What would you say to your younger self?

I regularly see this same post pop up on social media platforms, I’m not sure how much younger we are aiming for but here is mine.

  1. There is no such thing as perfection – please stop reaching for it, you are human, you are supposed to make mistakes and be imperfect. There are wonderful people in your life who want you to be safe and happy; and to be the best you can – and it might seem like they want you to be perfect, but they don’t! They love you for who you are; they may not be able to tell you that, so I am here to tell you that. Always, always know that you are loved and you are loveable.
  2. Stop rushing around, the most beautiful things in life are there with you now, all you need to do is notice them. Life is wonderful – nature, people, books are just amazing and you can enjoy them. Just breathe and live in the moment.
  3. You don’t need to change who you are and whilst this is third on the list it’s probably the most important thing I want to tell you Jean. You are lovely, you have such a kind and beautiful heart and an amazing skill for empathy. Stay true to that, it will get you hurt but that is fine, because it will also bring you such unbridled joy and it will save lives. You are a kind and beautiful person Jean, always; and you are loved, respected and admired for that.
  4. At times your life will be touched by such sorrow, you will be brought to your knees and you will suffer tremendous pain. In that hurt lies your strength, your courage to move forwards, the humility and spirituality that will help you to grow and to use that growth to help others. You are a helper Jean and it is beautiful; you are loved and you make a difference. Also give yourself time to grieve the losses and the trials; know that you are strong and full of courage.
  5. Every emotion is valid, you are allowed to feel sad, to feel hurt, to feel pain, to feel depressed, to feel angry and frustrated; and to feel joy, to feel loved, to feel happy. Don’t turn away from any of those emotions, others might try to tell you that it is right to ignore the bad emotions, but it isn’t. Those emotions are part of being human and they are helpful to allow you to understand what is happening and to process the pain and sadness. But you are not your emotions, they are just passing by, like the weather. You are kind and you are loved. Allow all your emotions to pass by, notice them but don’t become them.
  6. Hopefully by this point you understand that it is what is inside you, your character, that matters the most. This is beauty. If you can learn this and believe it, my hope is that you will not waste years worrying about how you look. But if I cannot save you from that, please know that for all the years you worry about being too thin, you will spend years worrying about being too fat! You are beautiful.
  7. Love yourself my darling. No-one else’s love will be with you all the time; the way you need and deserve to be loved. They are all human like you; their love is fallible. Lots of people will love you and you will also find that one special love; you managed that even here because the universe brings together those who are meant to be together. Know that your one true love is out there but, before you meet them – learn to love yourself.
  8. Be creative, don’t believe what they tell you, just because you have a gift for business and organisation it doesn’t mean you cannot be other things. You are an artist, and you have creative capabilities that potentially will lie untouched for too many years while you believe the narrative others provide. You are creative.
  9. If you haven’t already found it, you have a love for stories, particularly in books and poetry, but also in theatre and film. Keep those passions alive, stories will be your escape, they will allow you to rest and they will feed your soul and broaden your horizons. Listen to others’ stories.
  10. Travel, as much as you can. Perhaps start with university – if you think it is right for you. But travel to the places of your dreams, the places you see in those stories. This is the way to live a rich life, always travel and notice the beauty in other places.

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