Are there things I wish I could tell my younger self, based on what I know now; so she could live a happier, more peaceful and joyous life?
But hindsight is a wonderful thing. We only know what we know. And most of us are doing the best we can with what we know. We can’t ask much more from ourselves than this.
So this isn’t a list of regrets.
It’s me making peace with some of my most challenging moments; in the hope that if you’re my age (30) or older, you can relate, and if you’re younger, you can feel comforted and less alone in your feelings.
Here are 10 things I wish I could tell my younger self.
1. Whatever feels heavy right now will probably feel lighter in time.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I felt like the world was ending, but I was either being dramatic, or unable to look at my challenge with perspective.
Whether it was not fitting in at school, failing a test, not getting into my dream school, or not being able to find a job after I graduated and working in the local bakery instead. Being ghosted by a guy I really liked, or getting my dream job only to find out it wasn’t what I truly wanted at all.
At the time, all of those separate events felt incredibly heavy. But all it took was a little more time (sometimes years) to recognise that none of those things mattered at all. In fact, they are part of what got me to where I am today, and for that I am grateful.
Our problems are only big if we are smaller than them. How can you rise above those challenges?
2. Enjoy this moment, because you’ll never get it back.
I—like many children and teenagers—spent so much time wishing I could be older, and dreaming about how amazing life would be once I was finally in control.
To be honest, I do think life as a grown up is far better. You can eat pizza for breakfast, walk around naked in your home, and let go of any limiting beliefs or actions that you learned from your parents. You can do what you want, when you want, and you don’t need to explain yourself to anyone.
But when you’re always looking ahead, and wishing the days and weeks away, you don’t allow yourself to enjoy the beauty of what’s happening right now. And this is a habit that has stuck with me as I’ve grown up. I’m always looking ahead, and often don’t appreciate the now.
But now is all we have. And once it passes, it’s not coming back. I wish I could tell my younger self to do her best to enjoy it.
3. Appreciate time on your own
We’re conditioned to believe that life is about finding someone to spend it with. And perhaps it is. But it’s not about putting endless pressure on yourself to lose your single status, and settle down.
When I went to university, almost all of my best friends were in serious relationships. And this made me feel like there was something wrong with me. Why did I not have someone who wanted to be with me?
And this feeling lasted for a good few years. I was looking forward to the day when I would have someone by my side. Someone to share cosy nights in with, to give my love to, and to make me feel like I was worthy.
Fast forward to now, I’ve been in a committed relationship for four years, and I think I want to spend the rest of my life with this man. That means I will never have the time and space of being truly alone again. And while that’s beautiful in one sense, I wish I had appreciated and enjoyed that time on my own a little more.
I’ve also realised that no matter how incredible someone is, they cannot inherently change how you feel about yourself. That’s on you.
Don’t be in a rush to couple up. Enjoy getting to know yourself intimately, learn the art of self-love, and figure out who you are and what you want first.
4. Be kinder to yourself.
This one is up on there with things I wish I could tell my younger self.
I spent most of my teens and early twenties at war with myself; struggling to love and appreciate my body, my brown skin, and my quirks. Most days, I wished I could look like somebody else. And I had such low self-esteem and self-confidence.
If a girl didn’t want to be my friend, or a guy rejected me, or something didn’t go the way I wanted it to; I would beat myself up. I would think the problem was me, but the real problem was my lack of self-love.
It breaks my heart a little thinking of how much the younger me struggled to be kind to herself. But when it came to other people, she would be so warm and sensitive and loving.
Can you show yourself some of the love and compassion that you readily give to others? Because you deserve it, too.
5. Don’t be afraid to walk away.
From a relationship that has grown toxic, or mediocre. From a job that brings you more pain than joy. Or from an opportunity that requires you to compromise your beliefs and values.
These are all signs that this is not for you. You have lost your way on your soul path, and found yourself here, but this is not where you’re meant to be.
And it may be scary to walk away from what feels familiar and comfortable, but it’s very important that you do walk away. That you do embrace discomfort, and venture into the wild.
Because this is how we grow. And this is how we find our way to all the wonderful things that are meant for us.
6. Things I wish I could tell my younger self: Always trust your intuition.
This is closely linked with the previous point—you will always know when something is or is not right for you.
Your intuition is that inner knowing you get within; similar to a sixth sense. How it shows up for you will depend on you. You might hear a voice, see a sign, get a feeling, or even have a vision.
There have been too many times in my life where I haven’t trusted that inner voice, and I’ve regretted it later; knowing I should have listened, and could’ve saved myself much unnecessary pain and suffering in the process. But this is all a part of growing up.
Your intuition is your best friend. Treat her like one. Listen to her, trust her, and welcome her into your life.
7. Bring your shadows to the light.
Without a doubt, I lived a half life when I was younger. I allowed my fear to hold me back in countless situations, and this stopped me from enjoying new experiences, and living a full life.
I was scared of having a relationship, so I pushed men away; men that I liked and knew were interested in me.
I was afraid to speak up in front of people, so I remained a quiet, shy girl, who didn’t say what was on her mind.
As I mentioned already, I struggled with low confidence, and instead of addressing this head on, I used alcohol as a way to “fix” it. But of course, this didn’t really solve anything, and gave me hangovers from hell.
These were just a few of my shadows. The things I was afraid of, that lurked deep within me.
And over time, I have learned that the only way to deal with our shadows is to confront them, and bring them to the light. Because when we do, they lose power over us. They don’t seem as scary as they did before. And this is how we grow, and move forward.
This is what I wish I could tell my younger self.
We all have our own shadows. Whatever yours may be, I encourage you to face them. Bring them to the light.
8. Don’t be in a rush to have life figured out.
If you’re not where you’d hoped to be by now, that’s okay. There is no deadline for walking your soul path and making all your dreams come true.
Of course, we want to get there as quickly as we can, so we can feel successful, and like we’ve “made it.” But there is no hurry. You’ve got a lifetime.
Forget what everybody else is doing. Focus on you and your path. Because nothing else matters. And life is not a competition or a race.
You don’t need to answer or explain yourself to anyone. And you don’t need to define who you are or what you’re here to do yet. Let this evolve naturally over time.
Devote yourself to all the things you love, and all the things that light a fire in your belly, because this is the biggest clue to your mission here.
9. Enjoy the process, because this is the real gift.
Isn’t it funny how we’re all in a rush to get some place?
In a rush to find the “one,” get a mortgage, get married, climb the career ladder, become a millionaire, have kids, publish a book, have a 7-figure business.
Then we get there. We get that thing we thought we wanted more than anything else, and we’re straight onto the next thing. We don’t stop and fully appreciate the journey to get there, and we don’t notice everything we’ve learned in the process.
The funny thing about life is, you are born with nothing, and you will leave with nothing. You can’t take your money or your house or your kids with you into your next life.
By that logic, the gift of life is not in the physical things we have, or the achievements we rack up, but in the process of getting there. So enjoy the process. Enjoy today for what it is.
If you don’t, you’ll wake up one day to your dream life, with everything you’ve ever wanted, and you’ll realise you missed it. You missed life.
10. You have unique gifts, and they were given to you for a reason.
I spent years wishing I could be less myself, and more like other people.
Why was I so quiet and introverted?
Why did I have to be so sensitive all the time?
And why couldn’t I just be happy in a 9-5 job, work my way up, and take home a steady pay check each month; instead of wanting to build something from nothing?
I’ve realised that certain qualities tend to be celebrated over others by society. But there are none better or worse. We each have our own gifts, unique to us, and they were given to us for a reason.
You might not understand why you’re so sensitive right now; but this is a beautiful gift when it comes to listening to and empathising with the women you will coach and mentor in the future.
And falling out of love with your job at 25 may feel like a huge setback, but this is leading you to create a business (and a life) you love; one that brings light to the world, and fills your heart, and aligns with your soul.
It may take years for you to truly understand, appreciate, and embrace your gifts. But I hope with all my heart that in time, you do.
Because this world needs them.