Hey Younger Me, You've Got This

By: Lisa Quaraglia, Guest Blogger

If I had a dollar for every time I muttered the words: “If I only knew back then what I know now,” I’d be a multi-millionaire. Many young women my age feel that they wish they could talk to their former selves and give them the wisdom they now hold. While each woman can think of personal affirmations for their younger selves, there are many truths that every girl should know. Here are just a few I thought were important:

Don’t worry about growing up…you’ll have the rest of your life for that.

I think it is safe to say that most people feel they want to go through certain stages of their life super quickly; when we are toddlers, we want to be like the big kids, when we’re in grade school, the high school kids look so cool. Once in high school, we cannot wait to get out and finally be in college. College and life after graduation prove to not be picnics either; they bring adult-stressors into our lives, and we suddenly find ourselves pining for our fun child-hood days. We can all assume that each stage of our lives is difficult in its own way – mainly because we haven’t gone through it before! But if we take a minute to understand that it will be hard, and to just enjoy it, we can stop wishing and hoping for a certain part to fast forward or rewind. Enjoy the present stage, for the good and the bad it supplies.

Find a hobby or activity you enjoy

Throughout grade school and high school, I heard all about these extracurricular activities I should be doing and how it would help me in the long run. I haven’t quite made it to the point in my life where I know what that reason would be, but hobbies and activities really do help to break up the mundane dance of school and/or work. These activities give you a purpose other than school/work and helps you find like-minded people who enjoy the same things as you do. Experiment with different areas like music, sports, academic clubs, literary outlets, and exercising just to name a few. Figure out which areas you like, and keep a hand in them, you’ll be glad you did!

Let yourself go through your feelings

I know: feelings..eesh. They make us confused, sad, happy, and anxious all at once. They are always tied to a new part of our lives, and that can be scary especially if we do not know how to navigate this crossroads. One of the worst things to do is to either rush through your feelings or bury them. When we bury our feelings, we fail to understand why we were having them in the first place; we do not look for the lesson behind the feelings, and ultimately, we continue to make the same mistake. By rushing through, we jump to conclusions about what the feelings mean, only to give ourselves false hope that we understand ourselves; in turn, this confuses us more about who we truly are and what we want. This is a skill that will last you forever because we are constantly being put into new situations, new dilemmas, and new phases of life. Once we can get this skill down, we will have the tools to be able to truly understand ourselves, what we want, and what we need, which will, ultimately, allow the future to be less confusing!

Start the positive self-talk early

I’ve been hearing for years that self-confidence starts with your own thoughts – needless to say, I’ve always thought this was false. But think of it this way: if your negative thoughts have a huge impact on your self-esteem, then positive thoughts hold the same power. You can start to change how you view yourself by how you talk to yourself, and once you realize you are worth the same kindness you show others, the possibilities are endless!

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I am just starting to realize the motivation and healing powers of positivity when it comes to body image and what it can do for self-confidence. I have never been confident in my body type, until I noticed a few guys that I have dated “like” certain pages on Facebook that showcase heavier girls, looking gorgeous, and celebrating their beauty and confidence. Looking through these photos and the comments accompanying them, I realized there are men (and women) that like all types of body shapes and sizes. In addition, the most frequently written comments were folks mentioning the confidence that radiated through certain pictures, not necessarily certain body parts. This overall air of confidence is something that has to come from within: skinny girls, heavy girls, and all girls in between have beautiful bodies, minds, and spirits that can attract anyone. You just need to be attractive to yourself! Start telling yourself how smart you are, how nice it was of you when you held the door for the elderly man walking behind you; how good you felt when you gave back money to someone that dropped it in the mall, and realizing that this positive self-talk may take some conscious effort in the beginning, but after a while, it will take over the negative talk completely. The old adage of “fake it till you make it” comes to mind. Even if you don’t whole heartedly believe it, keep telling yourself how wonderful you are and keep continuing to do nice things for people, you’ll eventually start to embody this reflection and you’ll be living your own truth!

What other pieces of advice do you have for younger girls? What did you wish you knew when you were a teenager? What do you struggle with even to this day? Leave a comment and share!

 

About Lisa

lisa_q.jpgLisa Quaraglia is equal parts nurse, writer, cook, and philosopher. She spends a lot of time thinking and talking about life, and love while mixing in sarcastic Sex and the City comments into everyday conversation. Her love of writing and curiosity of the world has brought her to IATG. She loves nighttime sky, wine, fancy restaurants and sparkly jewelry.

 

 

 

Featured image via rootsofshe.com

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  • commented 2014-01-21 13:36:00 -0800
    Hi Ladies!! Thank you so much for all the wonderful comments … it is great to keep the convo going! It really is comforting to know that what you’re going through at one particular time in your life is not uncommon and that your friends are probably going through the exact same things. But the important thing to realize is that everyone needs to do what’s good for them and to not expect their journey to look like anyone else’s. That is why I feel that starting the positive self talk, keeping up with enjoyable activities etc, will keep you grounded to who you are as you go through the various stages of your life; it is these areas that give us some stability in an unstable environment. What do ya’ll think?
  • commented 2014-01-14 15:20:17 -0800
    Great Post Lisa!!
    I have to say that in my work in the social work field, I often talk to my clients about the therapeutic concept of the “compassionate self”. The compassionate self is the part in each and every one of us that gives compliments, a break during a hard time, a pat on the back, reassurance, strength, and more importantly, self-respect. I could not help but think of this throughout your post. It almost feels like if we could teach each kid this idea, that many of life’s struggles in insecurity, self-doubt, and confusion could potentially be eased. If not eased, re-assurance that life gets better.
    LOVE THIS :)
  • commented 2014-01-14 13:50:10 -0800
    Hi Lisa! I just tweaked my “letter to my 13 year old self” and some of our ideas cross paths. I think that thinking about this and acknowledging the growth we have gone through is very therapeutic! Awesome post!! Xoxox
  • commented 2014-01-14 11:15:45 -0800
    I really loved this Lisa. I am at that point where I’m looking back and wish I’d done x,y and z or how much easier it was when I was 21. So it was nice see that it’s hard because, duh, I haven’t done this bit before. Rather than it’s just hard!
    Also kudos to mentioning the extra activities. How I wish I’d taken full advantage of this in school!!

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