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16 Things I’d Tell My 20 Year Old Self Today



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When I was 20, I used to think that I knew everything about life. I lived with the same delusion when I became 22, and even 27. High expectations from everyone around me and self-flagellation caused me many problems. Some remain even now. 

In this letter to myself, I want to speak to every 20-year-old.  Don’t think that it’s just another motivational letter to myself. It’s the lessons I wish I knew ten years ago. 

My Letter to 20 Year Old Self

Hello, dear! I know you would probably be skeptical about what I would say. But I hope you will listen at least to some advice from the lessons I learned through my experience..

1. You Won’t Always Get Things Done Your Way

Even though it’s hard to admit, you have to engrave this in your brain: “Things don’t always work according to your plan”. Sometimes, deviations are minor, sometimes life-changing. You must always have plan B.

2. Don’t Burn Bridges

You never know who you are going to need in the future. It might be your lecturer, the first boss, a cashier in a coffee-shop near your house. Always remember we live in a small world.

3. Choose the People You Surround Yourself with

Those surrounding you shape you. If you don’t want to act like someone from your inner circle, cross him/her out.

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too can become great.” – Mark Twain

4. Learning Is an Everlasting Process

This isn’t just to do with career advice. The more you live, the more you wish you knew more. Keep evolving.

5. Never Postpone Life

Don’t wait until you finish college or start a new job. Time is passing faster than you can imagine. If you don’t learn how to live in the moment, you will never live at all.

6. Care about Your Mind and Body

You are your most precious asset. Don’t ignore red flags. Many problems don’t disappear on their own, no matter how much we wish they did.

7. You Can Say No

You can say “no” to everything. If something provokes stress and anxiety, cut it out from your life. Even if it seems hard, you will thank yourself later. 

8. Trust Your Gut

Your gut is your invisible guide through making decisions. You don’t always have to push yourself in a particular direction if it feels wrong. Advice to myself – say “No” to whatever you want to.

9. Don’t Bottle Up

You deserve to experience life in all its fullness. Emotions – even negative ones – are a part of it. In this letter to myself, I want to highlight that bad emotions aren’t always bad. Without them, we won’t feel the pleasure of good feelings.

10. Forgive

Holding grudges will hardly make your life better, and usually, the only one to suffer is you. Others won’t haul around this weight inside themselves. 

11. You Are Your Greatest Ally and Opponent

You are your best support, and you are your toughest challenge. Overpowering yourself is hard. There is no need to compare your results with others. Be better than you used to be. 

12. Always Stand Up

You will fall down. Unfortunately, this will happen many times. Sometimes these falls will seem fatal. And that’s normal. What you have to learn is to pull yourself together. 

“When life knocks you down, try to land on your back. Because if you can look up, you can get up. Let your reason get you back up.” – Les Brown

13. Stay Passionate about What You Do

Whether you are going to open a printing shop or a café, remain passionate. Your inner power will lead to success. You are the only one who can light this flame.

14. Perceive Challenges as an Opportunity

Even a study from Kings College in London proved that positive thinking reduces worry and anxiety. As this letter to myself states, life will hit you hard. You will face many challenges. If you embrace them as an opportunity for improvement, they will be easier to overcome.

15. Acknowledge Your Freedom to Shape Your Life

You are the master of your life. Although you don’t have the power to control the circumstances, you take responsibility for your own response. 

16. Develop Self-Love

This is one of the most crucial things I would say. Love yourself. This way, you won’t need anyone to give you love. This is an unchanging principle of life.

P.S. Note to myself: Even if you don’t follow any of it, you are still wonderful!

Which of the 16 things I shared resonated with you the most and why? Share it in the comments!

Anthony Kreychmar currently works in Fortuna Visual Group as a private psychologist. His main expertise lies in helping people to manage stress and anxiety. He has received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. He believes that the power of the human-being is concealed in his ability to remain true to himself.

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