July 9, 2020

Things I would tell my 8-year-old Self

This post is a compilation of a bunch of things I've written in my journal over the past few months. There's nothing so special about my eight-year-old self, but since I also once wrote a list of things I imagined my 80-year-old self would say, I thought it was fitting to also look backwards and share some wisdom with myself at age 8.  

Some of these are things I learned over the past three years working with a truly amazing counseling professional. Others are just things I've picked up or heard along the way. Feel free to choose any that you like and share with your younger self too! 
  • Feelings aren't good or bad. They just are.*
*I'm making this one bigger than the rest, because I think it's so important. I didn't realize just how much I had previously believed that only certain feelings were acceptable to have and others were not....which made dealing with feelings pretty challenging. It was while working with my counselor that I started to challenge this belief and have finally started embracing the idea that there are no good or bad feelings...feelings just are. 
  • How you feel matters. 
  • You're not the only one who feels this way. 
  • It's okay if you don't understand your feelings all the time. Just let them come and see what happens when you don't try to stuff them down or shove them aside. 
  • When you are feeling sad or angry or frustrated, take a minute to dig deeper into the feeling. It might be coming from a place of loneliness or anxiety or fear. 
  • You probably won't be an expert at something you haven't practiced. 
  • Not knowing how to put words to your feelings sometimes is normal. Sometimes our brain and our mouth need time to catch up. 
  • It's okay not to want to talk until you've had some time to collect your thoughts. 
  • It's okay to set boundaries about certain subjects or topics. 
  • Nobody has to understand how you feel about your faith, Heaven & Hell, God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, church, etc. 
  • It's okay to cry. 
  • Not everybody is watching and criticizing you, waiting for you to screw up. 
  • It's okay to be wrong and say so. 
  • It's okay to change your mind. Even if it used to feel like things could only be one way, you can decide right now in this very moment to do it differently.  
  • Every breath is a chance to start anew.
  • Where you are is okay. You're always growing and changing, even when you feel stagnant. 
  • It's okay to move slowly sometimes. 
  • It's okay to not know the answer. Not all questions get answered.  
  • It's okay if you aren't sure what questions to ask.
  • It's okay to do things you enjoy without any possibility of turning them into a career or a money making venture.
  • You can set the standard for yourself. There is no outside standard you have to "live up to." Success is what you believe it is. 
  • Being family doesn't mean everybody has to share the same opinion.
  • Everyone is different and every point of view is different too. 
  • It's our differences that make the world a more vibrant, interesting place. 
  • Just because something has always been a certain way doesn't mean that way is working.
  • We all bring hurts and struggles to our experiences because they are part of us. If someone seems to have a perfect life free from hurts or challenges, they are just hiding it better. 
  • It's okay to create the life you never had, but always wanted. 
  • You are okay. 
As you move forward, keep in mind that the only way out is through.