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Messages For My Younger Self

Whether I like it or not, I'm given countless opportunities to reflect on my own life as a therapist-in-training. I sit with older individuals who make me think about how I'd like to impact the world, children who make me wonder what parenting must be like, and couples who give me an insight into marriage. I also have conversations with teenagers that remind me of my younger self and what I wish I could have known during my teenage years. 

Recently, many of you told me you wanted to see more posts related to mental health and personal experiences, so I hope today's post will deliver. I present you with: things I wish I could tell my younger self.

1. Being skinny really is so unimportant.

I used to be mildly obsessive about my appearance when I was younger. I had horrible acne that I was incredibly self-conscious about and I was a competitive dancer who defined my self-worth by the size of my body. I developed not only a desire to be skinny, but a need to be that way, assuming that being thin would be the solution to all of life’s problems. Needless to say, this wasn’t a healthy mindset. I wish Young Kristina had realized that being a couple dress sizes bigger didn’t change me as a person in any way. Being healthy is vital, but being skinny is not. In fact, obsessing over your weight, skipping social opportunities to avoid food, and telling yourself you’re ugly is a form of self-harm. Making memories with friends is far more important than not eating that cookie. I wish I could have gotten my priorities straight and realized that I am not defined by my appearance. 

2. Stop caring what people think so much.

As you grow up, you become way less self-absorbed. You realize that the world is awfully big and that your problems are actually quite insignificant. Most importantly, you realize that people seldom think about you as much as you think they do (which I say to bring you a sense of comfort and relief). Take a moment to consider how ridiculous it is to think that all people do in a day is sit around talking about your decisions. They don’t. They have their own sh*t going on and their own problems to concern themselves with, believe me. And the ironic part is that they probably think you're thinking about them all day long. 

3. Stick up for yourself no matter what.

Being a woman can be hard freaking work. You’re supposed to be strong and independent but not too strong or you’ll come across as a b*tch. You’re supposed to stand up for yourself but risk being labeled a neurotic spazz if you do it too often. You must be loving but not too loving or you’ll be seen as a doormat. Western society has a list of qualities women are supposed to have that are oftentimes completely contradictory, and it’s very confusing. But please, Young Kristina, never ever feel like you’re “bitchy,” “bossy,” or “crazy” for standing up for yourself and everything you believe in. Ever.

4. Be single, lonely, and fabulous.

Being in a relationship has its perks: you have someone to hang out with all the time, you can attend all those “couply” events and activities, and you have someone cheering you on from the sidelines (hopefully). That’s all good and dandy, but you need to learn how to be your own cheerleader. You need to be able to be in your own company without feeling uncomfortable, anxious, and needy. Learn how to love yourself without having someone there to say “I love you” all the time. There is truly no relationship more important than the one you have with yourself. Boyfriends come and go, but you’re stuck with you for life. You need to be The One for yourself. Trust me, if you can’t love yourself, you won’t have any love whatsoever to give to another person.  

5. Always take the high road, even if no one else joins you.

No one likes feeling rejected or hurt, but these are inevitabilities in life. If someone breaks up with you, don’t call them names, bad talk them to everyone you know, or post hurtful things about them on social media. I have had people do these types of things to me and I was just so disappointed by their behaviour. Doing this is petty and immature, and while I understand wanting to partake in such activities, that doesn’t mean you should. And trust me: the higher the road you take, the worse others often look for acting like an idiot.