5 Things I Would Tell to My Younger Self

winding roads

If you knew then what you know now, would you have been a different person in a wholly different life?

Would the course of life have taken you to extraordinary places or perhaps you are a believer that we all ultimately end up in our inevitable fate…?

I think life is constantly altered by decisions you make, whether it’s starting a fitness regime or changing bad habits or discovering new joys in life. There is no one path. Sometimes i wonder what life would’ve been like if I had pursued investigative journalism, or if I had studied history or if I didn’t go to University at all. ALL the MAYBES!!!!

Regardless, growing up and having to fit into society is no easy task. Here are five things i know now that I wish i would have known then.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff 

Because everything, in hindsight, seems worse than it really is. Someone cut you off in traffic? Yes, it’s a jerk move but really it’s not a big deal. It shouldn’t consume you. You shouldn’t have imaginary confrontations.

Learn to Be Uncomfortable and Alone

Aim for inner tranquility. I suppose this is a lifelong journey but I was so afraid of being alone that it set me back in many ways. Perhaps I could not bear with my feelings of isolation or confronting my own thoughts. Or maybe not knowing the difference between being alone and being lonely.

Train yourself to enjoy a new hobby, write more because you love to. Take moments to sit quietly in a dark room and listen to your inner voice. The one you’re always neglecting because you’re too distracted, too busy. There is nothing wrong with stepping back and appreciating what’s not happening around you. Create stuff. Write, draw, write some more.

Don’t Base Your Self-Worth on Other People’s Opinions 

As a child, I was not confident. In fact, throughout my childhood years, I was constantly made fun of for having braces and wearing glasses. I had uncontrollable curly hair and my mother didn’t speak English. I had to translate my own parent-teacher conferences and my idea of fun was reading and writing  short stories about troubled people with checkered pasts. I wanted to fit in so badly with the cool kids that i completely neglected who I was and everything i enjoyed.

You are good enough already. When you become obsessed with how people see you based on their opinions, it’s easy to forget your opinion of yourself and your values. Don’t let amazing opportunities pass you by because you’re afraid of what others will think. You will start to understand how special you are that you weren’t like the others – that you didn’t conform to societal rules. Often times, the very people who have strong negative opinions about you are insecure themselves despite the confidence they seem to exude. And you’re Asian with naturally curly hair. That’s cool.

Perfectionism is Overated

Much like not sweating the small stuff, striving for constant perfection doesn’t do anything for your overall health and wellness. It takes away from things that truly matter for the sake of mattering because you’re too focused on the outcome. Don’t spend too much time bounding yourself from creativity because you want to be perfect and liked. You’re far better than that, and you know this. You’ve always known.

Be Kind to Yourself 

Don’t let your inner critic be the voice in your head that puts you down. A little nervous feeling in the belly can stir up feelings of anxiety and stress. Take moments in the day to recharge, and separate. Be kind to your mind, and your body. Refuel with foods that make you stronger, and hydrate often. Be mindful of your current state of being. Notice how you feel, and don’t judge. Just be with it.

Spend time doing things you love and don’t make excuses for not having time. Cultivate your interests, but be open to change.

That’s what I would tell my younger self. In many ways, these are lifelong goals. I struggle still, but having this in the back of my mind has given me light in many dark moments.

What would you tell your younger self today?

Jen Signature