A letter to my 12-year old self

Dear 12-year old me –

It is going to be okay. You are on the right path and you are doing great. You are beautiful; not because of your physical looks but because you have a light that shines in you and pours forth in your smile and your energy. That is attractive. You have a fire that ignites your mind and burns brightly in your heart. And, when your fire gets dampened by hurt and rejection, which it will, remember you are surrounded by people who will reignite that fire. Cry, talk to them, be open and honest and vulnerable. They will help and it’s okay to need and accept help. We all do.

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Keep doing the things in your life that you love – sing, run, dance, feed your intellect – and be yourself. Don’t worry about trying to be what society tells you to be. When you are yourself, you are happy. And you will know that the people around you truly see you, not a fake you, and they like you.  Don’t waste your time and energy on people who don’t like you. It’s better to let them go or to walk away from them.

Take risks, especially when you love because it’s worth it. Even when you get hurt. And, you will.  But, when that happens, when you’re sad or angry or scared or feeling rejected or insecure, try to accept these feelings. Don’t try to make them go away by eating or pretending you don’t care. That won’t work and the feelings will end up festering inside you and affecting your ability to connect with others and to heal. Give the feelings some space, acknowledge them, and then focus your energy on the positive things in your life and they will pass, leaving you with valuable lessons in their wake. To help process these emotions, prioritize your self-care. Self-care means spending time doing the things that are most important to you.

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Feelings do not define you or your life. You can have a sad day without it meaning your life is sad. You can fail at something without it meaning you are a failure.  Failing and making mistakes is a key part of the learning process. No one hits the bullseye the first time they shoot an arrow. You get closer with each “failed” shot.

You can be rejected without it meaning you are unworthy of being loved. It just means the fit wasn’t right. Learn from that and try again.

You can be imperfect without it meaning you are a less-than disappointment. When you feel imperfect, accept that we are all imperfect; it’s part of being human.

There is no such thing as controlled perfectionism, where if you do everything right than everything will be okay.  Life will happen. You only have control over how you react to events, not the events themselves. And, when you let go of the control you create the space for wonderful unexpected things to happen.  Better than you could ever pick for yourself.

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Don’t worry about being anxious. Pay attention to your body but don’t let feeling anxious stop you from living your life the way you want and doing the things you really want to do.

So, keep being you. Allow yourself to be seen and don’t hide. Keep being fierce about following your joy.

Keep up the good work. You are doing great!

with love always,
43-year old you/me

PS – you will get to see lava someday!!

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13 thoughts on “A letter to my 12-year old self

    • Thanks for liking it! Picking pictures of myself at that age was hard. I just remember feeling so awkward and different and fat and ugly. You know what? That’s not what the pictures show!!

  1. I totally relate to the perfectionism! It must be so interesting to look back at old photos and realize they don’t reflect how you remember yourself from those times.

  2. I loved your photos and your post, it’s great advice for all of us, to follow our hearts, remain one and trusting and to keep going and learn from our “failures’ Very well written, loved it and thanks for sharing, so glad you hit the publish button

  3. oh if only I had had a compassion voice like this for my 12 year old self. I found so many of your words spot on to that vulnerable 12 year old that can still live in us today. Thanks

    • Thanks, Kira. Gloria Steinham talks about how, as adults, we can parent the child within us and give her what she may not have received during childhood. Parenting that 12-year old as an adult has lead to some amazing emotional growth. Of course, there are still days when I’d like a time machine so I could go back and find the person who taught my 12-year self that she was fat and bad./different and punch that person in the face!!!

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