Letters to Your Younger Self
This is an ongoing project that YOU are able to take part in!
Ever wonder what it would be like if you could go back and talk to a younger version of yourself? What advice would you give? Would you warn them about things to come? Or would you just give them a hug? This page is dedicated to people who have written letters to their younger selves. This process is incredibly healing and by sharing them, I hope they are healing to you as well. If you’d like to take part in this project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
How old are you now? 29
If you could give this letter to your younger self, how old would you be? 12
Well, buddy, I am not sure where to start. A lot happens in the next 17 years – some good and some bad – but the ultimate tip is that everything will always be okay. No matter what happens, how you feel, and the adversity you face, you always make it. In fact, when you are faced with hard times you will always blossom through them!
I guess the first thing to talk about is your struggle with acne. This stuff hits you hard! It starts off quite innocent, just as it does for everyone else, but then you get a bad dose of it. For some time this will control a large part of your life. And understandably so: you are a young, developing human, so to have such painful things happen to your skin during this time of growth impacts you greatly. You will start to grow your hair long just so people cannot see you. You will wear collared shirts and button them way up in order to hide yourself. Your biggest regret of it all will be that you let your acne decide that you will not play sports because you are scared that people will see your skin.
Despite all of this, your true nature and character will always shine through. You are too energetic and too happy to let this hold you back forever. In fact, you will figure this all out on your own. There will be a key moment. A moment when you are about 15 and you will be sitting on the bathroom floor at home. You will be in a ball crying because you are tired of this struggle, you are tired of being embarrassed and ashamed, and you will be tired of hiding yourself. However, in that moment, something magical will happen. You will look deep inside of yourself and come to terms with your situation. You will literally say “Grant, this is going to be a part of you for a long time, if not forever. You have developed significant scars on your body. So, you have to decide: do you want to let these scars define the rest of your life? Or, do you want to be in control and decide how you live? This is your choice and you have to make it right now.”
Luckily, you choose to take control!
It is a long process, but from that moment on you will begin to break free and begin to accept yourself as you are: flaws and all. In fact, I think a part of the reason why you had this happen to you was in order to settle you down a bit. We both know that you are full of energy and excitement, so a “humbling” experience might have been necessary. And when things don’t exactly happen the way we hope (nobody hopes for a bunch of acne scars!) I have adopted the saying “Well, I probably would have died it if happened any other way”, haha!
Through years of exploring and contemplating this, I believe that the reason for the severity of your acne was because of the unexpressed pain you’ve carried over the years. Even though you are very young, you will hold onto a lot of heavy, emotional burdens because you will feel like you have nobody to go to. However, you can only hold onto so much before this emotional pain has to be released in some way.
This is a lesson that takes a while to learn, and we are still learning to this day.
You will always see the bigger picture, you will always know that things will work out – even during the hardest of times – but you must learn to express how you feel when you feel it. Sometimes your ability to see “the bigger picture” will be so strong that you will actually disconnect with how you are feeling in that moment. This will cause you to bottle up a lot of unexpressed emotions because you think “Everything will be okay!” This emotional energy will try to come out in any way it can. This pain expressed itself through your acne and the pain also comes up when you’ve had too much to drink. What happens is that your barriers will come down and the emotional build up, that you had no idea was even there, will come storming out. These outbursts of emotion will never hurt anyone physically, but it will be overwhelming for you. However, over time you will realize how to express your feelings in the moment and you will never feel the need to bottle things up again.
Hands down, the biggest thing you’ve bottled up, is your feelings towards your father. Despite his undeniable love for you and all of the great times, there is no doubt that the suffering he carried in his life had a big impact on you. So much so that at times you will feel like you are in the parent role and he is the child. Dad will use alcohol to hide from his burdens. But just like your bottled up pain had to be expressed, his had to be expressed as well, but unfortunately he never found a way. This will often involve him drinking to the point of passing out so he does not have to deal with his thoughts. He will never do anything to hurt anyone and his kind and loving nature will always be present, but watching him do this to himself will carry a heavy toll on you. Again, you will see the positive side of things, but the pain in seeing your own father struggle like this will be heavy.
You will feel a tremendous need to help him. You will constantly feel the need to reach out to him and find new ways to help him recover and overcome his demons. Every time you read a book or get inspired by anything, you will wonder “Could this help Dad?” However, despite all of your efforts, you will come up short. Dad will reach a point where he chooses to no longer be on this Earth. When you first find out, you will be alone in a tent in a city that you’ve never been in before. Your sister will tell you the news and you will have to walk around this unknown city for hours, all alone, waiting for someone to pick you up.
You will then have to make the drive back to Cape Breton, alone. It’s hard, the drive is really hard, but this is where you get to say goodbye to Dad as you realize you will never see him again. On this drive, you realize that Dad’s body will be taken to Halifax as you’re on your way to Cape Breton and that you will pass him somewhere along this drive. At some point you feel it, you feel him go by, near Antigonish. You look forward and see the clouds above Cape Breton – it’s been very rainy and foggy all day – but the clouds over Cape Breton seem extra dark. You realize you are driving into the darkness that was left behind — all of the pain and hurt that Dad could not face. But all of a sudden, you notice the sun in your rear-view mirror. The first time the sun was out all day. The most amazing sunset begins taking place. Bursts of colour break through the grey clouds and brighten the entire sky! It will be the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen. This is Dad saying goodbye. He left the clouds and pain behind and is finally heading to the light, in peace.
This will be a hard time for all of your family. Again, somehow (I don’t know how) you will see the bigger picture in all of this. The moment you see the sunset you know you have to talk. You will talk at his funeral and you will deliver an important message that has to be heard by everyone in attendance. It will be hard, but you will find the strength to do this because you know that the message is bigger than everything.
With that said, you will have to come back down and deal with your own emotions. You have to let go of the fact that you saw him walking down a path, and no matter how hard you tried, you could not get him off of it. This was truly not your responsibility; it was his choice and only he could have changed his life. You did everything you could.
Despite all of this, again I don’t know how, you will rise up from this. You will rededicate your life to helping others. You will see the fragility of life and the cost of not living the way you want to live, so this will actually inspire you to do exactly what you want to do in your life. There will be times when you will miss him and be frustrated because you wish you could express your love for him in person, but you will literally feel like you have an extra “love reserve” from all of the love that he gave you and you will spread this love to others.
If we step back a few years, a big part of your ability to cope will be your spiritual awakening. This happens when you are 17 years old. Before this you will think and feel like there is much more than what there appears, but you will fully embrace this when you are 17. You will begin to have thoughts and think in ways that will make you feel different than everyone. This will be hard at first because your hometown is so small and you won’t really have anyone to talk to about it. It will also cause you to distance yourself from your friends. However, once you go away to university you will realize that you are one of millions who think this way and you will find your place.
You will have a few “enlightening” experiences quite early on, but then you will stray from this path for a while. You will feel frustrated, and even mad at yourself, because you know there is much more because you’ve actually felt the “much more”; however, you come back from that enlightened experience in order to address all of the burdens you have carried. You take this enlightened information and begin delving into your darkest fears and deepest pains. This is heavy stuff, but you quickly realize how important it is. It is hard to face these things, but every time you do you literally free up more energy and power to be exactly who you are meant to be.
This becomes an oddly fun and liberating practice!
You can be very stubborn though. You’ve built up a lot of walls to protect yourself. You will fool yourself after every wall you break thinking “Ah! I got it this time!” But there are always more. Always. And your spirituality does serve as an important tool to use, but make sure you always give time to those around you. Your spirituality makes you better than nobody. Your deep perspectives make you better than nobody. Sometimes you will even use your spirituality to hide behind your pain. You will use it as another self-protection tool. Your spirituality connects you to something “bigger”, but there is nothing more important than the people around you. The people who love you. Let your family know you love them, as often as you can. You will start a little family of your own and they will remind you of this everyday.
It’s all a process though. Try not to be too hard on yourself through this journey. Take time to rest. Take time to let go. Take time to enjoy all of the little things. You do not need much to be happy. You will always make the best of what you got. You will always have the ability to make people smile. And at the end of the day, you and I both know we came here to face these things for a reason. Everything that happens is all here to make you stronger and more loving. It’s all here to make you who you are meant to be. So be humble, be graceful, be wrong; it’s all okay! When you feel like you’re giving up what you “know” is right, you’re actually letting go to allow for something better to come in.
Everything you go through will be the hardest and most rewarding thing you ever could have imagined. It will test you, big time, because it will resurface all of your hurt and the work you need to do. But it will be worth it all, it’s always worth it.
Well… I guess that’s it! There is nothing more to say other than good luck and have fun! I love you very much, buddy. <3 🙂