What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?

This post is on WATRD, but I’m running it as a cross-post here as well.

Inspired by the post by Kim at Adventures in Wanting last week, I wanted to further explore a topic she proposed that I found very interesting.

She essentially asked – knowing what you know now, if you could go back in time and talk to the young version of yourself, what would you say?

That really got me thinking.

The first thing I would tell myself is to look outside of my house for a good role model. It could have been a friend’s mom who I particularly liked and respected, a neighbor, a favorite aunt or older cousin. It would be someone who I could really talk with, someone who wouldn’t judge me and would give me good guidance. I think would have been key as I was growing up.

Closeness was not fostered in my house. I was a latch-key kid from a young age and my parents were just not emotionally available. I grew up quite independently, took myself to get birth control pills when I started having sex, things of that nature. It would have been really great to have another woman in my life who I could have gone to share my confidences, feelings, fears with etc.

I don’t know if a young me would have admitted to this role model that my mother hid junk food from me or that my father teased me about the size of my rear end, but hopefully this person would have helped me with my self-confidence, told me how beautiful I was no matter what size that I was, and that the health of my body was more important than how it looked. She hopefully would have told me to love myself, believe in myself and that I could do anything I set my mind to. She would have told me to set goals and dream big. These were not things that I heard from my parents.

I would also tell my younger self to stand up for herself. That when her dad makes comments about her rear end to stand up to him, tell him to stop and to mean it. To tell him he is hurting her instead of helping her, even if in his mind he thinks he is just doing some good-natured “teasing.”

I can’t say for sure whether or not if I in fact had a good role model and was able to stand up to my father that I would not have been, and grown up, a compulsive overeater/binger, but I would like to think it would have definitely helped.

What would you tell the younger version of yourself if you had the chance?

One Day at a Time... Nurture myself... Awareness... Letting Go... Listen to my Body

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Comments

28 Responses, Leave a Reply
  1. Jody - Fit ta 52
    19 March 2010, 6:10 pm

    Such an interesting question. I saw this somewhere else too.

    I would tell myself to like/love myself no matter what. Unfortunately, I grew up with a lot of negative self talk & then being overweight did not help. It is a life long battle for me in that regard. The exercise & eat good stuff is a lot easier for me that that.
    .-= Jody – Fit ta 52´s last blog ..Healthy Breakfast Cookie =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    unfortunately we all face one battle or another, huh? one would never look at you and think you didn’t feel awesome about yourself.

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  2. Jess
    19 March 2010, 7:02 pm

    Oh, gosh.

    That’s really hard. It depends on when I would have gotten to go. I didn’t have any female role models to focus on who were stable, so that wouldn’t be helpful. So how far back, then? Well, I remember being confused and broken at 12, when boys became part of my life and I had started thinking I’d rather be dead than suffer.

    First thing? I would tell myself about OA, that it really was the only thing that worked. I was open to go to AA when I was in college, but it wasn’t what I needed. I needed OA and I probably could have embraced it. Though . . . in looking at how OA was back in 1987, I’m not sure it would have worked too well. I might have rebelled against the Grey Sheet. But I would make sure that Overeaters Anonymous were two words I knew–for when I needed them. Had I known about OA in college, I would have gone.

    Second, I would tell myself that the boy I had a crush on in High School was going to get seriously ill in senior year. I would tell myself that if I was ever going to profess my affection, to do it then, because he was open to it.

    Third, I would tell myself, “Jews convert people.” This would have meaning to me when I was 16 and wanted to become Jewish. I would tell myself to befriend the guy in my class who no one liked, either, because he could probably help my on my spiritual path.

    Fourth, I would tell myself to wait to have sex until after marriage, like I always hoped to (but got no support about from my family). Not for God or my family, but for me. I did not gain anything except a desire to eat and self-loathing when I finally decided to become sexual.

    Last, I would tell myself to get an apartment and complete my first two years of city college so I could finish growing up around my mother’s parents and keep close to my friends. After that, I could work to transfer out of Junior College to finish my last two years of college at a 4-year away from home. I wasn’t ready to leave home at 17 to go to college.

    The problem is that it would completely end me as I am. It took decades to make me who I am–especially the lessons of the bad. I guess the only thing I really would say, then, is, “Believe it will eventually be okay, because it will. I promise.”

    And I’d give myself my 24-hour chip, just because I can’t leave well enough alone.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    good stuff, jess! and you are right, the experiences we had, good or bad, made us who we are today.

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  3. POD
    19 March 2010, 7:32 pm

    Wow, are you my sister? Actually my dad didn’t say mean things about my butt. But my real sister and I were talking the other day about taking the time to listen instead of finding solutions when a family member wants to talk. And when we were younger, how many times the solution was “here, have a cookie!” instead of someone taking the time to listen.
    .-= POD´s last blog ..More Recipes for Disaster =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    lol! yes, listening is a really great skill, janell, because sometimes we all just need to vent and not have our problem solved. and yes, being offered an ear would have been much better than being offered a cookie. that is what so many of us do now, instead of digging into the real problem, we soothe ourselves with food.

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  4. Lisa
    19 March 2010, 7:37 pm

    Oh my…I would’ve told myself that I wasn’t fat, enjoy your healthy body, don’t listen to the food police in the house, and speak up. Your family has food issues…don’t let their weight chatter poison you.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    yes!!!! and that any food issues are theirs, not yours!

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  5. Missa
    20 March 2010, 7:30 am

    I think I would have told my younger me to pay more attention to the people around me. I think I saw some of the people in my life through rose-colored glasses, and I missed the gems and coveted some real turds. Such is life! I too was a latch-key kid, but I found ways to make the good people in my life reall stand out. I have learned that family is not always by blood. That is just genetics and petry dishes.

    Cheers,
    Missa
    LosingEthel
    .-= Missa´s last blog ..Off-Kilter =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    interesting observation about viewing the people in your life, missa, how you can in hindsight see that. good for you for realizing at a young age to make the good people stand out, even if they weren’t family. cheers right back at ya for that!

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  6. Bobbie @Anonymous Fat Girl
    20 March 2010, 7:57 am

    Great post. I think I would tell my younger self that drowning my emotions in food is not the answer. It’s okay to hug other people and feel emotions. It’s OKAY to cry. It doesn’t make you a loser or a weakling. Stop looking for love in all the wrong places. Poor eating habits WILL catch up with you and your body sooner or later. And lastly, your dad’s love is not something you have to have. There are just some people that you cannot change or make them love you NO MATTER WHAT you do. And that’s okay.
    .-= Bobbie @Anonymous Fat Girl´s last blog ..D.C. trip in a few weeks + childhood obesity & Mrs. Obama’s efforts =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    all great advice, bobbie, for all of us!

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  7. Ameena
    20 March 2010, 12:44 pm

    This is such a great post…I loved it when Kim asked the same question. I would tell myself to stop living in my sister’s shadow and become my own person…and I’d tell myself to stop losing myself in other people’s lives (books, TV) and live my own life.
    .-= Ameena´s last blog ..Random Concoctions =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    those are some great lessons you learned, ameena. from reading your blog, i can’t imagine you being in anyone’s shadow though.

    [Reply]

    Ameena Reply:

    You have no idea!! I basically lived in my sister’s shadow until I was 23 or 24. Hence my lack of self-confidence.
    .-= Ameena´s last blog ..Rolling with it =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    well, clearly you have come out of her shadow and blossomed. =)

  8. Alicia
    21 March 2010, 8:36 am

    a few things:
    -achieving thinness will NOT make you happier. finding overall health will.
    -you can be a runner. get off the elliptical already.
    -stop being so damn nice to everyone. it’s okay to be a b*tch when needed.
    -you have to learn to say “no” every once in awhile.
    -you have to believe in yourself as you truly are amazing. don’t let life’s setbacks bring you down.
    -stay away from the tequila on your 21st birthday.
    .-= Alicia´s last blog ..affording to eat healthy =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    loved those, alicia! i think we can all say to ourselves today too (except for the tequila one! =))

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  9. Holly
    21 March 2010, 2:18 pm

    Wow…I would tell my younger self SO much – she would totally roll her eyes at me! LOL

    Above all, I would tell my younger self to seek out people who love me for me. For so long, I had people in my life because they were “fun.” And you know what? They made me feel SO bad about myself. We’ve lost touch or I cut ties with them, and I can’t TELL you how much better I feel about myself. It’s truly amazing how much better we can feel when we surround ourselves with positive people who love us for who we are. 🙂

    Great question!
    .-= Holly´s last blog ..Heart Rate Monitor Advice =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    that is great advice, holly, i’m sorry you had to learn it in what seems to have been a hard way. kudos to you for realizing what these people were doing to you and strong enough to cut the ties.

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  10. Shelby
    21 March 2010, 2:52 pm

    Cool cool topic. Well, you know the month I’ve had… So I’ve learned some things. I wish I could go back and tell the teenage me:

    You’re stronger than you imagine.

    You have more courage than you think.

    Give your heart fully; don’t ever hold back.

    You are WORTH loving.

    Again, cool cool topic — and thanks for your love and support and prayers these last weeks.
    .-= Shelby´s last blog ..Getting Back To Fitness =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    welcome back, shelby! once again, SO sorry for your terrible loss. I thing through your tragedy you gleaned these sage words of advice for not only for your young self, but for the rest of us to here.

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  11. Biz
    22 March 2010, 2:53 pm

    Your home is supposed to be your haven, and so sad when you don’t get that nutured feeling from a young age.

    I wish I would have continued with college even after they dropped the sport I was in – or that I could have had a career in the food industry, whether it be a food magazine, etc.

    And I meant to stop by yesterday – happy belated birthday!!!!

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks, biz! i didn’t feel like my childhood was unhappy, i guess cuz i ate all that food to make me happy.

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  12. Dr. J
    22 March 2010, 4:24 pm

    In his book, Bridge Across Forever, Richard Bach writes about meeting several future selves and the things he learns about the choices he faces with their future outcomes. I sometimes meet people who I feel I could be if I make the better choice.
    .-= Dr. J´s last blog ..Okay Snack Foods =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    sounds like a very interesting book, dr. j! it’s great that you still apply that principle today.
    thanks for stopping by!

    [Reply]

  13. Diane
    28 March 2010, 9:21 am

    I love this post – the first thing I would tell myself is to be yourself and NOT listen to an incredibly critical mother. There was nothing about me she didn’t think needed to change. I was never able to please her and I wish I would have realized that earlier. I would have said you are thin actually and perfect just as you are. I would tell myself to quit being a majorette if they were going to weigh me and expect my weight to be 132 when I was 5 feet 9 – my WW ideal weight is 34 pounds more than that! I look back at pictures all through the years where I am thin and I thought I was fat. What a huge waste of time all this obsession with the scale was. Also – the whole being good, being bad as relating to food – what a crock – food is food – some works better nutritionally for us, makes us feel better than others but we are not BAD if we have a peice a cake at a birthday party! I guess this post hit a nerve with many of us = it certainly did with me.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    i’m glad the post resonated with you and you were able to get a good vent out! i bet that felt great, although i’m sorry for what you went through.

    [Reply]

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