26 Messages For My 6-Year-Old Self

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My birthday and the New Year are two of the most reflective times of year for me. As I had the former this week, I've been thinking a lot about where I am in my life, where I want to be, and how far I've comeOut of that came a list of messages I would love to go back and tell myself 20 years ago. Would I have fully understood these, or even been open to them, when I was six? Maybe, maybe not.The main purpose of this kind of journaling exercise is that it's an effective way of empathising and feeling compassion for our past selves, as well as reminding our present selves of the most important things we've learned about ourselves and the world around us so far.1. It's OK if people don't like me (and I'm still OK if people don't like me).2. Just because someone tells me I'm wrong doesn't mean they're right (although sometimes they will be—working this out takes a bit of practice).3. I will screw up. Screwing up is not the point, it's what I do afterwards and take from the experience that carries weight.4. If I do things that don't align with the person I want to be, I won't feel good about myself—even if no-one else knows about it.5. If I do things that align with the person I want to be, I will feel good about myself—even if no-one else knows about it.6. Every feeling passes, even when it feels like it won't. Enjoy the good times and learn from the bad.7. Very few things come naturally. Resilience, social skills, asking for help, vulnerability—all these things take practice. Eventually the euphoria associated with completing the challenging action will outweigh the terror that comes beforehand.8. Being consistent and living with a set of principles makes life a lot easier.9. Say no when I want to say no.10. Say yes when I want to say yes.11. If I need time to think about it, it's better to say that rather than grasping for a yes or no to avoid the discomfort of uncertainty.12. There is no "should" when it comes to how I feel.13. Other people will always have advice about how I should or shouldn't live my life. At the end of the day, I'm the one that is responsible for (and has to live with) the consequences of that advice, so take it with care.14. It pays to be gracious (see no. 5).15. I feel better when I focus on what I'm for, rather than on what I'm against.16. Don't spend time shaming people—either support, or just disengage. Shaming is toxic (see no. 4).17. Experiences are worth more than things.18. Self-awareness is a constant and life-long process.19. Self-care isn't a luxury, it's a necessity.20. It's not in my best interests to automatically avoid doing something that provokes discomfort: usually, that's where the magic happens.21. The "shoulds" in my head aren't always right. Most of the time, I feel happier when I focus on what I want.22. Forgiveness is something that's earned, not owed.23. Instead of focusing on what other people are thinking about me, I feel much happier and more secure when I pay attention to what I'm thinking about myself24. Self-compassion trumps self-esteem. Here's why.25. How other people feel, act, and treat me is not my responsibility, it's theirs. The only responsibility I have is to myself.26. Life is much more fulfilling without a TV.What would you tell your child self? Leave a comment and share your thoughts. Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography