Life Lessons to My Younger Self

by Aileen

sunset

Parents typically do their best to guide their children; I know my parents did their best with me, their stubborn and rebellious child.  I had to live life experientially since I wasn’t going to listen to someone’s sage advice or wisdom.

For a moment, I’d like to entertain the thought that I would have been open to advice as I talk to the younger versions of myself, once as a child, again as a teenager and then as a 20-something. This is what I would say as I pass these life lessons on.


Hi Jelly Bean, I am you. I am the adult that you will become. Listen, I have some things to tell you.  This is very important. It could actually change your life. Here are the things you need to know:

1. Speak up – You must do this. The more you do it, the easier it will become and the more you avoid it, the harder it will be later on. You know how awful it feels when you want to speak up but you don’t, well unfortunately that won’t change. When you silence your voice, you’ll always regret it. I know you struggle with speaking up, but there really is no “how.” Just open your mouth and let it out. I promise it will get easier. Speak up; you have a voice, honor it.

2. Be assertive – Sometimes when you feel alienated, it’s you who are alienating them. Invite others in, initiate.

3. Be okay with awkward – It’s part of who you are and it gets easier with a sense of humor.

4. Be Confident – This is one of the few times I will say, “Fake it until you make it.” If you keep telling yourself that you are confident, then you’ll make it your reality. So just, fake it for now to program your mind for confidence.

5. Shine – Live to your potential. We are all meant to be a light in this world, shining empowerment on ourselves and each other. You have a place in this world, be bold, own it.

6. LoveFind a way to love yourself no matter what and guard that love so that nothing and no one will destroy it. It will allow you to be your happiest and best self. Only after you love yourself are you free to really love another.

7. Say “No” – Learn when to say “no” when you’re not comfortable saying yes.


Hey Rocker Girl, I’m back to talk to you about life again. I know you have a tendency for angst and rebellion but you will be happier when you embrace a lightness of being. It sounds ridiculous, impossible and stupid, I know…I know… I am you, I’ve been there, but listen… really listen:

1. Avoid Jealousy – Jealously limits your ability to appreciate others and it gets in the way of you being your fullest self. When jealousy rises just know it’s a perception that you can change. Learn to admire others while knowing that there is enough in the world for you as well. Someone’s ‘having’ doesn’t mean you can’t have it too. You might already have it, but you can’t see it because you’re blinded by envy.

2. Pain is a vortex – Don’t stay too long or it will suck you in so deeply that you can’t find your way out. Feel the pain, process it, grieve then let it go and move forward. It’s a choice and if you move forward, you will have a happier state of mind.

3. Watch you thoughts – Watch them carefully, they can be poisonous or medicinal. It’s your choice, so choose wisely. You can always choose a constructive thought rather than a destructive one.

4. Habits – Yes, you really can change your habits. It works best in small steps. There is no habit that you cannot change. You are powerful.

5. Be Compassionate – The world softens when you soften. It’s not really you against the world, but it will feel like that, as long as you perceive it that way. Soften… Love yourself… Breathe…

6. Embrace life – Do not approach life with fear, hurt or frustration.

7. Be flexible – When we cling too tightly to our dreams, we stop the flow. Be open to not knowing what it will look like. If you remain flexible, then some form of it will happen. Allow your dreams to breathe and they will form in the way they are meant to be.


Hey Dancer Girl, it’s me again your older self. I know you are relentlessly pursuing your dreams right now, so I won’t take up too much time. I’d just like to say a few things to make the next 10 years a bit easier and nicer for you. I know you’re off to your next audition, so real quick listen up:

1. Great men really do exist – It’s not a myth, be patient.

2. You’re an acquired taste – It’s okay if people don’t like you and it’s okay if they decide to like you later.

3. Life is a bit of a lottery – Cultivate optimism and learn to be resourceful so you can make the most of what you’ve got. This will also give you the vision to recognize a win when it happens.

4. Learn to let go – The sooner you do this the sooner you’ll be free.

5. Listen to your emotions – They are very informative. The law of attraction isn’t fool proof but it’s fundamental principal is true. There’s a connection between perception and success.

6. Meditate, pray and connect with the Divine – Do this daily! When you don’t spend time with the Divine, with God, with Spirit, you will feel frazzled and stressed.  Connecting keeps doubt and fear at bay.  Life can be wild and chaotic so have stillness within.

7. There aren’t always happy endings – Hurt, death and other dreadful things happen. Sometimes dreams don’t come true and moments feel like hell but we can choose to land on our feet, be resourceful, make the best of it and enjoy this life experience. Don’t let life’s heartbreaks ruin a chance for a happy and fulfilling life.

This post was inspired by the Life Lesson Series created by Abubakar Jamil. More information can be found on www.abubakarjamil.com

What are a few of your life lessons that you would tell your younger self?

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Belinda Munoz + The Halfway Point July 27, 2010

Hi Aileen, I enjoyed reading this post. And like you, I rarely listened to advice when I was younger. It’s much later and in hindsight after years of experience (mistakes, missteps, mishaps, and so on) that certain words of wisdom would pop up, ring true and show themselves as apparently having stuck.

I would tell my younger self that the winds will change, the tides will rise and fall, the land will quake. But the only barometer I’ll ever need (to know how to dress, how to act, how to think and feel) is within. And the only way to weather the winds, the tides and the quakes is with the help of many others. Going it alone is a myth for the dash between the beginning date and the end date.

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Aileen July 29, 2010

Belinda I love this, “that the winds will change, the tides will rise and fall, the land will quake. But the only barom­e­ter I’ll ever need is within.” Thank you for contributing these wonderful words of advice

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Angela Artemis July 27, 2010

Hi Aileen,
I loved this post. Isn’t amazing what good advice we have for ourselves once we’ve matured. I wish I’d listened to my parents more when I was younger. Now I find myself dispensing the same advice!

Great article. I really enjoyed it!
Angela Artemis´s last [type] ..Learn to Listen To Your Intuition and Never Miss An Opportunity Again!

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Aileen July 29, 2010

I have to laugh when I hear my mothers words come out of my mouth – it’s one of those “how’d that happen?” moments

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Preeti @ Heart and Mind July 27, 2010

Eileen,

I loved the way you broke it down to various stages of your self, as Jelly bean, Rocker girl and dancer girl, it is more interesting as I can see the advices change with the different stage. Abubaker’s life series is wonderful way of expressing and knowing more about us and others. Thanks for sharing this.

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Aileen July 29, 2010

Thank you Pretti – I do love his series that’s he’s got going on. Your two life lesson posts were really fantastic :)

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Preeti @ Heart and Mind July 30, 2010

Thank you Aileen, but you and others said it beautifully in one post, it took me 2 to say it! or I just happen to make mistakes, hence lot of lessons needed. :-)

Funny thing is when I read other lessons I feel yes, I agree with that, so seems like we all on same page or I have made everyone’s mistakes at least once.

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Abubakar Jamil July 27, 2010

Aileen,

Thank you so much for contributing to the Life Lessons Series. I appreciate that.
Abubakar Jamil´s last [type] ..Life Lessons Learned

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Aileen July 29, 2010

I’m glad you started the series :)

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Adena Atkins July 28, 2010

Hi Aileen,

This is a wonderful post. “Be open to not know ing what it will look like” resonates for me. As a teenager, I learned that if I knew the outcome of a creative project before I began it, I generally wouldn’t complete it, I’d be too bored, and if I did manage to complete it, it was usually a bit hackneyed. I didn’t think to apply concept to the creative project of living my life, and if I had, I think it would have made a big difference.
Adena Atkins´s last [type] ..You Have Suffered Enough

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Aileen July 29, 2010

Hi Adena, thanks for stopping by today :) – it’s an amazing thing to let ourselves be a bit blindfolded and explore as things unfold.

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Jean Sarauer July 28, 2010

I love this post so much, Aileen. And I would say so many of the same things to my younger self too. I guess we all just need the chance to grow into ourselves!
Jean Sarauer´s last [type] ..10 Plugins to Boost Your Blogging

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Aileen July 29, 2010

I love that “we all just need the chance to grow into ourselves” Ahh, yes

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John Sherry July 28, 2010

I frequently talk and converse with my younger self aged 8. We share what we have learnt (by me as an adult) and dream of (me as a child) to help us both get the most out of life. What I know he needs and what he excitedly imagines I need to remember. Your post made me feel good about this important relationship. Blessings.
John Sherry´s last [type] ..Three Promises That Will Change Your Life

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Aileen July 29, 2010

it is important relationship with self, – glad to hear you conversation is alive and growing

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Antonia July 28, 2010

Oooh, what a fun thought experiment. I’d tell my younger self three things:

1. Ask for help when you need it. Offer it when you don’t.
2. Don’t hide sadness with anger. That just makes people defensive. Showing your vulnerability opens the doors of communication, and getting mad slams them shut.
3. If you want to get really good at something, find someone who’s a master and do what they do.

Unfortunately, I doubt my younger self would have listened, since like you Aileen I wasn’t very open to advice! Thanks for this thought-provoking post.
Antonia´s last [type] ..How to start your travel nursing career

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Aileen July 29, 2010

Antonia, thank you for adding your three – they are strong!

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Louise July 28, 2010

The wisdom, understanding and depth of this post was awesome, I was so moved by it. It made me want to say “to know you is to love you”. You are a fabulous gift to the human race. I only wish I would have said these things to my younger self. Thank you.

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Aileen July 29, 2010

Thank you

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ashok July 29, 2010

I’ve tried this exercise before in my personal journal. Typically I end up reflecting on how much my younger self wouldn’t understand or appreciate; the advice becomes “read this” or “observe that.”

Definitely the biggest mistake was thinking that school = education. What I needed to do in grade school and high school was read so much on my own that school was easy. I only figured that out somewhat in college.

Thanks for this list! I think it’ll definitely send me back to the journal, not a bad thing.
ashok´s last [type] ..Maimonides, “Letter to Obadiah the Proselyte”

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Aileen July 29, 2010

oh, I do hope it send you back to journal writing!! It does wonders for our spirit & our growth :) …and I know what you mean about school and education. They are not the same :)

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emily July 29, 2010

o.k., sigh, I am a mother of two of the most precious beings on this planet. I know life will not be perfect for them no matter how much I fight for it to be. I teach them daily to listen to their body, to love and respect themselves and choose friends that are good to them. Walk away from those who are not. I know there will be a time when my words will become noise in their ears and I pray there will be advise and wisdom like yours that will reach them during their stages. Thank you for a beautiful post. I need to go dry my eyes.

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Stephen July 30, 2010

I really enjoyed this post. I think the idea of parenting ourselves right throughout our lives is essential for our ultimate wellbeing. Thanks very thought provoking. I must say the whole concept of your blog, Kaizen, is very meaningful.

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Aileen August 3, 2010

Thank you Stephen!

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THe Exception July 31, 2010

These are wonderful. I have never seen a list directed to different times in a life and you composed it with such thought. I do try to give my daughter guidance “be open to learning and thankful for the corrections (she is a ballet student) and allow yourself to absorb everything.” She listens but I think it is beyond her. She doesn’t see how she resists and the teachers push and then she resists that much more. It might be a lesson she learns through experience!
Wonderfully written

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Aileen August 3, 2010

Oh Ballet is one of my biggest passions!!!!!!!!!!!! I see the younger students get frustrated with all the corrections and the funny part is, those corrections are blessings – that can transform a student into a real dancer. Resistance is one of those life lessons that visit us many times and in many different ways.
I’m glad the post resonated with you.
It is a good thing that you haven’t given up giving advice!!!

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Marion August 2, 2010

Aileen

This was great. I could imagine myself at the various stages. I think I will share this post with my daughter. Perhaps if she reads these pearls of wisdom from someone who is not her mum – she might be quite surprised. She may even believe that I too was just like her once!

Thanks for a great post
Marion´s last [type] ..The Amazing Benefits of Procrastination

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Aileen August 3, 2010

Hi Marion, Thank you for stopping by and leaving your wonderful comment.

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Farnoosh August 6, 2010

Dear wonderful and smart Aileen,
The *BEST* life lesson series yet but please don’t tell anyone else I said that :)! Seriously, this one I read word for word and then got a few shivers. You speaking to a person you used to be. I just came back from vacation when I read letters my childhood friend brought – letters I had written her at 11 – and another my cousin brought that I had written at 7! Oh how touching it was to see the younger self and if we could just talk to her for a few minutes….So sweet! I so enjoyed this! THANK YOU!!!!
Farnoosh´s last [type] ..Making Tough Decisions- How to Break a Commitment Professionally

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Aileen August 10, 2010

Thank you Farnoosh!

WOW it must have been amazing to read those letters and hear the voice of yourself at age 7 and 11. What an incredible experience.

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bean August 20, 2010

Your abundant wisdom never ceases to amaze me. May the universe bless you with many
followers to benefit from it!

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Aileen August 23, 2010

Thank you so very much for your kind words and blessing. It’s deeply appreciated.

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