Advice for my Younger Self
Imagine you are 12 again. You get a letter in the mail. This letter changes everything for you! It contains every word you ever wanted to hear. Every kindness, every encouragement, every bit of faith in your abilities. This letter is from yourself. The future you, stronger and wiser chose to sit down and write this valuable letter of advice for my younger self. This future version of you knows everything that you are going to go through and knows that you need love and support above all else.
This post is a little bit like a 1yr olds birthday party. It’s not really for the 1yr old. What I’m trying to say is we know we can’t go back in time and deliver this personally, but somewhere inside us that little girl still lives and breathes. Somewhere inside us she needs to hear these words. I don’t know about you, but I would love to be on the receiving end of this advice for my younger self. The good news is we can be! We can be there now for that younger version of ourselves. Here’s the advice I would give to my younger self:
Above All Else Believe In Yourself
Firstly, know that I have spent so many years of my life lacking the self-belief that has the power to shape my life. I can now sit here and say for all that I am worth, ‘Believe in Yourself!’! Above all else, you must believe in your worth, your abilities, and your place in this life! You are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for. The sooner we understand this the better off we will be.
Don’t let the opinion of others get you down. They don’t need to believe in you, but you do. Stop measuring yourself against other people. Look in the mirror and see the uniqueness that is you. Believe that God breathed life into you for a reason. Find the truth inside yourself that makes you who you are, and spend your life being true to this! We can all get lost, but in order to find our way we need to understand that we have to keep moving, and keep growing. So, believe in yourself and keep pushing yourself towards your full self-expression. Realize that living true to yourself has to be the number one goal.
Don’t Be Afraid To Love
Love, when you are young, is an exciting and terrifying thing. But, don’t be afraid! Start with believing in yourself and you will believe you are worthy of love. I wish I could give the advice to my younger self that prevents any hurt, but this simply isn’t part of the lesson in life. We all get hurt,but allowing your heart the experience of love is a lesson like no other. It is a lesson of the strength that you carry within you. It is a lesson of your values and ethics, of what you will accept and what you won’t. Above all else it is a lesson on pure joy.
This does not mean you shouldn’t be selective! Rather, be even more so because of the value you place on yourself. And, when you find someone worthy, open your heart fully. Don’t be afraid. Learning to love is a lesson in vulnerability, selflessness, commitment, and the list goes on. But, above all else (and despite the sadness that we can sometimes experience) it is a lesson in joy. Love teaches us to be in the moment. To let everything else disappear while we dedicate each breath to sharing this joyful moment with each other. So, my advice is: don’t let fear get in the way of joy. Even if it is fleeting, love is a far superior emotion than fear!
You Are Beautiful Exactly As You Are
While I wish beauty was not even part of the discussion, I know the vulnerability of your dear, sweet, heart. Believe me, you are beautiful! Don’t look around and confuse what true beauty is. The best advice I can give to you, as my younger self is that it is inside you. Be true to yourself and that beauty will shine! Take on the compliments you will receive for your looks, but pay special attention to the ones you receive for your heart! These are worth their weight in gold, for your true beauty is the qualities that shine from within you. And the people in your life that see this are treasure’s worth keeping!
Take this advice even further, and love all for more than their ‘beauty’. Know this truth stands for all of us, that we all want to be accepted as we are. Try to always look deeper and be more filled with love. Seeing the beauty in all of God’s creatures is a steady path to happiness.
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You Are Creative
Although I now believe we are all creative, just in different ways, growing up I didn’t see it this way at all. I always doubted my creative abilities. Now, my heart aches for you, little girl. You are naturally creative, but never good enough in your own eyes! You can draw, write, sing, take photographs. But, you never mastered painting or pottery and somehow chose that to cling on to!
Stop cutting off your life blood! Draw, write, do what you love! You are comparing again! Just being in the art class or the photography class means you belong, you don’t have to be the best one there! Telling yourself you’re not good enough is like cutting off your air supply. Breathe, feel, be creative! It’s who you are and it’s only for you, nobody else! Creativity is meant to be free, so set it free! If you are a creative soul, let this be your reminder. Whatever creativity stirs in your soul is yours to explore! Your soul is crying to be expressed through the page, canvas, clay or baking tray!
Your Opinion Matters
There are many people whos voice will be louder than yours. Many choices will be made for you, if you don’t learn to speak up for yourself. Know that your life is, and always will be, for you. That means living your truth, every day. I have learned that the best thing that you can do for yourself is to listen, soak it all in. Look for all those opinions in the books you read and the people you encounter. But, don’t let them drown out your own voice. And, ultimately make your decisions in life based on what rings true for you.
Each day, when you wake up, find a way to speak and live your truth. If being around people is your thing do more of that, if it isn’t, do less of it! Wear stripes with polka dots if you want to. Eat vegetarian food if that is your choice. Don’t fit into anyone’s box. We can take on a predetermined identity or we can shape our own. If you don’t express your own opinion you will never fully live your own life.
Hiding From Emotions Doesn’t Allow Them To Heal
I have come to realize that emotions are like waves. You need to learn to ride with them or they will come crashing down on you. What I’m trying to say is, feel the feelings! Don’t keep them locked up. Feel them, process them, and then let them wash away. If they crash down, they can break you. If you allow this to happen, they can become hard to get away from. Rather, flow with them until you surface again.
(We all cope differently with emotions and I recommend anyone that is struggling should contact a medical professional)
You Don’t Have To Be Strong All The Time
When you find yourself putting on a brave face ask yourself why you are doing this. Are you pretending everything is ok because you don’t want to upset anyone? Are you too afraid to say how you really feel? There will be many times when you don’t feel strong, and that’s ok. Being afraid does not make you weak.
There will always be people who you can turn to, you are not alone. When life gets hard those people will appear. They will lend you a hand or a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes you need to let your guard down to help yourself to heal.
Don’t Stand In Your Own Way
Never let self-doubt stop you from doing what you feel guided to do in this life. Don’t stand in your own way! Stand firm in what you believe in instead of letting that little voice push you off your course. That voice is your head, and your heart knows better. Your heart is connected to the truth of who you are at your core, so learn to tune out the noise in your head and listen to how your heart makes you feel instead.
My advice in the head vs heart tug-of-war is ‘just try’ the things that make you feel excited and inspired. Life will pass you by while you are dwelling on your regrets. Just try, even if you start by playing it small, you can’t grow without movement. Just don’t let your self-doubt and fears stop you. Regret, in the end, will weigh heavier on you than fear!
You Create Your Own Destiny: It Is Not Decided For You
We too easily fall into a pattern of what is expected of us. Remember, it’s difficult to get off the hamster wheel when it is already spinning! Take control and create your own destiny, don’t follow in the footsteps laid out before you.
Build the picture in your mind of the life that you want and work towards it every day, in small but focused ways. In the choices that you make that show the world you are not prepared to compromise on who you are.
Look For Happiness Within You
Something you need to know right now is happiness is up to you! It is a conscious choice you make every single day. It is learning to love your own company, not relying on others or believing your happiness lies with them. Start by accepting yourself, loving yourself, and then choose happy! It is in the way that you carry yourself through life and the way you choose to see the glass half full instead of half empty. Make a decision to live a happy life.
Don’t Lose Sight of Who You Are
You will fight to discover your own identity. You will learn what you love, what you hate and everything in between. But, you will also experience life’s changes. You will grow up and life will try to mold you. Stay true, always, to who you are. Don’t push aside your identity because it doesn’t work for someone else, or a situation. You don’t need to explain yourself, or change yourself for anyone.
Giving advice to you, as my younger self, I know this is one you will struggle with. Please, remember, your value isn’t dependent on what you do for others. Remember to value yourself first. Only then will you bring the real value you long to bring to those you love.
Don’t Take Life Too Seriously
Being a child is so freeing! You see the wonder in everything. This is a beautiful thing because you know no boundaries, set no limitations and believe in all things good. Don’t ever stop believing in the wonder and the magic in life! There is no need to! Life is magic as long as you manage to keep it alive inside of yourself despite any of the negative energy that will be pushed on to you.
There is so much joy to be had in this life. Growing up is tough but try to hold on to the lighter side of life, try to remind yourself regularly to have some fun. Being an adult is like somebody tapping on your bumper car and telling you your time is up. Don’t let that happen. Laugh, pull funny faces, leave the wet towels on the floor and stay up till midnight to watch your favourite movies!
Take it easy! We learn as we go. Don’t overthink things (big one!). Love, laugh and enjoy every breath and every heartbeat that you are blessed with. I know, like most of us humans, if you liked the advice you will use it, if you didn’t you will lump it. Either way, you learn as you go. Either way, this life will teach you and help you grow, even when you don’t realize it. You are young, but you are strong. You have everything you need within. Be ALL you can be.
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(blog originally posted 22 Feb 2021)