Dear Younger Me

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; But when I became a man, I put away childish things. -1 Corinthians 13:11

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In sixth grade, I was shy. I was outspoken with my friends, but I wouldn’t dare speak up in class. One day during science class, a bee flew through the open classroom window and stung me on my head. Pained from the bee sting, I raised my hand. My teacher asked me to wait to ask questions until he was done teaching. So I sat there and waited for about twenty minutes until my teacher was finished. After what felt like the longest twenty minutes of my life, my teacher prompted me to ask my question. “I got stung by a bee,” I said, both in pain and anxiety. After I had received treatment from the school nurse, my teacher scolded me for not speaking up.

It’s a cute, funny story about my awkward childhood, but there is an important lesson in that story. Actually, I find important lessons in many stories from my childhood. So if you could talk to your younger self, what would you say? Here’s what I’d say:

Speak up.

What are you so afraid of? Yes, speaking up, especially in front of a group of people, can be scary. However, there are so many wonder{full} things that can spark from terrifying moments in our life. If you speak up, people may judge what you say. But what if they don’t? What if the people around you actually enjoy what you say?

If you have something on your mind, say it. If you have questions, ask them. If you want something, go for it.

Don’t be the person who always sits in the back of the classroom and never raises their hand. Be confident. Be bold. Trust me, you will survive.

Believe in yourself.

Someone else is prettier. Someone else is smarter. Someone else is funnier. Someone else is kinder.

There will always be someone else who you view more highly than yourself. But why does that keep you from believing in yourself? You are amazing. You are loved. God created you for a purpose. If the creator of the universe, the King of kings, believes in you… what’s your excuse for not believing in yourself?

You can do anything you set your mind to.

Live outside of your comfort zone.

The comfort zone is a great place to live. As the name depicts, it’s comfortable. But what happens when we get too comfortable? We settle. We stop advancing.

Make sure that you make the most out of your life. Do things that scare you. Do things that you are unsure of. Meet people who are unlike you. Immerse yourself in various cultures. Travel.

When you look back on your life, do you want to see the same things happening each year? Absolutely not! You want to see adventure. You want to see moments where you felt like your heart would leap out of your chest. You want to see yourself falling in love… more than once. You want to see yourself messing up, but finding the beauty in the mess. You want experience.

Be yourself.

Sometimes it is difficult to be yourself. Will you be judged? Will people think that you’re weird? Will people suddenly decide they don’t like you?

Allow me to ask you a question to counter those: Do you like who you are? If you love yourself, none of those other questions matter. If people do not like you for who you are, it’s time to find people who will. You need to surround yourself with people who will love you unconditionally. If the people around you can’t do that, it’s better to find out sooner than later anyways. You need a good community for strength.

Read my older post Love Yourself to hear more of my thoughts about embracing who you are.

Think before you speak or act.

As a young person, you will make mistakes. Even as an adult you will make mistakes. However, a lot of mistakes can be avoided simply be thinking. 

Before you gossip with your friend about another girl, think. Would you want someone to say those things about you? Are you helping or hurting? Before you say yes to dating that guy, think. Is he really the guy for you? Do his values match yours? Before you go do that thing, think. Is this you? Say yes to being adventurous, but never say yes to anything that will cause damage in your life.

Before you do anything, think it through. Will it help or will it hurt?

Dear younger me: Do as I say, not as I did.

What would you say to your younger self? Did anything I mentioned resonate with you? Visit my ‘Contact’ page or contact me on Instagram!

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