Letter To My 16-Year-Old Self: Boxer Mary-Kate Slattery

"Unfollow people who don’t make you feel good, and follow those who do."

We chat to some of our favourite well-known people about what they’d say to their teenage-self. They reveal what their teens were like and the advice they’d give for the future.

This week, we’re chatting to boxer Mary-Kate Slattery who talks about family, kindness and spending time on your own.

“Dear 16-year-old me,

This is probably one of the toughest years – everything’s changing, emotions are running high, school pressure is red hot and your sisters steal all of your clothes (although you are certainly guilty of the same crime). I’d like to offer you some advice, from the future – and to everyone reading this, maybe you’ll take something small from these words.

Firstly, I’d love to give you a big hug and tell you to give yourself a break. Go for a walk, breathe in the still air and observe how beautiful life is. I’d love to tell you that you simply don’t know enough about life to worry about it for others. I’d love to wash off all that makeup you are hiding under and tell you how beautiful your little freckles are and that you definitely don’t need to wear so much fake tan, and that push up bra – just bin it.

I’d love you to really see how important your family is, even when they seem like they want you to suffer, they DON’T. And at the end of it all, they are a part of you – cherish them.

I’d love to tell you that while your life is your own, and you can design it how you like, you are not the centre of the universe – I know this may come as a massive shock and I’m sorry to tell you in this way but you must have empathy for others – everyone is facing the same challenges in different ways.

Don’t let other people’s actions put you down, that’s out of your control so don’t waste your energy on it – all you can control is how you react. Don’t worry about anything you can’t control. This, when you fully understand it is the most important key in life.


Exercise more, not because you need to change the shape of your body – but because you need to change the shape of your mind. Try a sport you’d never typically see yourself in – maybe even try boxing, you might even surprise yourself and actually be bloody good at it.

Wake up each morning and say thank you. Go to sleep each night and say thank you. Gratitude creates good energy and good flow.

Be aware of the people who you surround yourself with – do they make you feel good? Do you make them feel good?

Don’t be afraid to spend time on your own, I know going out with your friends is great – but trust me, your own company is magic. While you’re alone, try to practice self love – this could be anything from a facemask, a workout, or even writing a love letter to yourself.

When it comes to social media, be aware of how much time you give it- it’s a false world. Unfollow people who don’t make you feel good, and follow those who do. And know that being your authentic self will allow others to be themselves. Trust me on this one.

And lastly – you haven’t met her yet, but your teacher who will teach you in leaving cert left you with the most important sentence – “kindness is all”. So, know this is the truth, and try to practice kindness everyday. Because after all – kindness is all that matters while we are here on Earth.

Lots of peace and love, your future self of 23 years of age, Mary-Kate Slattery x”

Mary-Kate Slattery is an ambassador for this years Irish Life Health Schools Fitness Challenge
Irish Life Health can be found online at: www.irishlifehealth.ie

The Irish Life Health Schools’ Fitness Challenge is a national health initiative designed to assess and improve fitness levels among secondary students in Ireland with the aim of improving overall health. The programme measures cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF). Low CRF increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), while improving CRF is associated with a reduced risk of developing chronic diseases such as Diabetes, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.