By Rene Villard-Reid
WHAT DO I KNOW FOR SURE, NOW, THAT I WOULD LIKE TO TELL MY YOUNGER SELF?
Regenerate publisher Sandra Malhotra posed this question to me, and here are the insights that I would like to share:
Follow your intuition … ALWAYS. You are the only one who knows what is best for you. Following your gut is easy. If it feels good, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t. And if you don’t know, do nothing. The answer will come in time.
Forget about pleasing anyone but yourself. It’s a dead end. The people who recognize you as a pleaser will take advantage of you. Pleasing others leads to dishonesty and the inability to be true to yourself. Own your feelings and you will discover that no one dies from hearing your truth. Remember … what someone thinks about you is none of your business. It should never exert any power or authority over your ability to be yourself.
Do not seek the approval of others. This goes hand in hand with the “am I really okay?” program. That is for you to decide. Are you okay? You should know. It’s only you inside this body, and no one else. In seeking approval, it hands away your personal power, and soon you will discover that others are more than happy to control you through their own narrow aperture of experience. It allows them to be right and you to be wrong. And then there are those who will withhold approval no matter how wonderful or excellent your efforts are. You will walk away feeling flawed, confused about yourself and useless. No matter your efforts, they hold approval like a dangling carrot. If you will only try a little harder a reward is insured. Not likely! They are the weak ones … not you. Approve of yourself and please yourself. Yours is the only opinion that matters. Remember, you are lovable by virtue of who you are, not by what you do or say. There is no feat you can perform or lofty thought you can share that will merit love. It is only the sweetness of your own true self that commands love. It can never be earned.
Avoid saying, “I should, I must, I ought.” If you feel drawn to any of these comments, you are choosing to do something out of obligation, and not because you genuinely want to. Do nothing out of obligation. You owe no one anything. Choose to do things for the joy or love of it. If it pleases you to do it, it will please the recipient. It’s genuine and real.
You may not have lots of friends, but the friends you do have will love and like you for the right reasons based upon these words of advice. You can trust them to tell you the truth. If they can hang with you for your own sake, you have hit the lotto.
Take time to smell the roses, watch the birds, observe the wind in the trees. It is healthy and doesn’t cost a thing. Remember to just be … if only for a few minutes a day. It will enrich your life and make all the difference.
Create art whether it is writing, painting, crafting, arranging flowers or your furniture. Make something beautiful. You define what IT is and no one else. You don’t have to be an artist, per se. The point is, to see and craft beauty in one form, or another. It could be planting a flower, or two, or hanging a picture that brings you pleasure. Compare your creativity to no one. You may not be able to draw, but you might enjoy slapping some water colors on paper and see what happens … for the fun of it. And don’t underestimate the pleasure of crayons and a coloring book. It is the most Zen thing you can do. Children are very wise, and they know the value in coloring. Take a page from a child’s perspective. It is freeing.
Do things just for the fun of it. Yes … keep that in mind at all times. Have fun in life. Don’t take it too seriously. Laugh a lot. Find reasons to enjoy ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING. Remember, you are never too old to swing, or skip rope or hula hoop. And there is nothing so ridiculous that you shouldn’t try it, just once. Check your inhibitions at the door, be courageous, jump in and BE YOURSELF. And don’t forget to thumb your nose at the people who give you a strange look. More than likely they are envious you had the guts to be outrageous.
Above all things … BE YOURSELF. It is the only thing that matters in this life.
AND FINALLY, in being yourself, never be afraid to tell someone to “F…k off!” It may not be politically correct, but there comes a time and a place where it is the most appropriate comment to make. It sets a boundary, it means you are not fooling around and it calls bullshit on bullshit. In that there is great clarity. Forget about ‘finding a way’ to put something nicely. Anytime you try and protect someone’s ego, no good will come from it. Say it like it is. They may not always thank you, but they will always know where they stand. Trust me, you will never be taken for granted … ever. They may not care for what you say, but they will respect you, and that is worth its weight in gold.