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5 Things I Would Tell My Younger Self

Vivian Bricker

Contributing Writer
Published: Jun 06, 2022
5 Things I Would Tell My Younger Self

It’s normal to be scared at times, but you have to be brave. Life is full of scary situations, but you can’t let yourself be bound by the chains of fear or you will never truly live. 

“How did I go from growing up to breaking down?” (Taylor Swift, “Nothing New"). 

Growing up is a tough time for anyone. It is when we are growing up that we become more vulnerable to the world’s messages to us. Thankfully, as we get older, we are better able to understand situations in ways we couldn't in our younger years. 

Maybe you have some things you would tell your younger self. I encourage you to write out a list of what you would say to the child version of you, or you could write a letter addressed to who you were at 5, even 15. 

In the meantime, here are five things I would tell my younger self: 

1. Seek God

The first thing I would tell my younger self is to seek out God. I didn’t know God personally growing up. I knew of Him, but I didn’t know Him as a friend. I would often hear my Mom talk about “God,” but I imagined Him as more of an angry, full-of-wrath, hateful God who would punish me if I did something wrong. Even as a teenager, I couldn’t grasp the idea that God loved me as I was never told that He truly cared for me. 

I didn’t hear the Gospel and fully understand it until I was in my first year at Bible college. Therefore, throughout my entire childhood and teen years, I didn’t have a relationship with God. Growing up without knowing the true God is extremely difficult; it makes you question your worth and your purpose in life. 

Now, as an adult, I still tell myself to seek out God by reading the Bible, praying, and connecting with other believers. 

Thus, I would definitely tell my younger self to seek out God and find Him through the Gospel, not by means of my assumptions. 

2. You Are Enough—You Are Wanted

A second thing I would tell my younger self is that you are enough and you are wanted. Growing up, I never felt wanted or good enough. Particularly in sixth grade, I was bullied and felt like everyone hated me. Even when I became homeschool, just interacting with my family, these feelings stayed with me. I never felt like anyone cared about me or wanted me. I felt like I was more of the “extra” child in, as though I didn't belong. As with most parents, they get busy, so they don’t have 24/7 to pour into their children, and as the youngest, I often felt like I was living in my sister’s shadows. 

I was never smart enough, strong enough, or good enough. Anytime I did something, my sisters could always do it better. If you know me, you know I’m not musically inclined. I’ve always wanted to be, but I have not been blessed with that gift. One of my sisters is absolutely brilliant on the piano. I remember during homeschool, we both had to play a song on the piano. My sister absolutely nailed it, but my performance wasn’t nearly as good as hers. My piano playing sounded more like a note here and there. The song didn’t flow as my sister’s did. This event really made me feel bad because my Mom gave my sister applause and she was so proud of her, but as for me, my Mom gave me a look of disappointment that cut me to the core. It wasn't just the piano, but also artwork, drawing, painting, crafts, writing, etc. I just never could perform as well as my siblings as hard as I tried. 

Since I equated worth with accomplishments, I felt like I was useless, unworthy, and unwanted. Now, in hindsight, I understand my weaknesses, and despite my weaknesses, I am still wanted by the Savior of the world, who died in order for me to have eternal life with Him (John 3:16). 

3. Don’t Change for Other People

A third thing I would tell my younger self is to not change for other people. Not so much in elementary school, but in sixth grade, I felt like I had to change for other people, and that extended into my college years. I felt I had to be a certain way in order for others to like me. In other words, I had to be like another person in order for them to want to be my friend, such as dressing like them, looking the same way as them, and acting the same way they did. 

It's exhausting constantly changing for other people. You tend to lose yourself in the process. I remember in middle school, my sister and I didn’t fit in at all. I was in sixth grade and she was in seventh grade. We were the epitome of dressing like outcasts. Anything related to Paramore, Fall Out Boy, or Panic! At The Disco, we owned it. The middle school we went to was radically different. It was a preppy school out in the suburbs where everyone wore Hollister, Abercrombie, and Aeropostale clothes. Long story short, we didn’t fit in at all. My Mom really wanted us to fit in, so she bought second-hand Hollister, Abercrombie, and Aeropostale shirts because we couldn’t afford the name brands. 

Even though my sister and I reluctantly wore the shirts, we still weren’t accepted by our peers. You see, the problem wasn’t us—it was them. Nobody should have to change themselves to fit in with others. A friend wants to be your friend because they like you as you are. True friends wouldn’t want you to dress, act, or be a certain way in order for them to be your friend. You don’t have to change for other people, either. God made you uniquely, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of that. 

4. Enjoy the Ordinary 

A fourth thing I would tell my younger self is to enjoy the ordinary. As a teenager, I had a horrible habit of rushing around and never stopping to enjoy the ordinary. I was too wrapped up with school, deadlines, and work that I never stopped to take time for the beauty of it all. Ordinary days can seem mundane to us as kids and teenagers, but as we become adults, we tend to miss those ordinary days: laughing with Mom, catching lightning bugs with the dog, or staying inside with the family as a thunderstorm passes. In all these ordinary things, there is beauty, if you look for it. 

Now, as an adult, I tend to miss the ordinary days of my childhood and teenage years because they can't be repeated. The ordinary days of laughing with Mom can no longer happen because she passed away years ago. The ordinary days of catching lightning bugs with my dog are gone now because like Mom, she too passed years ago. The ordinary days of staying inside with my family as a thunderstorm passes can't be replayed either because ever since Mom passed, our family hasn't been close. Instead, we keep our distance and don’t spend as much time together. 

Therefore, I would tell my younger self to enjoy the ordinary because even the ordinary will not last forever, and there are great memories to behold in the ordinary.

5. Don’t Be Afraid

A fifth thing I would tell my younger self is to not be afraid. As a teenager, I was quite skittish. I blame it on the intense social anxiety I developed throughout my teen years. In addition to being afraid of social situations, I was afraid of life in general. I didn’t know my place in the world. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Honestly, I never even thought I would make it past my teens. I think as teenagers, we often think in this way. We only think of the here and now and not of the future because the future is scary. 

Nobody can know the future except for God Himself. Being brave is hard, but it’s something we all have to do throughout our lives, no matter how young or old we are. Constantly being bound by fear is no way to live. Fear has robbed me of so many adventures over the course of my years. I would tell my younger self to not be afraid. It’s normal to be scared at times, but you have to be brave. Life is full of scary situations, but you can’t let yourself be bound by the chains of fear or you will never truly live. I believe telling our younger selves to not be afraid would help us immensely in the long struggle that we call growing up. 

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/myshkovsky

Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.