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We are obsessed with the Beat girls. Paula, Shonagh and Trish are beautiful, successful, strong and full of confidence.

Right?

Well yeah, sometimes. Just like the rest of us, they are wonderful works in progress, and all have had times when they struggled, made bad decisions, were too hard on themselves, or forgot to focus on what’s important.

In this weeks “Girl Talk” podcast the ladies wrote letters to their 16 year old selves, and they went DEEP. And being total sounders, they offered to share those letters with us.

Shonagh.

The first thing you should know is what your Dad taught you is probably the best advice you will ever be given.

  1. Never apologise for your feelings. They are part of you and make you who you are.
  2. Everything passes in time. You have to live to understand that.
  3. Keep laughing. Never loose your sense of humour.
  4. Say “I Love You” to the people who matter.

It turns out listening to him will be invaluable.

Apart from that you should probably learn the art of toughening up and not being too sensitive. Life will throw you lots of curve balls and you have to be strong enough to get past them.

Worry less about what others think. They are not spending their day thinking of your woes. They are far too concerned with their own.

Forget trying to impress people who don’t really matter. Stay true to yourself.

Education is important… if its important to you. Experience and hard work will ensure you succeed in whatever path you choose.

Boyfriends, friends… they might come and go over the next few years. Your family are your constant source of love and support. Don’t push them away. They are the people that love you unconditionally.

Trust your gut when it comes to friendships- the special ones will never judge or pass comment and they will make you feel good about yourself.

Believe in yourself. Believe in your ability

Don’t seek approval from others. Trust that you are doing your very best.

You had a dream since you were a child to be an actress. Whatever happens, keep that part of you alive.

And finally.. Learn to be happy on your own. getting to know yourself is the best thing you will ever do.

XXX

Trish.

Dear Trish,

  1. Don’t let other people rent space in your head for free.
  2. Stop thinking you know it all, you still have so much to learn.
  3. SAVE. Listen to Mam and start that healthy habit of putting a little away.
  4. You’re a strong, intelligent young woman who has great instincts. Don’t be afraid to listen to them and follow them.
  5. That boy you think you love will teach you a lot about yourself so just go with it and don’t over-think it too much,
  6. Your tenacity for justice is a great thing and even though it might seem tough to stand up for what you believe in or to be different at times don’t fear. You have a lot of love around you.
  7. Stay away from hair weaves and heavy hair dying, as a matter of fact just don’t do it! If you decide to ignore this rule at least give your hair a break.
  8. You’re loyal to a fault sometimes, don’t be guilted into staying loyal in a toxic relationship, it’ll save you a world of pain.
  9. Try to forgive more, not everyone can be as “perfect” as you are. Forgive your Dad and don’t hold grudges. It only harbors hate.

  10. Tell your mother you love her more.

Paula.

Dear 16 year old Paula,

Firstly, well done! By the age of 25, you have a college degree in the bag, you love your job, and you haven’t found yourself pregnant, that’s an achievement in itself.

Knowing what I know now, your happiness is number one. Accepting yourself and being comfortable as you are, are the most valuable lessons in life. It sounds very cringe, but you can lose so much time trying to please other people and worrying about what they think of you and trust me, they will spend very little time worrying about you. This is something I’m still working on and will probably continue to work on for years to come, but at 16 with exam worries and hormones- there is no time to seek acceptance from anyone else but yourself.

Other people can be supportive and build you up, but they can knock you down just as quick. You will have knocks in life, you should tackle them head on and they will stand to you.

Family have and always will be there for you, boyfriends and friends will come and go but their love is unconditional. That’s special, don’t waste it.

Surround yourself with people who make you feel good. Friendships shouldn’t be a chore. Once you are happy and conformable in yourself, you will attract people who bring out the best in you. Hold on to those kinds of friends.

Education sets you up in life, its a pain now but its important. Exams are stressful but please try to trust your ability and know that you will do well. Utilise your time, study hard but don’t allow yourself to stress out to the point of tears (which happened a lot).

People will talk, everyone has an opinion and people will say things about you, but as long as you know you’re a good person and that your heart is in the right place, please let these things bounce off you.

KEEP UP A TEAM SPORT! (a bit late now) but one thing I miss about my teenage years is being involved with a team and training.

10 years on and I’m still working on all of the above, but we’ll get there!

Paula xxx

You can listen to the girls reading their letters, and sharing their thoughts here…