Shawn Mendes’ career is on fire. His latest singles, “If I Can’t Have You” and “Señorita,” a duet with Camila Cabello, are burning up the charts, and he’s traveling North America, the UK and Europe on tour. Shawn himself seems a little amazed at his massive success, and he took to Instagram to send a powerful message about staying true to what you love and not letting anyone — even high school bullies — bring you down.
“I’m thinking about being in 9th grade right now,” Shawn wrote under a pic of himself onstage, playing the piano surrounded by hundreds of fans. “The day after I posted one of my first covers onto YouTube back in 2014, at school walking down the hall straight into a group of older guys yelling out ‘Ssing for me Shawn sing for me!’ in a way that made me feel absolutely horrible... made me feel like a joke, like what I was doing was just stupid & wrong.”
According to Shawn’s emotional post, his friends and family refused to let him give up on his musical dreams, so he kept on despite the bullying. “It’s not [a] joke to me. To make someone feel bad about doing what they love... every single person deserves to do what makes them feel alive,” he wrote.
Shawn hopes his story will resonate with others going through something similar, whether it’s being bullied for pursuing your passion or following your dreams wherever they may lead you. “I’m writing this not only to the 15-year-old kid who’s scared to follow their heart because of what people might say but also to the 50-year-old who may be doing the exact same thing,” he wrote. “I know it’s not just that easy & I’m not asking you to change your world overnight, BUT I want you to know that no matter how old you are, no matter who you are, no matter where you’re from... you deserve to follow your heart. I’m here & I’m rooting for you.” We’re not crying, you’re crying!
A few of Shawn’s peers chimed in with messages of support, including Niall Horan, who wrote “Couldn’t relate or agree with something more if I tried. We had the last laugh.” His duet partner Camila added, “This is beautiful,” while his musical peers like Haley Kiyoko and Lauren Jauregui commented with hearts.
Clearly, Shawn’s message rings true even for the most successful musicians, and we’ll definitely be keeping his words in mind when we need a reminder to follow our dreams.
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Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue