Notes To My Younger Self

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Ah, childhood memories.

I enjoy looking at old pictures, notes, and artwork in a memory box that my mom gave me a couple years ago. It never fails to take me back to those days.

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The quote on the front reads, ‘Angela, Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.’

Sometimes I think about how I have changed over the years.

While I have grown up and matured, I still maintain my childlike innocence and love of laughter. I still giggle, find time to ‘play’, and make jokes. I act silly and do embarrassing things. I am a klutz and it is not uncommon for me to trip over invisible objects. I am shy, sensitive, anxious, and a bit neurotic at times. Really, I was always this way.

No matter how I felt about myself over the years, my mom always saw the good (even when I was a crazy teenager and she probably wanted to disown me!).

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I got my love for the written word from my mom.

I still have a love for fashionable workout clothes (oversized red tee and pink sneakers, anyone?), frills and lace, poetic dancing, tutus, and furry friends, much like I did when I was young…

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Pink polka dot outfits and rollerskate performances rocked my world…

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And still do…

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And my love for NEON clothing lives on (much to OSGMOM’s chagrin). You can ask my mom about the time, early 1990’s, when she bought me a neon pink and green spandex outfit at the mall and I insisted that I change into it in the mall bathroom so I could wear it immediately. And it was the only thing I wanted to wear for weeks. ;)

A love of writing, inspired by my mom.

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…and the realization that all of us deserve to find happiness in our own unique way.

While our personalities often stay the same, our thought processes, feelings, and actions tend to evolve. To grow we need to constantly challenge ourselves and find new meaning in things.

I used to be a bad friend to myself. While I was easy-going and loving by nature, for many years I did not show this to myself. Instead, I was very utilitarian and dogmatic. I treated myself as if I was in some kind of boot camp, constantly striving for perfection and often tripping up. When the goal is perfection you will find failures with everything you do. So I kept trying hoping some day to gain my acceptance.

What I learned is that I held the power all along to accept myself for who I was. Losing weight would not make me love myself just as it wouldn’t make me love my family or friends any more when their weight changed. I love them for who they are and that is exactly what I had to realize about my relationship with myself. Sometimes the things we perceive as faults or character flaws are things other people come to love about us.

Self-love is a package deal.

If I were to tell my younger self some things I have learned along the way they would be:

  • Accept the total package and not compartments: Honour and love who you are, your personality, your talent, and all your less desirable traits.
  • Repair from within: Losing weight or changing your appearance will not fix the broken relationship with yourself.
  • Get rid of the chip on your shoulder: When you perceive yourself and others as the enemy, your life becomes a battleground. Instead choose love and keep the faith despite the inevitable experiences and people that will hurt you.
  • FORGIVE. Yourself. Others. Often. Move on. Life is short.
  • Cultivate Childhood Passions: Those hobbies you loved as a kid might be clues to your future success. As a child mine were baking, outdoors/nature, health, sports, writing, animals. When I reintroduced these passions into my life I became much happier.
  • This too shall pass. With each year that I age, I am happier. if you are in a hard time, hold on. I used to think my high school days would never end (yes, I got my share of teasing!), but life gets so much better.

 

What ‘tips’ would you give to your younger self? Is your personality similar to how it was when you were a child?

You might also want to check out my previous posts on this topic: A Letter To My Former Self  & A Letter To My Current Self.

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{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

Leah @ Why Deprive? August 26, 2010

There are SO many things I would want to go back and tell myself. Especially to relax, and be nicer. I had a major chip on my shoulder during my ED. I remember one night my mom ordered me a pizza for dinner and I flipped out. I was so awful to her, and I can remember her saying “I thought I was doing something nice for you”. I still feel guilty about it, because she WAS doing something nice, and I was just too broken inside to see it.

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Daniel August 26, 2010

My personality has changed. Though I’ve always been more mature than most kids my age, I still acted immature and completely facetious. That and I swore an awful lot. I’m geting back to being more relaxed and loose, but I’ve definitely taken “the adult world” seriously because I don’t want to get hit in the face with the real world any harder than I have to.

I don’t regret the bad mistakes I’ve made in the past because we learn from them. I wouldn’t really want to change my past because of this, but if I had to give myself advice I’d teach myself all of the nutrition info I know now so that I would have lost all of my weight in a healthy manner. Live and learn. :)

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Gillian August 26, 2010

I love these posts Angela. I think ‘forgive yourself’ is one of the hardest. But you’re right, life is short.

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Valerie @ City|Life|Eats August 26, 2010

I love this post – I actually did a pearls of wisdom project on my blog last year and asked readers to contribute postcards to a younger self and the submissions I got from guest bloggers were amazing!

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AngelaOSG August 26, 2010

that is such a great idea!

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Joslyn @ missfitbliss August 26, 2010

This is a wonderful post! How great of you to be so open in sharing old pictures! My favorite from your list is cultivating childhood passions. I’ve been thinking about that one a lot lately and I think it’s really necessary for me to be my best self. Which of course leads me to rule #1: accepting the good and “bad” parts of who I am. I’m learning more and more to like those parts I’ve been most ashamed of in the past. It’s fun to get to know them instead of trying to bury them!

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Brie @ Brie Fit August 26, 2010

I needed to read this today. I saw a doctor for a running injury and he told me I’m too fat to run a marathon and encouraged unhealthy behaviors (like starving myself) to drop weight to reach the goal. It’s been a really low afternoon for me.

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Beverly Falk August 26, 2010

Wow…if that’s your doctor’s usual attitude, perhaps you should look for a new doctor. I mean it! No one should ever advocate that kind of unhealthy behaviour, especially a health professional! Good for you that you are running and making healthy long-term goals for yourself, like running a marathon! Don’t let this irresponsible doc get you down!

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AngelaOSG August 26, 2010

That is horrible, Im so sorry. I would seek out a new doctor asap. No one deserves that kind of treatment!

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Lisa August 26, 2010

“Don’t take everything so seriously.”
I’m still trying to learn that one, though. ;)

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jessica @ How Sweet It Is August 26, 2010

FORGIVE would be a huge one for me too.
And I also loved (love?) neon clothing!

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Michelle August 26, 2010

I love this post. Beautiful.

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Freya (Brit Chick Runs) August 26, 2010

I LOVE this post!! Your tips are amazing, your mum writes beautifully, and YOU are an inspiration!
I’d say I still am my younger self, being only 20, but ATM I’d say:
-don’t sweat exams, 12yr old me! THEY DON@T MATTER!!!
-don’t sweat the little things- seriously! In the grand scheme of things it won’t matter
-BEING THIN WILL NOT MAKE YOU HAPPY! If I’d know that one, i would’ve saved myself and my family 2 yrs of misery….
FAB post girl!

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AngelaOSG August 26, 2010

hahaha yes ‘don’t sweat exams, 12yr old me! THEY DON@T MATTER!!!’

I remember my teacher told us our grade 8 marks counted toward university applications. I believed her and freaked out!

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Dani @ Body By Nature August 26, 2010

Very inspiring! I love your advice to your younger self, I can take away a lot from that!

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banandrea August 26, 2010

Another beautiful post!
I think my number one advice to my younger self would be: slow down. Life is not a race to the finish line, and the journey is really important- even when things seem horrible, there’s a lesson to be learned. I definitely agree with continuing childhood pastimes, too- when I let go of my artistic side (singing, dancing, drawing) I let go of a lot of who I was and lost an important outlet.
Once again, I love the message in this post. You inspire me :)

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AngelaOSG August 26, 2010

I love the slow down advice. I need to practice this daily

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Mary @ Bites and Bliss August 26, 2010

I would tell my younger self to never fall into the beauty traps. And by that I mean comparing myself to others or to models. I did it when I was younger and if I could go back then and just be like “stop! And don’t ever start again! You’ll be gorgeous being yourself” then it would have saved a lot of effort.

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Tina August 26, 2010

As a mother, your notes from your mom are making me tear up!!

And I think forgiveness was the biggest thing that when I finally embraced it changed my life. You are such a beautiful blogger!

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AngelaOSG August 26, 2010

She has a way with words, doesn’t she?

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Camille August 26, 2010

What a wonderful post!
If I could, I would tell my younger self to lighten up a bit! Not everything is a tragedy!

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Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman August 26, 2010

I’d tell myself: Things aren’t as terrible as they feel right now.

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Morgan @ Healthy Happy Place August 26, 2010

Your mom’s poem gave me chills. How beautiful!

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Angela August 26, 2010

Hi Angela…..
I have read your blog for awhile now. Not only do we share the same name but so many things in relation to disordered eating and all that entails. Often what you write of your struggle is exactly what I have gone through. I am not yet where you are at with your health and the care you show to yourself but I am on my journey! Thank you so much for being so open and sharing your inner most self. You are truly beautiful. I am still so scared to fully let go and just trust my body, nourish myself, stop using food as punishment and most of all to choose…. to just love me! Your feelings and thoughts on perceiving oneself and others as the enemy really touched me….my life has been a battleground for so long….it has gotten better but today this effected me and made me realize only I can truly “cease fire”. I have a 3 year old who is the light of my life….I am committed to showing her how to love herself, fuel herself and most of all be kind to herself. She has helped me to see how it starts with me!!!
So again thank you for your blog….and congrats on coming out the other side shining!!!!
Angela

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AngelaOSG August 26, 2010

Thank you so much for your comment. I love the notion of ‘cease fire’!

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Jessica August 26, 2010

I would tell my childhood self so many things. The first thing would be……just be yourself and embrace that. And that Being “cool” isn’t always cool. I love being different and unique now. But when I was young I didn’t want to be. I was the shy, smart, thoughful girl who was always pondering something. Kids/people in school didn’t understand why I was quiet. But that’s just me a lot of the time, especially when I am focused, like at school.

Good post.

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Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow August 26, 2010

Oh what a beautiful post…

For my younger self I would say
to forgive,
to always believe that you are enough,
to always begin and end your day with a sense of gratitude,
and to remember to love.

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Heather (Heather's Dish) August 26, 2010

is it fair to ditto everything you said? i would let myself know that the best kind of earthly love would come from my husband, and that he would teach me in turn to really love myself. I would tell myself that i was beautiful every single day. i would have shown restraint in being vengeful in relationships, and i would always tell myself to buy clothes that fit me now, not clothes that “MIGHT” fit me later…i could’ve saved a lot of money that way :)

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat August 26, 2010

You were such a cute little kiddie! I think one of my biggest lessons I’d like to teach my younger self is not to wish time away.

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Jess August 26, 2010

Thank you so much for this post! I’ve had a tough few years and have finally begun learning how to be my own support system (my boyfriend is the most wonderful person I could ask for, but you gotta learn to be there for yourself so you can be there for others). A big part of that was letting music back into my life—I recently reconnected with my old harp teacher, and the harp I learned to play on as a kid is here in my apartment now. We’re both having fun connecting with it. I think I would have told my younger self to make more time for pleasure. Haha I still need help with that one!

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AngelaOSG August 26, 2010

wow the harp is such a beautiful instrument to know how to play!

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Chelsea at Striking Balance August 26, 2010

Angela, you are such an inspiration to me. These posts of yours always help me realize that something inside me has to change.

The ones that hit home the hardest: accept yourself as a total package, and losing weight will not make you happy. I need to keep reminding myself of this last one. I keep thinking that after I lose those last “5 lbs” or whatever, I will be happier. Even though I know that my weight does not affect my happiness, deep down I sstill have that lingering thought in my head.

And accepting myself.. I love myself in terms of my personality, my caring nature, my silliness, etc. But I don’t treat myself as though I love myself, because I don’t accept the “whole package”. This has to do with the paragraph above about accepting my weight. I know I am healthy, and that I have the power to accept myself for who I am. What am I waiting for?

Thanks for always writing such beautiful and honest posts.

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AngelaOSG August 26, 2010

Thanks for your comment. I think many of us can relate to your struggles…take it one day at a time :)

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Laura August 26, 2010

When people invite you to do something, say “yes” more often!

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Viviane August 26, 2010

Angela, this is a very interesting topic!
What I would tell my younger self… well first of all, enjoy the good times now as much as you can because soon you will face events that will change your life forever. It will be hard, but you’ll get through it, become stronger than you knew you could and eventually get to know what true happiness is.
Also, stop worrying so much about boys because you will marry the man of your dreams one day and don’t pluck your eyebrows so thin, you’ll have a hard time growing them out later!!! LOL

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AngelaOSG August 26, 2010

lol u are awesome!
Agree about the boys part…it all works out in the end…although it doesnt feel that way at the time.

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Claire August 26, 2010

Treat yourself as good as your treat others.

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cassie August 26, 2010

great post Angela.. i think my personality is pretty similar to when i was younger with the exception of becoming more confident which i think for all of us comes naturally.. some tips that i would share with my younger self are:

- everything always works out in the end, even when it feels like there’s no end in sight
- be kind to everyone you meet
- be patient about life and what’s next
- love yourself more then anything in the world
- do not compare yourself to others

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Chelsey August 26, 2010

What a great post Angela – we are basically the same person as I continue to read your posts about having such a straining internal relationship for so many years.

I would tell myself to…

- love myself and my body. I only have one life and was given one body… why would I be so cruel to it?

- everything really does happen for a reason.

- accept the past and move forward.

Your mom has a beautiful gift. I can see where you get it from!

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Mary @ Running Wifle August 26, 2010

I would tell my younger self that I should value myself and treat my body like the wonderful thing that it is. I was always overweight as a kid/teenager and let that dictate a lot of my life. I used it as an excuse for why I couldn’t do things, and why I ate badly and didn’t take care of myself. I would also tell a young me to work on being more confident!

My personality is really similar as it was when I was younger: stubborn but sweet, introspective, silly. What I value in life and what is important to me is completely different though. I used to be success-driven, and now I am happiness-driven (though surprisingly I feel more successful than ever!)

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Wei-Wei August 26, 2010

I just LOVE that your mother did that for you. Such a wonderful thing to do for your children… I know that I’ll do the same thing for my children (if I ever get to have any… in my state I doubt it) and try to raise them with this knowledge in mind.

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Leanne @ Radiant, Balanced & Fit August 26, 2010

Angela! You should frame the second letter & put it somewhere in your house… maybe a special spot where you enjoy writing? Or near your bed? I love the idea of using old letters or letters of importance as art… & that way you get to see it often!

I love your blog!

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AngelaOSG August 26, 2010

Such a great idea!

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J@WholeBodyLove August 26, 2010

*Don’t worry so much about what others thnk of you. Be the best YOU that you can be and others will notice.
*Make your own “luck”. You decide how your life evolves.
*No boyfriend will make or break you.
*All of the bitchy girls in high school will be obese at your reunion and you will be fit and radiant.
*Low-Carb/High Fat won’t work for you …and neither does Bud Ice.
*Don’t allow people to smoke in your dorm room.
*Someday, you will have a lovely baby girl that will change your life for the better in so many ways!

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holly @ couchpotatoathlete August 26, 2010

Angela this is a great post — and your pics are so cute! I could tell it was you by the smile — it is still the same!

I would tell my younger self to not take life so seriously, to have fun and that it is ok to giggle and laugh. I would also tell myself to not compare myself to anyone, and to love myself and be my own best friend.

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AngelaOSG August 26, 2010

awww :) thank you!

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Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) August 26, 2010

I would tell my younger self not to worry so much – everything will work out as it should, and most things aren’t as big of a deal as you think they are.

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Heather August 26, 2010

if I could give my younger self a tip I would say to not take life so seriously and let loose more! I was so serious about grades and sports I let it control my life and didnt have as much fun as I would have liked.

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Bridget August 26, 2010

Aww, I love finding old notes that my mom wrote me when I was a child! Aren’t mom’s the greatest?

Considering I’m only 20, I haven’t really had the time to reflect on my life. However, what I would tell my early teen self is to stop being so jealous of other girls and to not compare myself to everyone, thinking that I’m not good enough. We ARE enough, just the way we are :)

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Shannon, Tropical Eats August 26, 2010

i’d tell myself to just live life! and not to be so stressed about school and grades… everything always works out in the end.

lovely post :)

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AngelaOSG August 26, 2010

I used to stress about grades so much too but really one test isn’t going to make or break me. I actually bombed one portion of my GRE exam and I still got into grad school even though I thought it was ‘over’ for me. But now I see that had I not gotten into grad school I still would have found my way somehow.

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kaila August 26, 2010

love the bullet saying “this too shall pass”. those are words to live by. whenever i am in a tough spot i feel like a can think of those words and know that getting through anything is possible. Thank you for the inspirational, thought provoking writing.

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Jess @ MTL Veggie August 26, 2010

Your Mom is a wonderful writer, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
If I were to give my childhood self advice it would be to love myself and have confidence in my abilities. I put on a front for too many years; it took me a long time to accept myself as I was.
I really loved reading this post, thank you for sharing these thoughts and memories :)

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