A couple of days ago it was International Women’s Day, and as part of that celebration YouTube had a little event going on called #DearMe. The idea was for women all over the world to record a video giving advice to their younger selves. I didn’t find out about this event until the day after, so I’m way too late to the game to bother with a video, but I thought that perhaps I would belatedly participate by writing this post. So here we go.

315737-dearmeDear Me,

Your anxieties and self-doubt probably feel like the most painfully real thing in your life right now. I won’t tell you to just let go of them, because asking a teenager to let go of doubt and anxiety is like expecting a fish to live out of water. I can, however, promise you that most of the things that you worry about incessantly now will be the absolute last things on your mind in only a few short years.

People will judge you throughout your life – that’s an unfortunate truth of life – but learn to separate the wheat from the chaff. There is a huge difference between constructive criticism (“If you buckled down a bit you could do a lot better in this class.”) and cruelty for the sake of being cruel (“You suck so much at this! You’re such an idiot!”). Learn how to accept and make use of the former, and learn to throw away the latter. There is little sense in engaging with cruel people because they will only find more things to be cruel about.

Never give up on the things that make you happy. If other people discourage you from those things, remove them from your life, because the people who truly matter most would never want to steal away your happiness.

Know that you can’t be all things all the time. It’s great to have goals and aspirations, but if you split your time and energy amongst several different things you will never have as much success as if you focused and dedicated yourself to one thing at a time. If you’re always jumping back and forth from story to story you’ll never wind up with a complete book.

And finally, it’s okay and understandable to get down on yourself every now and then, but always remember that there are a lot of things that you love about yourself and that others love about you.

Keep your head up.

Sincerely, Me

What advice would you give your younger self? Please share!

Also, a reminder that I am running a contest throughout the month of March. For each comment you post on my blog throughout the month, you will receive one entry toward a draw for a hard-copy of my zombie apocalypse novel, “Nowhere to Hide”! Please note that in order to accept the prize, I will need you to give me a mailing address where I can have the book sent. If the winner drawn did not intend to enter the contest and/or does not want the book, I will draw another name. Please also note that obvious spam/duplicate comments/etc. will not be counted toward an entry…play fair! And good luck!