Not long ago, I read a post by Jamie Ridler on Roots Of She, about the kind of advice she would give to her younger self. I think I recall writing a bit about it during #reverb10 as well, but I never allowed myself to get too far into it, because I was scared of what might come out.
But the other day, Jess at So Uprightly Burning did a post on her letter to her 10-years-ago self, and it inspired me to finish mine.
So here it is:
A Letter To My Younger Self.
Me at around 14, and me today, 10 years later.
Dear beautiful Jen,
Well, you’re 14 years old. And I can tell you that this year is going to be the hardest year of your young life so far. And the next couple of years after won’t be much easier.
Your anxieties at school will get worse, you won’t feel safe in your own home, your self-esteem will be virtually non-existent, and people you love will die.
You will feel so ignored at school that when your favourite art teacher reaches out to you, you will be so surprised that you won’t know how to respond. Don’t assume she’s just doing her job; she really does care. I know this because even today, ten years later, she still remembers you.
I’m telling you all of this because I want you to know that, no matter how unbearable it all seems, and how lost you feel, you will get through it, you will find your way.
It’s all going to be okay.
The next few years will be dark, but there is so much light, so much good, waiting for you on the other side. Everything you are going through will be worth it, and everything these tough times teach you, about yourself, about others, and about life, will one day serve to make you very strong.
Just remember, everything happens for a reason, and things will get better, a lot better. I promise.
Please know that those people who hurt you, they do it because they, too, are suffering. It’s not your fault. They hurt others because they are hurting. You don’t have to put up with that in your life. Speak up.
It will take a long time for you to fully trust others, but someone will come along who will show how to love.
While you are running around chasing boys and looking for someone to love you, your soulmate will be right under your nose, and he will have already fallen for you before you even know his name.
It’s okay; you can trust this one. This boy won’t hurt you. So don’t get suspicious every time he gives you a compliment; he really does think you’re beautiful. He really does love you. And he really will marry you one day.
He will heal your closed heart, help you see how amazing you are, and show you what it’s like to have a real home, one where you feel safe, loved, and free to be who you really are. You can tell him your secrets, your fears and your dreams, and he will love you even more in return.
He will love you completely, every part of you, the good and the not-so-good. And you will feel the same about him. You will be a blessing to him just as much as he will be a blessing to you.
He makes everything you are going through now so, so worth it.
In regards to friends… well, don’t go the extra mile for anyone who wouldn’t do the same for you. And remember, anyone who gossips to you, will gossip about you. Even the ones who you think you can trust with your life.
Some friends you have now you will still have in ten years. Others will try to take advantage of you, and as soon as you are strong enough to stand up for yourself, you will realise you don’t want them, or their never-ending dramas, in your life anymore. It will be a hard choice to make, but I promise you won’t regret it.
In fact, by cutting them out, you will see just how much negativity they brought into your life in the first place, and you will have so much more room to grow into the positive woman you are meant to be.
Also, don’t get caught up in the aftermath of that ended friendship. The more drama they create about it, and the more lies they spread, the more they prove to you that you don’t need them in your life. Send them love and move on to the more awesome things that are coming your way.
Keep drawing, painting, creating, writing, and expressing yourself through art. You have no idea how much you need it to heal, grow, and be happy.
And never stop dreaming. That life-long dream you have of living overseas? You accomplish it at 23. I know, pretty awesome huh? You will also have your first art exhibit at age 22. And all those other things you dream of? You can do all of it. You really can.
Don’t avoid the things, places or people that make you anxious. You know those freak-outs you have before school, that you think are normal? Those are panic attacks. One day you will be so ruled by them that you never leave the house alone. Not even to get the mail.
Don’t worry; you need to live through that. That’s what causes you to do something drastic, like moving to China for a year. That will help you to overcome the anxiety pretty quickly. You will learn that your fears aren’t real, and that every time you face the things that scare you, the stronger and happier you become.
Then you will realise how brave you are, to do things that terrify you every single day.
Also, it’s okay to change your mind about what you want to do. Keep trying new things until you find what fits. A lot of those people who put you down for changing your mind will end up feeling stuck, doing jobs that they hate, and having no idea what they want to do with their lives. So don’t listen to their opinions.
Only listen to those people who are already living the kind of life you want to live – everyone else is just guessing.
I know right now you don’t know much about positive thinking, but you are always trying to see the bright side. Don’t listen to those people who call you unrealistic. What they don’t know is that it is optimism that will get you through the next few years, and start you on an amazing journey that will lead you to living such a happy and amazing life.
So, there will be a lot of tough moments in your life over the next ten years. But there will be even more amazing, happy and love-filled moments. So just keep going.
Most of all: Be kind to yourself. You are so worthy of love and respect, but it starts with you. Love yourself first, and everything else will fall into place. Make loving yourself your number one priority.
I Love You.