Thursday, January 29, 2015

Write Yourself Alive Day 1: A letter to myself 10 years ago

Dear Beth,

Today is the 28th of January, 2005. You are 22 years old, freshly finished with college, and feeling a bit lost. You’ve turned down a few job offers that felt wrong, even though the money would have been good. You’re doubting yourself as you watch all of your friends start big jobs with corporations and companies. You’re living at home with your parents, and your skin is breaking out. You’ve just ended a major relationship only to jump right into another. Was it the right decision? I understand how you are feeling and the questions that you have. No, I am not just saying that to make you feel better. I truly understand, because I felt it once, as you are feeling it now.

I have this idea that you will discover one day. An idea that came from someone else, but something a bit romantic and magical to believe in.

What if time isn’t linear?

What if, as I sit here and type this (from a different place than you- one I cannot tell you about as I don’t want to spoil the surprise)…what if you are sitting there, on those steps outside, or in your childhood bedroom questioning your worth?

 I am here to talk to you about a few things I have learned, and offer you some advice that I hope to either be futile or improve your mindset. If this letter is in vain, I don’t mind because the purpose is to bring you peace right now. But if it doesn’t, then that’s ok. Everything in this life will lead you exactly to where you should be. Trust your intuition, because I promise, everything is going to be alright.

In the next ten years, you are going to change far more drastically than you’ve ever imagined you possibly could. Your ideals, priorities and beliefs will not stay the same. I know you may be doubting this, as you can be quite stubborn. So, take it with a grain of salt if you must. Life will happen, and there is nothing you can do about it.

So, the first piece of advice I am going to give you, is to go with it. Open yourself to new people and ideas. You are drawn to this by your very nature, so stop being afraid of what people say that you should think. You don’t know this now, but that’s called dogma, and it affects everyone. You’re going to do and think what you want anyway, so do it boldly!  What others say and think will not make a difference in the end, other than to affect your self-confidence from time to time. So, don’t let it. You will be happier with this decision.

While I like the idea that parallel lives and the past may still exist, I am going to tell you to live by an idea that is a bit contradictory. To your perception (and mine still), only the present exists. So, engage in it.  When your mind is amidst your potential misfortunes and failures, you are not appreciating the beauty of what you already have. And you have so much!  When I say this, I mean, stop worrying. Worrying is futile, and you do it often. It is so much easier to focus on the bad, and potential tragic events that could happen. Remember, we are biologically designed to think this way. It is evolution working to keep the human race alive. But, this doesn’t mean that bad things are always going to happen. Sure, they will. That’s life. But remember that you really can’t change this fact, and you ruin your chances at happiness if you engage too much with this type of negative thinking. Look around you. Focus on the beautiful details of nature, the wonderful friends and family that you have, let the moments that you are laughing or loving consume you.

Find your authentic nature and let your creative side run wild. Never stop looking for inspiration, and exercise your talents. Life isn’t a race, and you do not have to be the best at everything. If you can find pleasure in your work, you will create good work. The only person you are competing against is yourself. Keep trying to improve!

Stop judging other people, and be kind always. Train yourself to feel genuine happiness when something good happens to a friend. Imagine the good things happening to you! How would you want your own friends to feel about your successes? When you start thinking this way, you genuinely become a happier person, and jealousy- that ugly emotion that you create through your own feelings of fear, falls away. It is one of the most important personal tasks to teach yourself to be truly happy for others, even when nothing is in it for you.  Remember there is enough goodness in the world for everyone. It is up to you alone, to access this positive and light way of thinking and project it into your world. You and everyone around you will benefit, trust me (because I am you;)

Don’t sweat the small stuff or focus on petty details. If something is bothering you ask yourself, “Will this even matter next year”? Forgive people. Even when it feels like the most difficult task in the world. Remember, you have also made mistakes and hurt others. None of us is perfect, and we are all woven from the same fabric.

Bruce Lee once said “I am not here to live up to your expectations, and you are not here to live up to mine”.

Try to remember this when you want people to change, or be a certain way. Everyone is just trying to be happy, and that doesn’t always mean that your stars will align with theirs. If you love someone, don’t be selfish about them. Teach yourself to want real happiness for everyone that you love!
But by all means, have a backbone, girl! Re-evaluate your standards often, and keep them true to your heart.

Don’t forget to let your family know how much you love them. You lucked out in that area!

Finally, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to love. Love with an open heart and vulnerability. You’ll be embarrassed sometimes, and rejected others. You will also have to go through the agony of hurting people that you care about. But all of this will make you stronger, and give you the knowledge and strength that you need when the stars finally do align. Don’t ever stop believing in the good, in the beauty of this fleeting life, and hold on to hope.

It’s going to be great, trust me!

32 year old Beth

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