Reflections With Tay: An Open Letter To Younger Me. My 6 Life Lessons!
March 30, 2019
For those of you that follow my daily mindfulness and reflection activities (on Instagram @ReflectionswithTaylor) you know that Day 14, involved writing a letter to our younger self. I found it to be a very lovely activity, and although it is one that I have done throughout my life (write letters to myself), however this time I came at it from a different angle, and I wanted to share the magic with you!
Before I start, I want to say, I am NOT a mental health therapist, psychologist or psychologist and I have never had the opportunity to personally work with one and therefore I am NOT, in this post, on my blog or instagram accounts, making any therapeutic recommendations and these activities are randomly selected by myself! I am simply sharing my experience, as I learn and trial reflection, mindfulness and meditation. Plus, I find posting helps me stay accountable to my goal of taking time to reflect and journal this year!
I see you there, excited to take on the day, full of curiosity, bubbling with hungry ambition, try not to loose that. In the hustle and bustle, yes you still love the hustle and bustle as you make your way into your adult life and it can be easy to loose this excitement. Although life is an awesome adventure, and I want you to experience it all, I also want to leave some advice with you, some things I wish you would’ve know or taken seriously throughout your teen and early adult life.
Emotions: You FEEL deeply. You take on the emotions of those around you (even though it takes you a while to notice that you do this). Remember to ask yourself, if the emotions you feel are yours, what your emotional boundaries are today and how you can mindfully separate from those emotions. You can have empathy and be a good person but stay separated from their emotions!
You cry when you are happy, you cry when you are confused, you cry when you are angry, you cry when you are lost and overwhelmed. You will be told NOT to cry, but it is okay to cry. Try to reflect on why you are crying?
Gratitude: Remember to take a moment and be grateful, so grateful, for the amazing role models that surround you, the role models that you help to draw into your life. Be grateful for your mother and father (grandparents, and entire family for that matter) for supporting EVERY single thing you wanted to try and were able to grow passionate about. Thank them for helping you recognize and be proud of the things you do well, for helping you recognize that putting in effort, learning from experiences and gaining skills will be more valuable than the top mark or winning that one game. Be grateful you really lucked out with amazing coaches and teachers that had your back, that wanted to see you succeed and support you to grow. Be grateful for your friends, they always make you feel SAFE, loved and accepted. At times, when you’re so busy, it can be easy to forget to show your gratitude to these people, dont forget to show them! There will also be moments were you feel GUILTY because you are so blessed to have so many amazing people in your life, you are allowed to be grateful without feeling guilty.
Learning: You LOVE to learn and you will continue too! You can in part thank your parents and amazing teachers for this. At times, when you feel like you’re not good enough, or not smart enough (you WILL face these moments but it will be ok), take a moment and think back to the following moment… remember sitting on the living room floor with your patient mom and dad, a chalk board and dry rice in a cookie sheet, drawing out your multiplication tables. Creating an experience where learning something that, at the time is difficult, FUN and learning it in a way that works for you.
” When you attack the difficult problem or task from another way… you are able to succeed, in a way you enjoy, and its OKAY that its in a way that’s different from others.”
This will be what helps you through some of those difficult moments later in life. I hope you’re able to have this “ah ha” moment a tad earlier (dont worry hang in there, you do part way through university), and once you recognize it, try not to forget it and try to come back to it when you need it. AND until you recognize and learn how to tackle difficult tasks or problems from a different perspective, be patient and kind to yourself.
4. Criticism: You enjoy constructive criticism, I am not sure why or how this came to be, but once you trust someone (and you are a very trusting person) you take their criticism as a gift, you feel it reinforces that this individual believes in you, believes you can improve and eventually you learn to crave this criticism! Although this can be viewed as a positive, be careful, some individuals will sneak in, gain your trust and use this trait to break you. In moments when you feel broken remember to take this as a learning experience, remember not all criticism is constructive and you cannot control when others provide destructive criticism, you can only control how you respond.
5. Hard Work: This ties back into gratitude, you love to work hard, but remember to let it stem from developing your passion not for other, perhaps destructive reasons/ emotions. Let me expand on this thought; often, in elementary school, high school, and even post secondary you would be aware and you would observe many individuals that were in MUCH less fortunate situations then you. You would observe as in some cases they made it through some SH*TTY situations, and in many cases these horrendous situations were even normalized. You observed how resilient and hard working and even positive these children, parents, human beings were. It not only inspired you (positive) however also made you think, if individuals that were not presented with the same opportunities (food, shelter, safety, family, support to name a few), were making major difference in the world, you sure as heck should make a HUGE difference and if you did not, you should feel guilty and not stop until you do. This second thought is a tad more destructive, I feel it is destructive because it fuels your fire with guilt rather than inspiration. Therefore, through experience (at least what I have experienced thus far in life), it is a lot more productive for you to fuel your love of hard work with inspiration, gratitude, focusing on building and developing your passions, rather than fueling it with guilt. (No Tay, I am not disregarding your emotions, I am hoping to help young you become aware of hopefully how you can re-focus your energy!)
“Fuel your love of hard work with inspiration, gratitude and focus on building and developing your passions, as opposed to fueling it with guilt.”
7. Self Care. I cannot count on one hand the number of times you will be told that you need to partake in self care and that what you currently do for self care does not count. Perhaps some day you will find what fits within this box of “proper self care” but until then, what I find works? Accepting that other people cannot tell you how you SHOULD feel. Do not discredit your feelings. Accept constructive criticism, accept suggestions. Continue to do what feels good to you, without feeling selfish and without feeling like you are “doing it wrong”.
8. Last but not least, have ALL the fun. You love to be silly and you love to play. At times, you get a little to caught up in what other people think (you are human, we can all get caught in this trap). Keep doing what you’re doing, love living your life perfectly imperfectly (yes cliche quote) and continue to love being busy, working hard and learning.
Until next time, have a great day, month, year… life.