Close your eyes and think about your 15-year-old self. If you could go back in time and give her some advice, what would it be? It gets better? Don’t be so hard on yourself? Focus more on books than boys? You are beautiful, give it a year or two and the rest of the world will also see it? I bet it would be something along these lines.
My 15-year-old self felt she was too fat in her size 6 clothes, she was awkward, not nearly as pretty or as smart as her friends. She sacrificed school and opportunities because she didn’t believe in herself or was trying too hard to be cool or popular. She was so hard on herself, and I look back and see a gorgeous young woman who was so intelligent and had such talent. I wish she believed in herself more – knew she was beautiful, was smart, was talented. I wish I could go back and tell her to be kinder to herself.
We don’t automatically gain self confidence when we finish puberty, and we’re still pretty hard on ourselves. If our present day selves can spout wisdom to our teenage selves, imagine what our 80-year-old selves would think of us, grown women, treating ourselves in such a manner?
Take a moment. Sit in a quiet corner, or maybe hit the snooze button for a few minutes of quiet solitude. Relax, close your eyes, and envision your 80-year-old self. Don’t focus on what you are doing, what you look like, what your life is like. But imagine your 80-year-old self thinking about you at your current age. See your current life through your older eyes. What do you think she would focus on? Would she remember the stretch marks or the dirty dishes; the frizzy hair or the failed presentation at work? Or would she remember the good friends, the times you laughed so hard your stomach ached, the love you had with your partner, the early morning snuggles with your children, the perfect spring days when you enjoyed a cup of tea on the patio or the road trip to visit your cousins.
Your 80-year-old self would likely tell you similar things that you would tell your 15-year-old self. That you’re too hard on yourself. That life is more than a dress size, and way bigger than your problems. That you don’t have that much time on this planet, and you should focus more on the good than the bad. And that you should listen to her, didn’t your parents teach you to respect your elders?