If you could send a letter back through time to your younger self, what would the letter say?
Many of us may have heard this idea before or read about it in Ellyn Spragins book entitled, What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self. In this book, forty-one famous people write letters to the person they once were, filled with advice and insights they wish they had had when they were younger.
This exercise offers an interesting perspective, and good reminder to lighten up on ourselves and not to sweat the small stuff. For example, I would tell my younger self:
- Not to worry so much because most of what I worried about never happened
- Not to waste so much time judging or critiquing my every move
- To cease comparing myself to others
In retrospect, we were all probably troubled about a lot of things that didn’t matter. So, if we knew then, what we know now, we would have probably relaxed and enjoyed ourselves a whole lot more.
However, this is not meant to be an exercise in regrets but an exercise in enlightenment and how to start incorporating this information into our life today. Therefore, our letters are not just a way to review past choices and how we would have done things differently, but a useful exercise to apply to our current choices as well.
With that in mind, maybe some of what we are struggling with today could be viewed from the perspective of our future self. In that way, it may help us lighten up about current concerns we may have and all the ways we may be judging ourselves. This is an interesting idea to ponder.
Some good examples of insights that were written to a younger self but can be applied and utilized today are:
“Learn how to celebrate.” –Olympia Dukakis
“Please yourself first…everything else follows.” –Macy Gray
“Don’t be so quick to dismiss another human being.” –Barbara Boxer
“Laundry will wait very patiently.” –Nora Roberts
Consider writing a letter to your younger self. What can you take from that information and use in your life today?