We've all had those "should've, could've, would've" thoughts right before we close our eyes and fall asleep. Those moments where every mistake from the age of 6 to the present decides to pay a visit and come back in full force. Annoying, isn't it?
It's an interesting phenomena how we beat ourselves up over past mistakes and memories, which are things we no longer have control over. So why do we continue to dwell on things that are merely just figments of our imaginations?
Being the perfectionist I am, it's hard for me not to be my own worst enemy, (especially when it comes to things I know I could've avoided or done better on). But part of growing up is realizing that your mistakes don't define you, and if anything they shape you.
Here are some other things I wish I could tell my past self:
1. You are good enough, and it's OK to be good enough.
Allowing myself the gratitude I deserve is probably one of the hardest things I've ever done. I always thought that there was something more I could have contributed in certain situations. Giving the best of yourself to someone or something is really all you are capable of, and you can't give more of something that you don't have. Once I accepted that, the overbearing obligation I had always felt seemed to have vanished.
2. Stop worrying about the future.
This is so important. There were so many moments I'd find myself getting caught up in a moment and thinking about how it would impact my future. In retrospect, it's a very logical and smart way to make decisions, but looking back on it I missed out on a lot of very important moments in my life. I wish I could have just accepted the present and truly lived in it instead of being too concerned with what would happen next.
3. That one test grade isn't going to ruin your life.
Trust me. Failing that one AP Biology test in high school will not ruin your life or college career. I actually had forgotten about it up until this point, which speaks for itself.
4. Worry about how you want to represent yourself, not how others expect you to be represented.
I felt like a majority of my high school career I was so focused on what others thought of me. I had reached my senior year and thought to myself, "Why do I care so much? Why am I so concerned with others' opinions of me rather than my own?" The bottom line is that your happiness does not depend on what other people think of you. At the end of the day you have yourself in all it's glory, and you need to represent yourself in the way you will be happiest.
5. Don't be afraid to say what's on your mind.
Raising my hand in class and speaking my mind in front of 20-something kids was not the kind of student I was. I just merely listened and from that formed my own values and opinions. But growing up and putting myself out there not only showed me that other people believe what I do, but that there's more to a situation than just black and white. All that gray stuff lies in millions of others people's minds, and speaking up and sharing your own thoughts is the only way you're going to learn about them.
6. It's OK to ask for help.
Really, it is. No one expects you to be perfect and know the answer to everything. Especially when it comes to handling tricky situations, you should never have to carry that weight all by yourself.
7. If you're not happy with something, do something about it.
It seems simple enough, but how many times are you really upfront with someone about an issue you have with them? Rarely. It's usually easier to bottle it up and vent to a friend later than it is to address it directly. But communication is key in any relationship, whether it's romantic or purely friends. You can't expect someone to know what's bothering you if you never tell them. And trust me, after you lay everything out on the table and open up, you can move on to whatever's next without worrying about that issue arising again.
8. Stop making excuses for yourself.
"I'm always so busy," "I completely forgot about that," "I just didn't have the time." Stop lying, we all know you were too preoccupied on Netflix and chose to avoid your responsibilities. You can glide past them for a little while, but dealing with them earlier on will make it easier to handle in the future.
9. Get more involved.
Don't shy away from opportunities that put you out of your comfort zone! It builds character, and you end up learning more about yourself than you initially thought you would.
10. It's OK to walk away from certain situations.
I always had a hard time allowing myself the freedom of walking away from a problem that I couldn't do anything more for. It's difficult leaving a situation with the intention of it getting better in the future, but it's important to remember that sometimes in order for things to get better you have to walk away and let it breathe.
11. Don't forget to put yourself first
I know it's easier to let someone else take the reins in social situations, but don't forget that you have a voice too, and it matters! You have the ability to do what you want in this life, don't let that go to waste simply because you're afraid of not agreeing with someone.
12. Thank you.
If it weren't for those silly mistakes or knee-trembling moments, I wouldn't have grown up to be the individual I'm proud to be today. Thank you for teaching me the importance of moving forward with my head held high, and giving me the readiness to face any challenge that comes my way.