So it all started with a comment on an Instagram picture Deryck Whibley (Sum 41) posted of his 17-year-old self.
Me: What advice would you give to your younger self knowing all that you know now?
Deryck: I would say keep doing what ur doing kid, ur gonna love every min of it.
Me: Seriously that is it? Omg I have so much I would tell my 17 year old self. The biggest changes I have made have been within the last 5 years. I wish I could have made some of those changes a lot younger. I marvel at some of the younger people today and how they just get some of the things that it took me 30+ years to figure out. I'm glad you have no regrets. When you have kids of your own, that perspective might alter a little.
It inspired me to post a photo of my younger me and say some of those things to her. I posted this photo:
And this was what I said:
I asked @sum41 what advice he would give his younger self. He didn't have much he would tell his younger self, but I have plenty I would say to my younger me knowing all that I know now.
Dear younger me, let go of the anger and stop building walls around your heart because they will be hard to tear down later. Love yourself wildly and passionately. There is nothing to fear. Let the fear go that was taught to you by religion. Enjoy the little things in life because those are what matter most. Don't worry about what others think of you. The only opinion of you that matters about you is your own. If you see an opportunity in front of you, take it. It might never come again. That person you thought would always be there just might die tomorrow. Tell people how much you love them and tell them often. Don't ever stop writing and trust your own intuition.
And then my West Coast BFF, Shannon, posted this photo of me in the comments on Facebook:
I had never seen this photo of me before and it struck me and made my grinchy heart grow a little. This photo is SO me in a nutshell....happiest with a pen in my hand and deep in thought. But look at her! Just look! She is BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING and CREATIVE and FEELING and yet she never thought she was pretty enough or smart enough or thin enough or talented enough. She never thought very much of herself at all. All of the negative self talk....all of the closing off and walls she put up because what she felt she didn't think she could handle and she didn't want to be weak and crumble. She didn't want to be vulnerable. Her heart eventually became frozen in layers and layers of ice so that she could numb herself from being able to feel.
I sat there wishing I really could reach back and hug my younger self and give her the advice and wisdom I have today to share from my experience she didn't have yet. I was talking to my East Coast BFF, Ziba, and telling her all of this. I have done so much inner work and gained so much momentum just from talking about everything rattling around my brain with Ziba. She and I have similar issues we need to face and "self love" is a topic that has come up a lot.
As I mentioned to her, everyone is talking about loving the self first. We hear it over and over and yet we just nod and say "okay" but none of us really understand what we need to do and how to achieve it. Self-love is almost as mystical and elusive as dragons, unicorns and the perfect romantic partner. But today, something clicked and I completely understand what I need to do. I can see it, feel it and taste it in a way I couldn't before.
What I need to do is romance myself. I mean, I need to treat me the way I would a lover in the beginning stages of a relationship. I need to shower her/me with poems of love, tender words, kindness and consideration. I need to let her know that I love every aspect of her. I need to let her know that I love even the negatives and the dark side because even our shadow selves need to be loved.
I have an exercise in mind that I want to practice. I am going to visualize my now me with me at different ages and I want to love her. I want to tell her all the things she needed to hear back then but didn't. I want her to feel SO much love that all of her walls crumble. I will love myself so much that the inner fire and light will burst outward and disintegrate the fortress that has kept my heart a prisoner and hidden away.
I think this is key for moving forward and achieving all that I wish to achieve in my life and I feel really optimistic about it. I can't wait to start romancing myself.
I invite all who read this to post a photo of your younger you and give him/her advice from what you know now. I invite you to fall in love with yourselves and give yourself the love you desire so much. We often seek love from external sources when really the love we want most of all is our own.
I want to say thank you to Deryck for being my muse and posting things that make me ponder and contemplate life. I want to thank my West Coast BFF, Shannon for always being there and just getting me and loving me in the way I need to love myself. Can you believe it has nearly been 30 years ago that we met?! I want to thank my East Coast BFF, Ziba, for being there everyday and talking through so much of this stuff with me. I can let my spirituality hang out all over the place with you and be my weird self with you. I appreciate the presence of all of you in my life no matter what form or capacity. Love and gratitude to you.