who I needed when I was younger

I came across this photo I had saved on my phone over six months ago, probably to save for later, maybe as an inspiration. This photo simply said,

“Be who you needed when you were younger.”

It’s a nice sentiment, thinking about that. It made me go hide away in my bedroom and try to remember all the traits I wanted to cultivate within myself and how I longed to see those attributes in someone else. And I wondered if I had succeeded at any of those traits – it seems I am still working on most of them. But maybe that’s who I would have needed when I was younger…

Someone to show me it was okay to still be working on something, to start at the bottom and see improvement. Maybe I would have needed someone to show me it’s okay to ask questions, to say it’s okay if your life doesn’t look even a smidgen like you thought it would. It’s okay to feel yourself drift from who you were or who your friends are and explore that for awhile.

I think I would have needed someone to promise me that the self doubt would go away, that it would be crippling and then one day I’d realize I’d somehow been moving toward the things I’ve wanted all along. I think I would have needed someone to tell me that pride is such a silly little thing that masquerades as humility but has really been fear all along. I would have needed more people to see the beauty in my failures with me so I didn’t need to feel like I had to be so perfect all the time. Maybe I would have wanted to be included and invited in so I could feel like I had a right to hold space and be there, wherever ‘there’ was.

This is not to say that I did not receive any of these encouragements. I most certainly received a lot of love and support from my family and friends over the years.

Rather, this is a call to action for myself, or anyone else that spends time with people younger than they are. I am still trying to cultivate all these things for myself. But maybe I can do less judging, more encouraging. Am I as inclusive as I would like others to be for me? When I give in to my self doubt, am I showing someone else that their dreams are not worth pursuing? Am I giving space for people to ask those tough questions, or am I encouraging others to follow the crowd?

“Be who you needed when you were younger.”
Still workin’ on it 🙂


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