A couple weeks ago, I was watching an interview of some professionals across multiple age ranges, they talked about a lot of stuff but as the conversation started to reach an end, the moderator asked “what would you like to tell your younger self?” Most of the answers were really profound and quite inspiring to me but what stood out during this segment was the fact that one of the interviewees couldn’t say what they would like to tell their younger self, I’m not sure if it was because it was something they hadn’t really put thought into or if it was because they just didn’t have anything to say to their younger self.
Well, the whole situation got me thinking about the importance of reflection and sharing the thoughts that come from those reflections. Reflecting is something this generation doesn’t do enough of (if you guessed the interviewee who couldn’t answer the question was a millennial, then you guessed right), with our fast phased, focused on the future life styles it is almost impossible to do any reflecting.
Reflection takes on different forms for different, for me it is just looking back and seeing where I’ve come from and just being thankful for where I am right now. But reflection doesn’t only stir up a grateful heart, it is also a source of inspiration and empowerment. More important than the reflections, are the lessons we pick up from them, these lessons can go long way to empower not just the individual doing the reflection but also the entire next generation. It is often said that experience is the best teacher, the good thing is the experience doesn’t have to be your own, so we can all learn from the experience of others. In the spirit of learning from the experiences of others I asked some women to share their “advice to their younger selves”. Here are some of the replies I got:
“You don’t have to prove your worth to anyone, you are strong and capable of doing anything you want and you will succeed at it” ~ Adeola
“Take your faith more seriously, it makes a lot of difference and it would make your path in life a lot clearer”.
“Ask questions, don’t think you know it all because no one does”
“Be honest with yourself and other people. It will save time for both parties.
If you know what you want, don’t waste time on other things because you are scared to get what you want.
Surround yourself with good people who will develop you. (Spend time with the right people)”
“I would advise my younger self to confide in someone, a counsellor, therapist, anyone and do it without shame. I would tell her to be a little bit more outgoing and not care too much about what people say. I would tell her to learn quickly from her failures because they’ll guide her to make better decisions. I would tell her to care about making healthy decisions and not be focused on being a certain weight. I would also advise her to study more, have faith and prioritize her mental health.”
“Take your time, don’t rush and enjoy each phase”.
My intention with this whole exercise is to get women to spend time reflecting on their lives and to share the lessons they’ve learnt because even though that information may no longer be useful to them, it will definitely be useful to someone out there.
Passing on such wisdom is something we are not doing enough of, we should voice our stories a lot more as we’ll never really know who we are encouraging or inspiring by sharing these things. Someone once said a fool learns from his own mistakes while a wise man learns from the mistake of others but how can a wise man learn from the mistake of “others” if “others” don’t talk about their mistake. The charge here is to spend a generous amount of time reflecting (it is important for a well-balanced, stress free life) and to share the lessons gained from time reflecting because your note to self is really just a note to the next generation.
– Tola Oyeleke
Photos: Think & Be Positive & DDS Magazine