What My Mother Taught Me

“Have faith in the world. Have faith in God. And most importantly, have faith in yourself.”

Ever since I can remember, my mother has been my motivation. My inspiration. And the reason that I am who I am today.

Sophomore year of high school, I recall, was the most difficult year of my life thus far. Not only academically, but more importantly, emotionally. My will to do well, to succeed, and to be who I dreamed of being, all escaped my mind that year. I was my own enemy, pushing myself away from reality and forcing myself into a dark hole. I ignored those who cared for me and chased after people who later hurt me. My distractions clouded my goals, and soon took over my life. I felt alone. I cared too much for others and was dependent on “friends” when I felt scared or depressed. I became unconfident and uncomfortable in my own skin, and I was emotionally weak. My priorities slipped and I later realized the mess I was in.

My biggest regret was pushing my family away. The people who cared and loved me for who I am. The last day of sophomore year was when it hit me. I realized I had wasted one whole year of my life. My grades had slipped immensely, and I was ashamed of myself for being this lazy and distracted. The only person I was mad at was myself. I hated who I had become. I remember crying that night and my mother later comforting me.

Instead of being angry, she looked at me and smiled. She told me to be strong and reminded me of my past success. “You will accomplish anything you dream of,” my mother said. I laughed as I thought to myself how ridiculous it sounded. “I messed up this year so bad,” I replied. “Don’t lie.” That night, my mother told me that if I have faith, I can still do great things. I just have to believe in myself and work harder.

My mother has taught me numerous things, and her thoughts have inspired and motivated me to do well. My mother is a powerful woman whom I look up to and aspire to be like one day. Her outlook on life, her positive attitude, and her faith in herself makes her a successful woman.

Now, I have learned to trust myself. Even though sophomore year was rough, I have learned to have faith in God and to remind myself of my goals to do well. I no longer depend on those who don’t care for me. I talk to myself whenever times become tough. I have learned to love and respect those who are there for me: my family.

I am sharing this to motivate those who feel miserable, are full of regret, and think they are alone. I have been there once in my life, and I know it is not a good feeling. However, we have to remind ourselves of our strengths and push ourselves to succeed. Crying over past failures will only make us weaker. What is in the past is in the past, and we cannot change or fix it. However, we can change and fix our future. We can learn from mistakes and grow from them.

Just remember: You are beautiful. You are successful. And you are amazing! Love yourself.

About the Author | Shreya Papneja

Shreya Papneja is a high-school student and an entrepreneur. She has a passion for health and medicine and runs a local nonprofit organization (the Children's Health Awareness Program in Schools, or CHAPS), is a leader at her school's medical association, and is the student representative for Real Food for Kids. She enjoys traditional Indian dancing (bhangra) and loves spending time with her family.

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