“Letters to My Younger Self” is a series focused on wisdom and self-awareness. Just as you write letters to a friend to encourage and uplift them, here is the advice we would go back and tell our younger selves.
Dear 16-year-old Graci,
I think about you often.
I used to hurt for you every day, but I realize that, in order to love myself now, I have to love you too.
I realize that, in order to love myself now, I have to love you too.
You are in the middle of a lot of pain and processing and will experience more. Your worth has been limited to the slenderness of your body and your level of productivity.
The emotions you feel will often paralyze you from accomplishing anything and your tongue will struggle to form words of truth.
Much of the anxiety you will experience comes from the fear of settling, fear of complacency. Of being paralyzed because of your often heavy emotions. Of running out of time. Shame will cloud your vision, whirl you around a self-deprecating cycle.
You know something?
You were created with a natural drive to pursue beauty and excellence. In everything you do, your motivation is to improve your mind and body.
You were created with a natural drive to pursue beauty and excellence.
You are competent and capable. Unique and powerful. You have accomplished so much and have seen so much life in your 16 years.
There are few of us that experience an incessant desire for more, who have a fear that time is running short, that we need to see all of the world before the age of 21.
You will experience this more as time goes on. But, as Charles Bukowski says, “Don’t try.”
Oh, those words make me uneasy every time I read them, but you will be surprised at how productive you can be when you are not anxiously striving toward something better or something more.
Instead, I encourage you to be present each day. Read for pleasure, watch films, stroll through the city and take naps. Go through the motions of your days.
You will need to work for what you want. The key is to work with yourself, not against yourself. Work steadily, be consistent. There is always time for consistency.
Work with yourself, not against yourself.
Soon, you will walk lighter. You will write beautiful stories. You will accomplish more than you ever believed you could. You will understand the meaning of grace and will understand the practice of patience.
I believe in you.