Life Lessons for My Younger Self

by Tess


Abubakar Jamil, has invited me to write about “Life Lessons” or what I wish I knew when I was younger. Because we can only do better when we know better, I have no regrets. I see my life as a continuous adventure in learning how to be a more loving person. That’s all that really matters.


1. It’s OK to put yourself first.

I wish I knew I was the most important person in my world. I wish I knew I was deserving of love. My friends were shame and guilt. Today I know that I can only love others as much as I love myself. Guilt and shame are a waste of energy. Today I believe, I am enough, I do enough, and I have enough.

"I am a powerful loving person and I count. I have a Divine legacy. I choose to acknowledge my value."

2. Not fitting in is a good thing.

Growing up it was painful being different but it made me stronger. Today I wouldn’t have it any other way. I didn't have the same beliefs as my family-of-orign. I questioned everything. Today I appreciate my unique self.

"I am living the life I was destined for. I fearlessly walk through life daring to go against the crowd."

3. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Growing up with six beautiful sisters it was difficult not to compare my short curvy body to their lean and tall bodies and my scraggly thin and fine hair to their long and lush locks. Their hand-me-downs were ill fitting and gave me an unkempt look. My self-image suffered! 

"Devaluing myself creates a nagging discontent about what's wrong with me and my life. I choose to acknowledge my value."  



4. People who hurt others are hurting.

I didn’t know when I was young that bullies weren’t as tough as they seemed to be. Put downs were about others and had nothing to do with me. Today I internalize love nothing else matters. I believe today my safety lies in my defenselessness.

It's easy to fall into who is right and who is wrong. It's easy to get sucked into the political arena. I remind myself we are all one. If I'm unhappy with someone who is running for office, I am unhappy with myself.

"We are all one. It impossible to reject people unless you believe a story about them."

5. I have ADHD. 

My impulsivity and hyperactivity were out of control. I was misunderstood and troubled through no fault of my own. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get my act together. I’ll never forget my first therapist who said, “This isn’t your fault!” I sobbed! Some people are against medication. I am one who is not, and am not afraid to say so.

"What is right for me may be wrong for you. What is wrong for you may be right for me. Nothing is more important than I feel good." 

Personal Data.

6. I am capable.

I never thought I was smart enough. Living on the farm work was our No. 1 priority, studies came second. Unfortunately the work was never finished and my grades suffered. 

In my early twenties a friend advised me to attend college. It took 9 years to get my undergraduate degree while raising four daughters. While they were in high school I attained my Masters Degree in counseling psychology.

"I know what I want, I know what is available. I'm excited about the bright future I'm creating for myself."

7. It’s a wonderful world.

My father was very fearful man. If I had ten children and two full time jobs I’m sure I would’ve been as well! I grew up in the shadow of his fear. For years I was also afraid. Then I learned a better way. Now I know fear is a choice or better yet an illusion.

"I feel a peculiar sense of excitement, appreciation…mixed strangely with excitement and peace as if something amazing is about to happen."

8. I am wise.

As a result of my troubled childhood I gained strength, insight and wisdom. When I was in my late 30’s family and friends sought my advice. They openly shared what a beautiful and wise person I’d become. They encouraged me to write my stories and wisdom down. My book, “Flying by the Seat of My Soul” is the result of that advice.

"I have a Divine assignment. Others need what I have. I am unlimited, vibrant, empowered and creative."  

9. I am a "good enough" parent. As a young parent I made many mistakes. However, we began seeing a therapist in our late twenties. We hired a child sitter, drove forty-five minutes to his office, and $50 per hour, out of pocket. My faimily is my passion.

We took parenting classes when the girls were young and again when they were teens. I can look back and say we did our best. We are imperfectly perfect.

"Like my parents I don't owe my children perfection, only good enough."
10. I wish I knew I’d live happily ever after.

I met hubs when I was nearly sixteen years old. We married when I was pregnant and seventeen. We were the parents of four little girls when I was twenty-two. January 14th, 2011 will be our thirty-ninth wedding anniversary. One may think I’d regret getting pregnant. I think it was the best thing that ever happened to me! My oldest daughter would agree. 

hair raising experience

"I create an inner haven of safety and peace in all of my relationships. The quality and energy of my relationships is up to me, determined by the ways that I love and respect myself."

Creative Commons License photo credit: Patrick Hoesly
Creative Commons License photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography
Creative Commons License photo credit: highwaycharlie
Creative Commons License photo credit: Xhanatos

Is there something you wished you knew when you were younger?

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    { 53 comments… read them below or add one }

    Truong August 21, 2010 at 6:20 am

    thank you for share!!!


    Betsy @ August 21, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Hi Tess,
    I really have enjoyed reading through your site today. I love your life lessons to your younger self. I’m always thinking about that. Your interview was also insightful and I, too, love the authors you recommended in the post that follows. I will continue to browse through now. I found you through Straight up Living.


    Sashia August 24, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    1. I wish I’d known you!


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