I've noticed that there are quite a few posts in the form of 'lessons to my former/past self' around the web and I always enjoy reading them. It seems like there are a thousand and one things that I wish I could tell my former self that would have made life just that bit easier and my worries seem just that bit less significant in the grand scheme of things. However today, while flicking through a diary from last year, I was struck by what my former self can teach my present self.
The diary entry that prompted this realisation was one in which I wrote about the topic of validation, something I feel I've always struggled with. I suppose it's human nature to seek approval from others, but when it gets obsessive, it can be harmful. This diary entry was the culmination of a few months of feeling like I constantly had to 'please' others, to 'prove' myself; to peers, to family, to friends and, as much as I hate to admit it, to men. I'm going to be honest here and say I have never been in a relationship before, and while this doesn't bother me for the most part, I do feel myself questioning what is 'wrong' with me on occasions. Am I not pretty enough? Interesting enough? Funny enough? What am I doing so horribly wrong? In the end though, these poisonous thoughts make me feel disappointed for ever doubting myself. Former me definitely knew what was up. It may read as being quite self-indulgent, but I admire the fierce belief that validation should not be the precondition for self-worth. I feel this is something of which I should remind myself each and every day.
I've slowly learnt to empower myself over the past year, to believe that there are no limits in what I can achieve. I may appear quiet and reserved, but I am also quietly fierce, determined and not about to let anything get in my way or bring me down.
Why then, in recent months, have I found myself seeking validation? Validation of my appearance, talents, aspirations, personality. I almost despise myself for indulging in this 'flaw'. But in fleeting moments of loneliness, it can be hard to like and love myself first, and easier to feel happy when someone validates me. I don't want to be this way. I want to love myself wholly and completely without question. I want to prove to myself that I am a woman who doesn't need permission, validation or the opinion of another man. My quest for greatness will be entirely my own and it will be all the more glorious.
I feel it does no good to write off the past completely. It wasn't all doom and gloom, and it was a period which saw we, as human beings, grow and learn every day, as we continue to do now. Through it, we are able to reflect on things which can help shape our current lives. I feel thankful that my former self wrote down moments of revelation as they continue to guide me today.
What lessons can your former self teach you?