who tries to be their best even when they’re not feeling their best. I see you. I appreciate you. And I hope you know you make the world a better place, just by being you.

Kindness is choosing love over hate, light over darkness, compassion over judgment.

Whatever you’re feeling, be good to yourself. If you feel lost, be patient with yourself while you find your way. If you feel scared, be gentle with yourself while you find the strength to face your fear. If you feel hurt, be kind to yourself while you grieve and slowly heal. You can’t bully yourself into clarity, courage, or peace, and you can’t rush self-discovery or transformation. Some things simply take time, so take the pressure off and give yourself space to grow.

And some days life is just hard. And some days are just rough. And some days you just gotta cry before you move forward. And all of that is okay.

Don’t personalize or internalize other people’s behavior. What they do is not a reflection of you. Their actions represent them and where they are in their growth. Just observe instead of getting caught up and overreacting emotionally.

The fact that you’re struggling doesn’t make you a burden. It doesn’t make unlovable, undesirable, or undeserving of care. It doesn’t make you too much or too sensitive or too needy. It makes you human.

You don’t ever have to apologize for feeling sad. You aren’t being too sensitive. You aren’t imagining things or being overdramatic. You’re being true to yourself by honoring your emotions, and that is never something you have to feel ashamed of. Whether you have a need that isn’t being met, an old wound that’s been reopened, a person in your life who is making you feel small, a painful memory of something from the past, or an emptiness from the loss of someone you care about—there is always something underlying our sadness, and whatever it is, it’s important and valid. Whatever it is, it deserves to be expressed and felt.

Don’t forget you’re human. It’s okay to have a meltdown, just don’t unpack and live there. Cry it out and then refocus on where you are headed.