Giving Advice to my 10-Year-Old Self
March 5, 2021
Have you ever wished that you could go back in time and speak to your younger self? What would you say? What advice would you give to prepare younger you for what’s to come?
While we know that we can’t actually go back in time, it is nice to reflect on the lessons we’ve learned in life. We can use those lessons as encouragement for our present challenges, and if we have children of our own, we can share those lessons with them.
I’m starting a series where I’m going to share a few pieces of advice that I would give my younger self, at various age points. Today, I’m starting with 10-year-old me. I would have been in 5th grade, getting ready to leave elementary school and enter middle school. Here is what I would say.
It’s okay to look different from everyone else.
You are still beautiful.
I was a girl with big hair and a slightly bigger body frame than other girls my age. I also was a young girl of color, and there weren’t many others who looked like me. My clothes always matched, my parents thought I was well-dressed, but my style was different from others at school. 5th grade is also when I started thinking boys were cute, but at that time the feelings weren’t reciprocated, so that made me question whether or not I was pretty.
If I were to go back to 10-year-old me, I would say, “Throughout your life, you will always look different from others around you, but it won’t take away from your beauty. Instead of looking to everyone else to tell you that you’re pretty, you should start learning how to love your skin, your face, your hair, and your body. The more you practice looking in the mirror and being proud of who you see on the other side, the more confident you will become and then you will radiate beauty far and wide.”
Your talent & creativity will take you far.
Keep expressing yourself!
I grew up loving the arts. I sang, danced, was in theater, played piano, etc. I also loved to read, write, and be creative. I continued those interests well into my adulthood, but I didn’t fully grasp the importance of diligent practice or using my voice to express my ideas more openly. I also allowed the doubts of others to lead me down more practical paths, which took my focus off of something I could have pursued further in my career.
I would advise younger me to dive into my passion and really hone my craft. I might say, “You have a deep love for music, and you’re great at it! Spend extra time to practice and learn new skills within the arts. Use your gifts to express what’s in your heart, and don’t be afraid to pursue your passions further. Others may want to deter you because they are afraid that it won’t work out, but if you are set on your goal and you work very hard at it, you will succeed. Your voice is important and your heart has a message that will help others. Use it!”
Be proud of your brain and don’t stop reading.
I loved to learn and especially loved reading. I honestly still do, but I don’t read as much as I used to. Even as an adult, I’m proud of my brain and my ability to comprehend new material, but there were times growing up when I questioned my intelligence. I would want to encourage my younger self to keep reading, keep learning, and keep teaching myself new things.
I might say, “Your brain is a sponge soaking up so much knowledge. Don’t ever stop learning because your ability to learn will take you far and help you be successful as an adult. Make it a priority to keep reading books, even when life gets busy and technology tries to distract you. Reading will keep you learning more and more!”
Not everyone will want to be your friend, and you don’t need to be liked by everyone.
This is a big lesson that I wish I would have learned at a much younger age. I wanted to be liked soooo much and it created a lot of insecurities for me growing up. Making friends is a normal part of adolescence, but teaching our children that not everyone needs to be your friend, nor will everyone like you, is an important discussion to have.
If I could chat with 10-year-old me, I would say, “It may hurt sometimes, but you need to know that not everyone is going to be your friend, and that’s okay. We all have different personalities, and some kids won’t get along with other kids. Focus on the friends that you already have and let that be enough. You do have kids who like you, so spend time with them and forget the ones who don’t. They won’t matter when you grow up.”
You have a unique personality. Let it shine!
I consider myself to be a loud, excitable, and sometimes quirky individual. I have unique interests and traits, that I celebrate now, but was more self-conscious about in my younger years. I wish I could tell myself to be proud of who I am and to not dim my light. My personality today brings light to others around me!
I would want my younger self to know that “God made us to be unique for a reason. We all have different qualities that can enhance the lives of others and the world. You are special and you will grow into a person who brings cheer and positivity to your circle. Be proud of what makes you different, and let others see it too!”
Take sometime today to reflect on what you would say to your 10-year-old self. Then take that advice and see how it applies to your current life. Is there something you need to cultivate further in yourself as an adult? Do you have a child in your life who needs to hear the same things? Use those lessons to uplift someone else.
What is one piece of advice you would give to your 10-year-old self?
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