Do you ever think about what you would tell your younger self now that you are older and wiser? Or do you ever consider what key lessons you really want to teach and live out for your children?
I’m closer to 50 than I am 40, or even 45 at this point in life. I used to think that 50 was so old, but now I know it is just a wiser version of yourself more than an older version.
Often lists like this are written from a mother to their daughter, but I have a son and two daughters. I want all of them to learn from my mistakes and to infuse wisdom in them from what I’ve learned along the way.
So to my younger self and to my children, may you learn these lessons the easy way.
- When people send a message to you through their actions and their words that they don’t value you, believe them. No actions on your part will convince them that you have value beyond measure. You cannot earn your way into their graces. Some people will see the whole you and love every bit of you, and others will not. You will never change someone else, don’t even try.
- You are wonderfully and perfectly made. Your body type is perfect. Your face is the perfect imprint of you. Who you are is amazing. Be good to yourself by eating right, avoiding unhealthy habits and exercising. Do it for your health, not to look a certain way, or to look like someone on Instagram. Don’t try to fit into someone else’s shoes or their size zero jeans. If you, being healthy, fit into a size zero or a size sixteen, celebrate it. God does not make mistakes and nothing about you is an error.
- People will treat you exactly as you allow them to treat you. Speak up for yourself. Decide what you are willing to let slide off your back and what you are not willing to live with. Don’t allow poor treatment. Refer to numbers one and two.
- Wait, slow down, and don’t rush. In all ways temper your pursuit of adulthood. You will be grown up for a very long time. Enjoy the innocence of youth. Enjoy the leisure of youth. Yes, this is leisure compared to adulthood. Enjoy your family while you still get to marinate in full time family life. One day you will be away from the rhythm of your family, apart from the traditions of family, and missing the safety of family. Above all, wait for marriage, you won’t regret it. Take your time and don’t rush into anything.
- At the same time chase your dreams. You can be anything. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers. In everything you are passionate about life full out. For my dancing daughters–don’t mark it, dance it full out.
- Words hurt. Remember that when you use them. Remember that when people use them against you. Have people in your life who don’t use words to hurt you. Be the person in other’s lives who does not use words that hurt. Ask yourself: if I could physically see the way words injured the heart and soul of the people around me, would I withdraw the weapon of our tongues?
- Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Sometimes you fall flat on your face in failure, and sometimes you enjoy wild success. Losing and failure are only pit stops on the road to success. Don’t stop and live in the failure. Use it as fuel to propel you forward. Take a moment, or even a day, to mourn and then get back up and conquer your world. Sing Hallelujah Anyway!
- Take your thoughts captive. Your own thoughts can be your worst enemy. You can tear yourself (and others) down from the inside out.
- Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Strive to be a better version of yourself than you were the day before. Don’t compare yourself to the image someone presents the world. Keep in mind that most people only present the best version of themselves and that is all you are seeing. You see yourself from the inside out, with bed head, morning breath and whiteheads showing. You never see that version of anyone else. Refer to number two – you are wonderfully and perfectly made.
- Lean into God every step of the way. You cannot handle the weight of the world on your own shoulders. Don’t rest on your laurels waiting for God to change your life, put in the action to change your life while leaning in.
I’ve arrived at this wisdom the hard way. For some people a road map from others helps, for others they must learn the hard way. I sometimes I take the difficult route to be to be reminded of the lessons I’ve already learned. It is okay. Life is a journey. Each day is a piece of the entire story. Painful moments– no matter how painful it may feel at the time–are the end of your story. Never take away your own second chance.
No matter how hard life gets, do not allow bitter seeds to take root in your life. Have an even so attitude.
What would you tell your younger self? What do you want your children to know from the lessons you learned in life?