I love my job!
I love my job for a number of reasons but one is because I get to attend wonderfully inspiring events.
I had the pleasure of attending one such event last week.
The event I attended was the celebration of the launch of the book Dear Female Founder which is a compilation of letters written by 66 female founders whose businesses have made $1billion. The book and the event were curated by Blooming Founders which is a business social networking group, formed by the awe-inspiring Lu Li,that hosts events to encourage and promote female entrepreneurship.
During the launch we were given the opportunity to hear 4 of the 66 amazing women reading their letters. And 1 of the founders explained that when she wrote her letter she imagined it as if she was writing to a younger version of herself.
And it got me thinking, if I had the opportunity to meet my 16 year old self today. What would I want the me of then to know?
Generally, people who have only known me as an adult find this very surprising to hear but my younger self was not as confident or self assured as the me you may know today. In fact my 16 year old self (like many others of that age) was shy, riddled with self doubt and suffered from extremely poor self esteem which wasn’t greatly helped due to the cruelty of some of my peers at the time. Being a teenager isn’t easy and for me between the ages of 10 and 16 I can honestly say were probably the most challenging years of my life.
And the rest of this post dear reader (as you may have seen coming) is going to read like a letter to my 16 year old self.
This is a letter from the 28 year old you. I’m writing to you from the future as I know you have been going through a tough period for a number of years and there are some things that I would like for you to know.
The first thing I think that you should know is, although I know this thought haunts you constantly, it is by no means even a smidgen true that everybody hates you. While yes it’s true that not everybody will like you in your life this isn’t the cataclysmic downfall it may seem to be, to you now. You definitely won’t like everyone you meet and you don’t need to seek the fake approval of people who in the grand scheme of things really won’t mean anything to you or affect your life in any way. There are plenty of people who adore you and over the next 12 years you will meet so many wonderful individuals that for any who may dislike you for whatever reason, I promise you that you won’t notice and even when you do, you really won’t lose any sleep over it.
The next thing I want to tell you is that I know you are suffering as a result of those girls who have been mean to you, but in less than a year you will never have to deal with them again. Although this may not help you right now, one day you will realise that children can be extremely cruel. I don’t know exactly why this is but I have a few theories. As much as your world is changing and you may think that you’re all already your grown up selves, you’re really not and you have so much left to learn. The feelings of doubt and uncertainty that you feel, they feel it too, and while of course this is not an adequate excuse in any way, they do not know how to appropriately channel these feelings. Although they may seem like they have it together and are confident and appear to be well liked the very fact that they even feel the need to be mean to you or any one else is because they have insecurities that even they may not be able to articulate. Most of the mean girls are not being mean to you because they want to be. They are sheep and it is very possible that the way they are making you feel now, there is someone else that is making them feel that way too. You are strong and those dark thoughts you have that you can’t share with anyone will go away.
Another thing you should know is that your body is amazing. You are able to do all of these wonderful things with it. It allows you to move, to walk, to run, to dance, to sing, to play, to hide, to curl up, to stretch, to see, to read, to feel, to touch, to taste, to smell, and to hear the wonderful melodies all around you. And yet you talk of hating it. This saddens me, we all do it but if I could change one thing about you now it would be to appreciate your body. You are so healthy and have no restrictions and no matter how you feel your body may look please appreciate it for the great gift that it is despite your dissatisfaction with the aesthetic. I do not want to be a hypocrite and there will always be features of your body you would like to be different, no matter how old you are, however you will come to appreciate it for the magnificent thing it is and the amazing feats it allows you to complete. You will realise that your body is a thing of beauty. And while you shouldn’t seek the approval of others as your only source of validation, I promise you that you are an attractive being and you inspire lust in others with the body you have, not the body you think you should have. In a few years there will be women in the public eye who are lauded for their curvaceous figures and you will see them and realise that your body is very much like theirs.
You had a conversation with your Mom recently in which you were complaining about not having the things you wanted and she told you that “maybe you want it to much” The bad news is, although the things you want do change you will never stop wanting too much and this can sometimes lead to you feeling slightly discontented. However the good news is, when you do want something you make it happen. And while yes the things you want will never come to you as soon as you snap your fingers, the quality in you that makes you strive to be better and have more ultimately means that you and those around you have no doubt that you will get to where you want to be. And this may sound trite but if you didn’t want anything what would you aim for? If you were able to obtain every single little thing you wanted as soon as you wanted it, you would take no pleasure in having whatever it may be, as things gotten too easily do not have great value.
The final thing I want to tell you is that although I know you don’t feel like it right now you are truly blessed. You are currently on the precipice of the most exciting times of your life. Once you leave school attending Sixth Form and later University will really be the cornerstones of helping to shape you into who you’re going to become. And that is a confident, energetic, fun and passionate individual. You will meet and form friendships with some amazing people who each have qualities that you will admire and revere. You will finally feel as if the people you call friends truly get you and do not judge you (or anyone else) based on insignificant superficial standards that really do not account for a persons worth. You have a wonderful family that you love and cherish, and your life and you would not be the same without their many varied and entertaining idiosyncrasies. You live in one of the best cities in the world and between work and friends you have more fun than you are able to handle. While I’m sad to say you don’t become the next best singing sensation since Mariah Carey, I am very pleased to be able to tell you that after some trial and error you find a job that you completely love. And as I mentioned although of course there are still so many things you want from life (you’re not done wanting yet) you are still young and have so much left to do, see and experience and I have no doubt that you’ll do it all!
However the one overriding message I really want to convey to you is that life really does get better once you leave school!
The 28 year old you (Sharniya)
What would you say to your younger self if you could? Are there things you wish you’d known then that you know now? Although you probably won’t get the chance to say any of these things to your younger self (who knows someone could invent the flux capacitor after all) maybe you should go ahead and write that letter anyway…it may come in handy one day…
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