The older I get, the more I wish I had learned the hard lessons sooner. I think as girls and women, we are usually too hard on ourselves and find giving ourselves grace is a tough one. We can forgive and overlook everyone else’s faults and mis-steps, but it’s not as easy to do with ourselves for some reason!
I found this writing a few years ago and it touched home with me. It makes me want to lean down and hug the little girl I was over 50 years ago and tell her, it’s going to be ok. It’s going to be hard at times, but you’re much stronger than you know.
I hope it resonates with someone else or saves even one of us from unnecessary grief or angst. Life is already tough. Let’s stop being the ones making it tougher.
So here it is…a letter to our younger selves…
Dear Little Me,
There are so many things I wish I could tell you that would change the course of the heartbreak in your life. I wish I could share wisdom with you (or even cram it down your throat) to help you avoid the days when the shadows are more prominent than the light.
The problem is you can’t listen to me because you need to do things your way. I mean this in the most loving way possible. You really do need to do it your way because you are becoming you. You learn who you are through trial, error, and paying attention (this means you’ll be making some mistakes.)
Most of the heartbreak you suffer will be coming to you at your own hands. Sure he will hurt you. Yes she will betray you. They will talk about you. Others will laugh at you. Many will leave you. Your thighs will be the wrong shape. Your tummy won’t be flat enough. You won’t like how your tush looks. Your hair will be too something. The real problem is that in those moments you will be harder on yourself than any of them could be.
You will believe you deserved things you didn’t. You will believe you didn’t deserve things you did. You may act tough and rash (or weak and wimpy,) but inside there will be a nagging voice that will turn on you. There is another voice inside you too. It’s the one you don’t listen to often enough, but you will wish you had. The sooner you obey it, the sooner you will find peace.
What can I do to prevent crappy things from happening to you? Nothing. I can’t stop those event in the first place, but we do have a choice and a voice about how long the crap continues to hit the fan. (When it hits the fan, the sooner you step out of the way the less crap will get on you.)
Here are some secrets you need to know…
- you are not the only one who feels the way you do – they may not tell you they do, but they do
- the things you tell yourself you can’t survive – you probably already have many times over
- you will stop crying – it’s guaranteed
- your body will never be just the way you want it – it doesn’t have to be the way you want it to be beautiful, have fun, give, and receive love anyway
- a pair of fat pants is a wardrobe essential
- if he or she doesn’t like your body – then by all means don’t let him or her have your body
- have a backup plan for bad hair days
- change is scary – so what – do it anyway
- if you aren’t kind to you – then you aren’t a kind person – be a kind person
- pursue your dreams – learn more ways to say yes
- if you don’t mean yes – then don’t say it
- sleep is essential – but you can never own too many types of under-eye concealer
- if they didn’t teach you the skills you need – go get them somewhere else
- if you can’t forgive yourself – then you are not a forgiving person – be a forgiving person
~ B. Gayle Luster