Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month: 6 Things I Would Tell My 17-year-old Self

February is Teen Dating Violence (TDV) Awareness Month. It’s important to learn about healthy relationships early on to help prevent abuse, so throughout February I will be posting on issues related to TDV.

To start, here are 6 things I would tell my 17-year-old self:

1. This isn’t normal. And it’s not ok. Find an older friend or family member you can talk to about this–most of your friends your age don’t know much about healthy and unhealthy relationships either.

2. It’s not your job to fix things or to make someone feel better. I know that all you want to do is to help others around you. But know your limits, because sometimes it only takes a toll on you.

3. Do the things you like to do. Focus on your favorite hobby, and don’t forget what that means to you. And always make sure that you can have time to yourself, even if it may sound silly to others. Going window shopping by yourself or getting a cup of coffee alone can go a long way.

4. Spend more time with your friends. You should never let someone get in the way of that. Your friends want you to be happy, and they miss spending time with you. You shouldn’t have to feel guilty for hanging out with them.

5. Stand up for what you believe in. You know what’s right, and you know what’s best for you. Don’t let anyone else tell you the kind of person you should be.

6. Believe in yourself. You’re going to do great things, you just haven’t realized it yet. Don’t let someone convince you otherwise.

For a resource on recognizing TDV, check out this info sheet from Futures Without Violence.

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