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  • Writer's pictureMaria Vandenburg

Advice to my Younger Self

I have been a doing a sh*t ton of reflection recently. I think I would be a bit remiss if I didnt take a second to pause and share some things that I would have told my 16-year-old Self.

But first, some advice (as you will) from the folks around here.

Items I have learned today:

Bants: Banter, sarcasm, being amusing, telling a good joke (there are a million different ways to say Bants/Banter)

Fob you Off: Blow you off

Crown Jewel/Royal Treasure: You are awesome, said as a term of endearment or appreciation "you royal treasure, you!"

The MBA girls and I. Pretty accurate description of each one of us

So in no particular order, if I were able to sit down with the 16-year-old version of me, here is what I would I say:

1. Having emotions (and strong ones at that) is completely OK. You aren't always going to feel happy and positive. Sometimes you are going to feel sad, and scared and pissed and overwhelmed. That's natural. And it's perfectly OK.

2. Don't try and bottle those emotions up/shut them off/repress them. They will always surface and the sooner you recognize and work through them, the better. Get them out. Write about them, go for a long walk, put on some music, whatever. But get them out. See WHY you are feeling the way that you are feeling and what you can potentially learn from it.

3. Stop beating yourself up. Stop judging yourself. You are way too hard on yourself. You know the saying that we are all our own worse critique. That's especially true for you. So stop it!

4. Have love and compassion for exactly where you are right now. Right in this moment. Right now. This very breathe that you are taking. If you feel great, than awesome, celebrate that. If you don't feel great. That's OK as well. What's important is that you have love and compassion for yourself with whatever you are feeling presently.

Falling in love with the 3-Year-Old Me
3 year-old me greeting myself in the Mirror

5. Don't take things so personally (this one and the next one come from the 4 agreements by Don Miguel Luis). We all live in our own minds, our own planets if you will. Our perceptions of pretty much everything vary depending on the headspace that we are in. We all operate from our own constructs of reality. So stop taking things so personally. 99% of the time what you are taking personally actually has nothing to do with you (I know that might be hard to hear young Maria, but you aren't the center of the universe).

6. Stop Making Assumptions. I am taking a class from the Center for Spiritual Living back at home. And Kathianne Lewis, D.D.S. is the teacher. She's phenomenal and I love her. But what she had to say here really struck a chord. As human's we have a tendancy to "make stuff up" It's human nature to attribute meanings to things. We shouldn't judge ourselves for this (see item number 3), but what we should be aware of is the stories that we are telling ourselves.

7. Know that you are loved and supported in ways that you will probably never be able to fully understand. I know that sometimes it's hard to see and feel, especially when you are down and feeling alone. But you are so loved, so adored, so guided and looked after. You are never alone.

8. This came from the Intention Inspired - 30 Days of Love series. You are only one thought away from a brighter future. Just one thought! Forget about the past, forget about your worries for the future. Just be here, right now. Wherever you are at. And know that you're loved, you've got this and I love you.

That's what I would say. And then I would give myself a big huge hug.

What would you guys say to your younger-self if you could? What advice would you give?

Hope all is well out there.



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