If I could send a letter back in time, letting the words of gentle encouragement and enlightened compassion sift through the sands of days gone, this is what I would say to you, my younger self:
You are going to fail. You are going to fail more times than you can possibly imagine. Those failures are going to be heartbreaking, frustrating and at times, overwhelming. Those failures will result in lost friendships, missed opportunities, and familial disappointments. But it’s okay little one. Your failures do not define you. You are more than the outcome of your goals and expectations. You will learn from these failures. You will try again. And you will get closer to your goals. Something you will eventually learn, is that nobody knows what they are doing, not really. We’re all doing the best with what we have, trying to make sense of an existence that doesn’t make sense. Even the powerful, confident, and successful individuals that you admire so much, are all just playing pretend, acting like they have it all figured out. Trust me little one, they don’t have the cheat codes to this game. We’re all running around, frantically mashing the controller buttons hoping for a flawless victory (MK goes downhill after Deception, don’t get your hopes up). It’s okay to be clueless. Just don’t be so afraid. It will be okay.
Throughout your life, there are going to be a lot of voices around you. Some of these voices will be supportive. Some of these voices will be critical. All of these voices are projections of intrapersonal views, what they think has nothing to do with you. With the gale of voices enveloping you, it’s important to focus on the one that matters most, your voice. The chords of your inner monologue will determine the beat of your drum and the tone of your attitude.
Regardless of how kind or cruel, they may be, ultimately, words are wind (You’re going to be obsessed with the A Song of Ice and Fire series, from this obsession you will learn patience).
Bad things happen and despite how carefully and strategically you plan ahead, you’ll eventually come to realise that life is not a game of chess but rather a haphazard game of snakes and ladders. Skill will get you far but not without luck. You cannot control the mechanisms of fate, but you can control how you react to them. A positive mind and an optimistic view of the world might not get you back up the ladder but it sure will make the downward trips a rollercoaster of fun.
In life, you can be a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean. When you find yourself submerged in boiling water, you can let the boiling water break you apart as it does to the potato, you can let it harden you the way it does to the egg or you can let it transform you into something magical like the coffee bean.
Looking good is important but only if it makes you feel good. Don’t strive for physical ideals at the cost of your mental health. The goal is to be healthy. Mentally, physically and spiritually. Those three pillars will create a solid foundation for your happiness. But only if they are each given equal priority. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
And finally, I want you to prioritize your well-being and happiness over everything else. You cannot pour from an empty cup. You cannot be the best daughter, sister, friend, cousin, or aunt if you aren’t feeling your best. This sounds a lot like I’m asking you to be selfish but one day a wise man will teach you that it’s not selfish to prioritize yourself. It’s in fact self-full. Being selfless is an admirable trait but it creates a disconnect from your inner needs and self, much in the same way being selfish creates a disconnect from the needs and self of others. Being self-full is finding a healthy balance between the two. It’s about being helpful to others whilst honoring your inner wellbeing and protecting your energy.
We’re still trying to find that balance today, but slowly we make a little progress every day.
I’m proud of you little one, keep your head up (and your back straight, good posture is important, trust me on this one!) and don’t forget to breathe.
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