“What advice would you give to your younger self?” It’s a common question. One you’ve probably been asked or even asked someone yourself. And the responses are always so insightful. They’re always drenched with wisdom. Spoken from someone with hindsight that is 20/20.
They’re responses like, “I’d try and not take life too seriously?” or “I’d care less what people think” and even “I’d tell myself it’s gonna get better.” And while these trinkets of advice are all well and valid, they’re kind of counterintuitive. They’re pieces of advice you couldn’t give had you not gone through whatever struggle you overcame to learn them. If you eliminate the struggle, can there ever really be a lesson learned?
Don’t get me wrong. Taking time to acknowledge how you’ve grown is important. Reflecting on your struggles and finding the wisdom in them is great. But too often these questions cause us to look back in the wrong way. They cause us to look back and wonder how knowing what we know now, could have changed things back then. They make us wonder how this knowledge may have changed the course of our life. But that’s not the point. The point is to use these lessons to stay on course now. To take the wisdom that life granted you, and apply them every single day. To live the life you want.
Because the truth is, those pieces of advice don’t just apply to younger you. They apply to present you. They should should be your daily mantras. Your reminders that sure you’ve learned a lot, but there is still so much more to go. The lessons never stop. The wisdom is just beginning to flow. But you have to be here to receive it. You can’t be dwelling in the past. Reflecting on the journey is good. Wasting time revisiting the past is not. The outcome for younger you is never gonna change — no matter what advice you give. But the outcome for your future? That’s still being decided. And it’s being decided by you, right now, at this very moment.
So choose to stay present. To follow your own advice. To share your wisdom with others, but most importantly with yourself. Choose to give yourself credit for the person you’ve become, because of or in spite of everything you went through. You did that. You overcame those obstacles and brought the lessons with you along the way. So stop wasting them on the person you used to be. Choose to share them with the person you are now. They’re the one who needs to hear it. Even more importantly, they’re the one who deserves to hear it.