Happy Sunday All,
Dedicated to Ella, Jake, Lily, Brogan, Ben, Roya & Demi
I’ve had a week in which many younger people, presented their problems, concerns and issues to me and I found myself giving the best advice I could to support them and hoping it would be enough My response is generally to simply say what I know about life up to this point and share what I have learnt; when it occurred to me; If the younger version of me, my innocent and wide-eyed self was in front of me now, what would I say to her? How would I re-assure her that she’s OK and always will be? How would I convince her that she is talented and beautiful and unique?
I decided today to write a letter to my younger self.
You’re only 17 and I remember you being wracked with a searing doubt about who you are and your worthiness right now. That’s OK because without doubt, we do not question ourselves and dig deep. When we do this, we are forced to make decisions about who we are and that’s a good thing.
You see, we are malleable, like plasticine or clay…I guess that’s why the bible says we have feet of clay. The analogy is a good one because we DO indeed ‘shape’ ourselves. That shaping comes in the form of the choices we make in the face of the challenges and the upsets and the betrayals and the disloyalty and the mis-steps and the slip-ups. You see in those moments you get to decide which way you want to go, how you want to behave and who you CHOOSE to be. These are THE most valuable moments because you get to decide who & what you want to be in and to this world.
I’m very proud of you. You’ve become a kind and loving elder who has always looked to the good in others and this is all we need to do.
Yes, others may have been cruel, betrayed you, yes you were let you down and disappointed, yes you’ve been criticised, but that was “THEIR STUFF” don’t take it on. I admire that you knew instinctively what is right for us and you stick with always showing kindness and forgiveness.
For that reason you are still able to embrace life’s joys. You are not cynical or bitter, you are not a martyr or a victim. In fact you’re eternally hopeful believing that the life you dream of will is just around any and every corner.
In this letter to my younger self, I can’t stress enough that I’d like you to get this one much, much sooner than we did the first time round. we only got this in our 4th decade, so please if you do one thing NOW it’s this:
No…Listen, I said LOVE YOURSELF. Accept yourself completely and make NO excuse for being yourself, your ‘less desirable’ attributes included. You can simply decide to work on them and change any that you think they are an issue for you.
I’d like you to completely get that you are SO amazing. We all are and the longer I am here and the more people I meet the more conviction I have in this belief and I know deep, deep in my heart that the blissings you receive are as a result of how you treat and speak to yourself and others.
Find your peace
Find a way to quiet your inner critic as soon as possible and speak to yourself as you would a beautiful new-born child. We are a grandmother now and our granddaughter is simply pure joy just because she exists. She doesn’t have to do anything or give anything she has nothing to prove she just is and in just being, she is perfect.
Remember we were a baby; we were perfect and needed to do and be nothing but who and what we are. But guess what?
It’s still the same way.
We are all still adorable, still joy and have nothing to prove, nor anything we have to be, except to follow what are our ‘Happy challenges.’ I say challenges because we need the tension and the ‘grist’ to shape us and help us choose (Not too much ‘grist’ or drama now please!) but happy because it’s the feel good feelings that keep us feeling energised and replenished so we can continue to give.
Which brings me neatly to ‘giving,’ as this is the ‘Key’ to your happiness.
N.B. You give to YOURSELF first.
You tended to suffer from giving, giving, giving to others, and that’s a quality I greatly admire in you, but you were doing so out of a desire for approval and forgot about YOU. I said it before you are worthy, so are we all and so keep your glass full and in that way you have enough to share and there is still half a glass left for yourself. Fill yourself with experiences and sharing and loving and creative work and whatever makes you light up and then you have the best of yourself to share with others.
If I have one regret it’s that we haven’t travelled as much as we both wanted. Circumstances I know, but regardless, take any and every opportunity to travel. You will feel expanded and learn self-reliance and this leads to the inner confidence and knowing, truly knowing you will always be OK.
Ooh this is a biggie!
You cannot control another, so don’t even try.
Just as we are creating who we are, so others are creating themselves. The only thing you can do in any of your relationships is be your best version of yourself.
Be the self you choose and then choose again according to the choices, actions and reactions of others.
That’s the ‘dance,’ nothing more, nothing less
If you feel an action you are taking is ‘right’ and honourable, (honours you and your moral code and respects them) and I stress the ‘honourable,’ then make no apology for it. You have a right to be YOU; you have a right to your choices for your life.
Have high standards for yourself and others and NEVER apologise for them or bend yourself into a pretzel to please others and what they think they want you to be. More often than not this springs from their own feelings of inadequacy or insecurity.
Sure there will be ties when you are alone as you transition from one circle to another, but you WILL find those kindred spirits who love you for who you are and do not need or want you to change yourself to ‘fit in.’
Don’t do it! EVER…
- Be resolute and stick to what is right for YOU.
- Do good
- DO right
You KNOW what’s right… Yes you do, you know that inner feeling that sharp pinch that you get inside if you do or say something that’s cruel or wrong, so avoid having to feel it. Just don’t do it. Choose right always.
This letter to my younger self I now realise needs another chapter. So, for today I will leave you to contemplate the loving words I send to you as you step into your 18th year.