“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” ~Dale Carnegie
Someone sent me this old pic of me taken back when I was 18. Take a look – hilarious right? Yeah, I was a band geek. I’m totally okay with it. What you don’t see in that photo is that I marched percussion that year in marching band. But I digress.
When I first looked at the pic and into my own face, I almost didn’t recognize myself. On so many levels, I’m a completely different person. Since that photo was taken, I’ve been through a lot of years and a lot of life.
Here I am with my youngest two kids the other day, just for a bit of perspective on the years. 🙂
Anyhoo, as I looked into my own clueless 18-year-old face and saw all of this, I thought to myself, gosh, the things I would tell you if I could… and the ways they would totally change your life!”
And so, this post was born. So what would I say to myself if I could?
I like to joke that I’d have been dangerous if I had known “what I know now” when I was 18. And every now and then, someone asks me exactly what I mean by that.
What I mean is, and I’m only halfway joking, that if I understood the things I do today about people, life and beauty at the age of 18, I might have been too powerful for my own good.
SO what does THAT mean? Well, let me break it down for you. If given the opportunity, here are 10 things I wish I could go back and tell my 18 – year-old self that could have helped me get where I wanted to be much, much faster.
1. You’re already enough. Stop caring what anyone else thinks and just be yourself already. Turns out? You’re pretty cool. And you’re a LOT better looking than you think – a lot of what makes people look hot is illusion. You’ll become a master of it one day.
2. Here’s how to stop the tummy aches. You’ll never believe me now, but one day you’ll understand that getting so scared that you get sick to your stomach is actually part of what’s causing all of your problems. See, when you let yourself get so focused on negative thoughts that you can’t see the good stuff, something called the Law of Attraction causes more of the negative stuff to be pulled toward you like a magnet. This is not hocus pocus. It’s legitimate and as you grow older, you’ll see it for yourself. Learning this now can change your life significantly.
3. Your dream is real. It WILL happen, so don’t give up. You will become a successful writer. Someday you’ll have many, many books published. And you’ll make your living from your writing.
4. You are destined for the beautiful life. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise and don’t believe anyone who tells you to lower your expectations and that you don’t deserve to have the very best in your life. It is the belief that you can’t have something that ensures it – don’t forget that.
5. There is nothing wrong with you. It’s okay to be pretty and girly and smart and strong all at the same time. You can even love glitter, shiny and sparkly and watch sitcoms and STILL be awesome. Yup. So stop trying to pretend you’re anything you’re not. You, specifically, have a huge amount of creative power and if you learn this now and stop doubting yourself, you cannot lose. Whatever you are is okay as long as you are staying safe, healthy and legal. Embrace yourself and trust your instincts. They are spot on.
6. Big boobs aren’t as awesome when you get older. TRUST ME! Someday you’ll appreciate the fact that you never got out of a B cup. I PROMISE. Also, random comforting fact about the future: the size of the breast does not in any way affect the quantity of milk you’ll produce for your babies one day. But less bulk makes for easier nursing for all involved. Get yourself some padded bras and move on. You’re welcome.
7. Let that bright light shine and stop trying to cover it up with what you THINK is desirable or expected. Being dark and disturbed is not required to be a successful writer or artist. It’s also soooooo much less attractive than you realize. Stop it and admit you love pink already. It looks really good on you. And baggy grunge clothes don’t look good on anyone – especially you.
8. Give yourself a big hug and apologize for all the mean things you think about yourself – then stop doing that. And speaking of which, stop calling yourself fat. You’re not fat. But you will be if you keep focusing on that. Instead focus on feeling good in your body and moving your ass. When you’re talking to yourself, don’t say anything that you wouldn’t tell your best friend about herself. Yes, it definitely does matter.
9. Crazy ain’t sexy, and you ain’t crazy. You aren’t bipolar or obsessive compulsive or anything else. You just don’t fully understand the world and the people who live in it yet because you’re just getting started. But tell your mom to have you checked for ADD. Yes, girls can have it. And you do – learning this at 18 could change everything.
10. Hold on, your time is coming. You are a whole and worthy person with valuable and important things to do in the world. Stop doubting your ideas and your abilities and embrace the truth of who you are. Life will get so much better.
Okay, now it’s your turn. What would YOU say to your 18-year-old self if you could? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below, or hit me up on Facebook!
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.