We all have lessons we could have learned earlier. Stuff we wished we’d known before we learned the hard way. If I could go back… I’d tell myself these 5 things.

1. You are beautiful

Appreciate that now. As you age and grow, your body and your face may change – sometimes in ways you like, and sometimes in ways that will make you want to lay your head down and cry. If you don’t find the way to love yourself right now, in this moment, in this body, it might not get any better. So accept yourself as you are, and give yourself the unconditional love you deserve. This came to me painfully not too long ago, looking at a picture of myself where I was much smaller than I am today. It broke my heart to see that beautiful young woman in the picture and to know that she hadn’t felt very good about herself.

2. The relationship you have with yourself is going to be the most important one.

It will take work to cultivate that… just like in any relationship. You will have good times and you will have bad times, but how you treat yourself will determine the outcome of those times. If you don’t make yourself a priority, if you don’t care about your own self-worth… you will constantly find yourself surrounded by others who don’t. It will reinforce your own doubts about yourself and you will come to unfair conclusions about how and why you deserve to feel shitty because you think you are shitty and it will become an endless shit spiral. Learn to like you. Learn to respect you. Learn to love yourself and put your needs first. Next thing you know, you will find yourself surrounded by people who do and feel the same.

3. This too shall pass.

6 Things I Wish I’d Known About Life Before I Learned The Hard Way

Everything seems like such a big deal in the moment… especially the hard stuff. When your heart breaks. When your voice cracks in the middle of a speech (that actually never happened to me, but you know… that sort of thing!). When you call your kindergarten teacher ‘Mom’. Stuff you can laugh about now, that seemed like a nightmare while it was playing out in real time. Your feelings, which can callously consume and overwhelm you, will go as quickly as they come, leaving you stronger, braver and ready for the next moment.

4. Be happy right now.

You do not need to wait to meet a goal, or find a guy, or finish a project, or to generally accomplish something before you are allowed to be happy. As a matter of fact, if you cannot enjoy yourself on the way to these goals, you will likely find yourself gravely disappointed when you arrive at your goal destination if you still kinda feel the same way ya did yesterday. And yes, I get it if you are the type that needs to be reaching goals (I know I am!), just make sure one of them is to love yourself no matter what and another is to find the beauty in every day. It’s a great feeling to set goals and crush them, obviously enjoy that, but don’t make your happiness predicated upon achieving them. You are so much more than what you ‘do’.

5. You can’t be anything you want when you grow up

You just can’t. Make your life goals realistic and attainable… then find ways to work what you love into your life. Not everyone can make a career out of their passion… and even those that do sometimes find that their passion becomes work when it has to pay the bills.

by Tia Grace