Dear Younger self,
I wish I had known then what I know now, haven’t we all thought this from time to time? So I’m writing a letter to my younger self, to tell me how it is.
You are so much prettier than you think.
How you wasted time worrying about the way you looked. You thought you weren’t pretty enough, and you didn’t like your figure. Your legs were too skinny, and there just wasn’t anything worth admiring about your body. Everyone else had nicer legs and bigger boobs. And you never believed any of the compliments that you ever received.
How wrong you were! You are so pretty, and I’d just love to have the figure that you have. If only you could see yourself the way I now see you. Your face is full and youthful, your skin smooth, your eyes bright. Just imagine shedding all that useless worry and self-criticism. How you would have enjoyed yourself more, felt the joy of receiving compliments and focussed your energy on what really matters – being young!
So I make this pledge to my older self – accept who you are.
You are perfectly imperfect. You don’t have to be perfect – and you never will be – you must only be the most perfect version of your true self. Your stretch marks are the marks that you grew to let life and love into your world. Your wrinkles etch the laughter, smiles and joy and remind you of the people and moments that make life truly worth living. And your squishy belly is a warm, soft spot for love to rest its sleepy head.
Don’t worry so much about material possessions.
You may remember what you bought for yourself last week, or received on your last birthday, but in times to come you won’t remember. The joy and fulfilment of having those things will soon pass. You thought that it was something that you just had to have! What you will remember are the experiences you have had. You will tell the stories over and over again. These experiences will define who you become, what you value and what matters in life – and that’s a life well lived.
Surrounding yourself with things and more things will clutter your life, choking the air. You will become a slave to your stuff. Clearing it away, finding places to keep it, and then eventually having to throw it away. Clutter will never enrich your life.
So I make this pledge to my older self – free yourself from the shackles of your possessions.
Get rid of the useless stuff that is cluttering your home and life. Spend your time on worthwhile pursuits that enrich the experiences of your life and the people who you love. You don’t need more stuff.
Learn to have more fun.
You are so shy, what a waste, I wish you knew how much it’s holding you back from the fullness of life. You have so much to offer too, and you are just as worthy of an opinion as anyone else. Do you remember being told that youth is wasted on the young? How you scoffed at that! Turns out that it’s true. Who would have thought – and we were so sure that we had it all figured out.
So I make this pledge to my older self – to do something every day that brings you joy, the simple things in life, to savour each moment.
Find reasons to laugh and have fun, even in the most mundane of times. Bring light to the lives of others through laughter, to uplift others so that they will be glad that you were there.
Grab every opportunity that you can.
Carpe diem! An opportunity lasts but only a moment and then it is gone, lost forever. You will regret the things that you didn’t do more than the things that you did do. You thought you had all the time and opportunities in the world, and that if the opportunity came once it was yours forever.
So I make this pledge to my older self – You will never walk this way again, so stop and take all you can get from it.
Take that moment to offer up a kindness, seize that job opportunity – even if it scares you, or you talk yourself into believing that you’re not ready for it – you are!
Don’t let fear direct your life.
How many times did your stop yourself from doing something that you wanted to do or fear that I could not do it? Fear was sitting on your shoulder telling you how many things could go wrong, and no matter how ridiculous, you believed what fear had to say. Fear told you that you would fail, that you would make a fool of yourself, that everyone would laugh at you and that the good in life was never meant for you. But fear is a cranky fool who needs to control and keep all the joy for itself.
So I make this pledge to my older self – Decide who will be the boss of you – your fear or you.
Embrace the risk and unknown – who knows what’s out there for you unless you shake off your fears and find it. You will never know how wonderful something can be unless you venture into the uncertainty.
Don’t care what other people think of you.
You chose how to act based on how you thought everyone else thought you should, so you could be accepted as one of the crowd. It seemed to matter to you what everyone thought of you. As they say, it’s none of your business what other people think of you. And who are they to judge unless they have walked a mile in your shoes. It’s stopped you from speaking to that guy, from getting up to dance, for fear of what others would think. Truth is they were really thinking of themselves all along anyway.
So I make this pledge to my older self – People will think what they want to think.
If they are against you, they will think negative things no matter what you do. And if they are in your corner, they don’t care what you do, as long as you do it with good intent. Don’t be one of the crowd, stand out from the crowd – the air is clearer and the view is better away from the crowd.
Fill your life with genuine people.
Have a look around you at the people in your life, what do you truly believe or think about them, who are they really? Trust your gut – you know when it’s telling you someone is no good for you. That friend who uses you, the man who only thinks of himself. Somehow you’ve convinced yourself that you need these people in your life. But it’s just a lack of confidence in yourself. Real friends accept you for who you are and leave you feeling better about yourself with every interaction that you have. Real men see your worth and value and are grateful that you chose them and want to share their one and only life with you.
So I make this pledge to my older self – always be on the look-out for your cheerleaders, the people who make you laugh, and the people who show they care about the things that they do.
Don’t chase after anyone – if they want to be in your life – they will be.
You only have this one life.
I remember how you used to act like you had all the time in the world. You know this isn’t a practice run, we don’t get a do-over. This is it!
So I make this pledge to my older self – leave no stone unturned and no joy unfelt, no moments of regret.
We will never walk this way again. Waste no opportunity, find joy wherever it may be. Express gratitude and savour the small moments for the wonderful gifts that they truly are.
So really this is a letter to my future self. The past is gone, and there’s no returning to it except for the lessons it teaches us. Learn the lessons. Look onward and upward and make this one life of yours something truly spectacular! Oh and for goodness sake – drink more water – it’s really not that hard!
With love from the person you become.
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