Life Advice I'd Give My Younger Self

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As I get older, I often think about the decisions I’ve made in my life and how I would have done things differently. I think about the advice I will give my children and what advice I would give to my younger self. The person I was when I was younger and the person I am now are COMPLETELY different. I have been through a lot and I have overcome a lot, but there are some things I wish I would have been able to tell my younger self.

1This is just the beginning of your story; you still have so much more to write.

At every stage in life, it seems as if it is the be-all and end-all. But the truth is, every decision, every success, every failure, every win, and every loss are all part of a bigger story. Take it all in stride. Don’t rush; think through your decisions and remember that you still have more to write in your story. I look back at my time in high school and how much I wanted it to end. I used to try and think ahead, wondering if my life would always look that way. Even then I tried to remind myself that it was just a point in time, but when you’re living in the moment, it’s so hard to see that a change will eventually take place. You will get to the next chapter.

2Challenges will arise — some you could never imagine in a million years — but you will survive.

You will have to. If I'd been given a crystal ball when I was younger, I never would have believed the loss that was to come in my future: the loss of a brother as a newborn and the loss of a sister at 25. Had I seen what was to come, I wouldn't have believed I could survive it, but I did. You can and you will. Life will be cruel, it will be challenging, there will be many forks in the road, and you will overcome it all.

3You are enough. You deserve more than you think you do. Only you can make the big decisions.

Make them by knowing your worth. I wish I knew my worth when I was younger. I wish I had the confidence then that I have now. By not believing that I deserved anything, I found myself in a marriage that I knew might not have been the right one for me. I believed that no one would love me and that even though it didn’t feel right, I should do it anyway. I didn’t believe I deserved more. I should have.

4Others may believe in you, but you need to believe in yourself.

Everyone around you believes in you, but you hold yourself back when you don’t believe in yourself. Be your biggest cheerleader and accomplish everything you want to accomplish — because you can. There were times in my life when people had the courage to speak up and share their opinions with me, but I didn’t have the courage to listen. I should have listened. Had I listened, I would have made different decisions. Listen to those who love and care about you.

5Trust yourself.

Only you know what feels right. Even though it will be hard, trust yourself. If you don’t, you will only have yourself to blame. You will know what feels right and what doesn’t. When it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it, but when it does, do whatever you have to do to get it done. They say that people get cold feet before a wedding, and I used that as an excuse. Many of us choose to use things as an excuse even when we know deep down what the right decision is. I remember driving in my car before my wedding wondering if it was the right decision, wondering if I would be able to get out, but I chalked it up to cold feet instead of truly acknowledging my feelings because that was the easy way out. Don’t take the easy way out. Go with your gut.

6Be present and cherish every moment.

You will never be able to get them back. Loss is an inevitable part of life, and you may experience more than others. Take it one day at time, put one foot in front of the other, and be strong. If I could get back anything in this world that I have lost, it would be my sister: just one more minute with her, one more conversation, one more look at her beautiful pale face and gorgeous red hair. I would take in every breath. I wouldn’t blink. I would barely breathe so that I wouldn’t miss a thing. I wish I had been more present. I wish we had both slowed down and not taken our time for granted. I wish we had more time together.

7Know what makes you happy and what doesn’t.

Know what you believe in and what you don’t. Live by it. In the movie Runaway Bride, Julia Roberts likes her eggs the same way all of her fiancés like their eggs. For a long time, I felt like that's how I was living. But if you follow what everyone else is doing, you will never know what you like and you won’t know what makes you happy. Take the time to get to know yourself — your likes, your dislikes, and everything in between. Once you do, you will be able to enjoy your life to the fullest.

8Always be grateful.

Don’t take anything for granted. Be grateful for your friends and family, be grateful for every love, and be grateful for what you have and what you can do. Never stop feeling gratitude. We are all guilty of feeling ungrateful at times. When I felt ungrateful for too long, I found myself to be a much unhappier person. I was complaining more and I was finding the bad in everything instead of the good. Once I began feeling grateful — grateful for my children, grateful for the ability to work from home, grateful for healthy parents, grateful for having been able to get out of a marriage that was making me unhappy — I was so much happier. We all have things that aren’t great in our lives, but we also have so many things that are great, so focus on them and live a life filled with gratitude.

9Live life like someone is watching you and sing like no one is listening.

When you go through the loss of an extremely important person in your life — in my case, my sister — you have to find a way to keep going. For me, the only way I knew how to move forward was to live like she was watching me. I live every day like she is watching me from above. This gives me the strength to move on and makes me feel like she gets to watch my life and see my kids grow up, which is something that was hard for me to let go of when I lost her.

10Everything happens for a reason.

Life isn’t fair, but everything happens for a reason. You’ve had to believe that to keep going, and you will need this lesson many more times in your life. The good, the bad, and the unimaginable all happen for a reason. This idea might be challenging to accept, but we have no choice. When I lost my brother, I went through depression, anxiety, and even an eating disorder. After we lost him, my parents had another son, who was the greatest gift. I learned then that without the loss of my brother, we would not have had Matthew. Everything happens for a reason.

Tags: Courage, Empowerment, Personal Growth

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Written By

Jenna Greenspoon

Jenna is a mom to 4. She is passionate about writing and making life a bit easier for moms everywhere by sharing her tips and tricks! See Full Bio

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