Assistant Editor Anna Cooper gives advice to her younger self on self-love, relationships and the future…
To my younger self,
You won’t recognise the confident young woman you have now become. She isn’t fazed by other’s opinions and is now her complete effervescent self. No – you still don’t feel as comfortable as you could in your own skin, but you are working on that, attempting to get the correct balance of self-love. So right now, unfollow all of those Instagram models! They have the money and resources and the time to be spending big money on personal trainers and filters and editing and most likely don’t even drink those silly juices that look grim – so don’t feel inadequate that your abs don’t resemble theirs!
Embrace your own uniqueness; you are now so glad that your Mom never let you dye your hair from auburn to blonde because it’s what makes you different and what makes you, you. Also, stop straightening it, embrace your natural curls and natural face. Please do not waste any more energy looking at yourself in the mirror loathing yourself because what matters is your treatment towards others. You can have the looks of a model and the personality of a piece of lettuce – ask yourself younger self, what would you rather have?
You will soon realise your Mom is actually right. She does really know what she’s talking about – listen to her! She will become your best friend and one of your biggest fans. Appreciate also your time with family as they will not be around forever. Turn your phone off or leave it upstairs and actually realise spending time with your family is pretty nice.
You will soon discover that from the ages of 16-22 people are temporary. I mean that in terms of friendships and relationships. No one throughout those years is worth losing a substantial amount of sleep or weight over. Trust yourself and trust your gut when it comes to relationship – your gut is never wrong! Make sure, my younger self that you are open about your anxieties and fears and do not be scared to express an opinion. Yes, you’re right, your opinion may not be liked or shared by others, but at least you have an opinion and people will respect you a lot more for it. Prioritise those who prioritise you. Stop running around like a headless chicken, trying to make sure everyone is happy and still your friend because once your effort goes do you think they will try just as hard as you did? If they do not reciprocate your time and effort spent on them, do not waste any more time.
Work hard. My younger self you are now so fiercely independent that you hate asking anyone for help with anything, so work hard at your studies and also yourself. Sometimes it is ok to put your pride aside to say you are struggling mentally and academically, you cannot do it all yourself and you cannot be a perfectionist the whole time. Work on yourself to try and better yourself. This can be academically, employability wise and especially mentally. You can have all the money in the world but still be unhappy, younger self.
So, this advice is for you but it still applies to older me. Focus on yourself but be kind, the way you treat others speaks volumes. Make a better version of yourself and make yourself happy.
Featured image by: Omeiza Haruna