I take one last glance in the mirror, attempting to reflect on being back in high school, knowing I am about to speak to a group of young adults; there is so much I want to say.

One day you will look back and laugh but that one-day is not today.

I remember being somewhat popular in high school when all I really wanted was to be left alone. I played basketball, participated in student government, and did well academically. But I also remember going through periods of depression. When I look back on those years, I know most of my turmoil and chaos was internal and stemmed from lack of self-esteem and not recognizing my worth.

From Me To You

You are not alone. Your struggle may be different, but it is all the same. Your internal dialogue may fail you at times, so I am here to let you know; you are wonderful. Your uniqueness adds value to the world. You are a gift and you are the standard. Strive for excellence because you deserve your best. Be committed to working hard; the fruits of labor are amazing. You are your only competition, be better than you were yesterday. Surround yourself with like-minded people and travel this journey together. But do not be afraid to walk alone because the wrong relationships will hinder your progress.

Steps to Changing Your Thinking

Step 1: Courage — You are fearlessly and wonderfully made.

Step 2: Believe — Believe you deserve the best.

Step 3: Decide — Decide to walk in your truth.

Step 4: Action — Everyday, take the next right step.

Step 5: Excellence — You are worthy of your best.

Step 6: Write — Write about your dreams, goals and plans.

Step 7: Acceptance — Learn for your missteps and recover.

Step 8: Kindness — Forgive yourself if you stumble.

Step 9: Support — Create a support system.

Step 10: Love — Love…above all.

Be Encouraged. Be Empowered. Be Educated. Be You.

Dr. Shanelle R. Benson Reid, President and CEO of ACCESS Global, LLC. is a Consultant, Coach, Author and Professional Speaker. Her expertise is in Education, Cultural Competency, Social Awareness, Entrepreneurship and Community / Individual Empowerment.

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Originally published at medium.com