DEAR ME: 3 THINGS I’D SAY TO MY YOUNGER SELF
Have you ever wished you could go back in time and give your younger self some advice? Have you ever wondered what you – as the strong, trailblazing, unapologetic grown-up woman you are today – would say to yourself as a little girl? What wisdom would you give her? What would she need to hear? How could you be her biggest cheerleader?
Today is International Women’s Day and, inspired to reflect on the lessons life has taught me so far, here are the three things I’d say to my younger self…
I am so proud of the kind and bookish girl you are, and even prouder of the kind and bookish woman you will grow up to be!
You didn’t change - and you never let anything or anyone take your smile away :-)
From your 30-something future self (I know, so old! But don’t worry, the view from over the hill is actually OK!), here are three pieces of advice that I think you might like to hear…
* ‘FRANKLY, MY DEAR, I DON’T GIVE A DAMN’: DON’T GIVE A MONKEY’S WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF YOU.
Whatever makes you quirky or unusual is a gift.
What makes you different and makes other people sit up and notice you is your superpower, your USP, what makes you YOU and not anybody else. This is your calling card, and no-one else has what you have.
If people pick on you for your differences, that reveals something of their insecurities and nothing of who you are. And they own that, not you. Shake it off.
It might feel strange or alienating at times to be the odd one out, the one saying ‘No’ to things that everyone else seems to be doing, or the one who enjoys reading classic novels and writing poetry, or the one who never has the coolest trainers or the right kind of pencil case, or even the right kind of social currency, but heck!, realise that it’s bolder, braver and gutsier to do your OWN thing, be your OWN woman and stand your OWN ground on what’s important to YOU.
Don’t back down, and don’t back out from who YOU are and what YOU stand for, simply to fit in.
* ‘I GOT IT ALL FIGURED OUT!’: ACTUALLY, NOPE, NONE OF US DO – AND THAT’S OK!
It’s great to dream big and to put goals in place to achieve them. Striving to better ourselves is wonderful and to be encouraged.
But stressing over it and thinking that you need to have your whole life mapped out when you choose your GCSE options is often unrealistic and an unnecessary stress.
The question, What do you want to be when you grow up? can be an exciting one. But it can also be stressful.
What if you don’t know what you want to do? What if somebody doesn’t respect the choice that you want to make?
People often ask the question, And what do you do? when they meet someone for the first time.
But a far better question, I feel, is to ask, What is it that you love to do?
We do not have to be defined by the work that we do to pay the bills. Who we are is far more important that what we do.
People love to pigeonhole others, labelling them in order to help them make sense of the world and the people and things around them.
But only YOU get to choose what labels are helpful to you and define who you truly are.
So don’t fret about knowing what you want to do.
Ideas change, plans change.
Life is an adventure and a constant state of flow and flux, and we are free to change our path if we so choose.
I am an eternal student at heart, and had always thought that I would go on to become a university lecturer. I was granted a place on a PhD course some years ago which, surprising myself, I chose not to take up.
I have changed my path in life on a number of occasions. And on a number of occasions, life has changed it for me.
Life is fluid and flexible, and you are free to chart your course, changing your direction as you see fit.
Focus on finding contentment and purpose where you are right now.
Don’t worry about having everything figured out. None of us do!
* ROCK THE BOAT: SAY WHAT YOU MEAN, BUT DON’T SAY IT MEAN.
I believe firmly that we should all behave kindly, politely and respectfully toward others.
Being nice is hugely underrated, with some people seeing niceness as weakness or even boring.
But I happen to think that it’s nice to be nice!
That being said, being a good, kind, nice person should NEVER come at the expense of yourself and your own happiness.
Niceness does NOT mean that you put up with people’s disrespectful, nasty or rude comments.
It is OK to challenge someone on their poor behaviour politely but firmly.
As the old saying goes, ‘Say what you mean, just don’t say it mean’.
So, set your boundaries, stand firm and stand up for them.
Speak up, speak out, and speak your mind.
Chart your course, set your sail, and have faith that YOU, and only YOU, have the ultimate power to navigate your path.
Go, girl! Seek your joy, stay curious, use your talents for good, and everything will work out exactly as it should 😊
Your Future Self! x
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