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Letters to Your Younger Self: Don’t Aspire to Meet the Aspirations of Others

by in Soul on 22nd December, 2020

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Dear Younger Self,

You are enough.

You’re seventeen and about to start university. Despite achieving what you have, you remain resentful of yourself. You’re in a toxic relationship and your relationship with your family is difficult, to say the least. You’re focused on one aspect of your life that you cannot control; you’ve allowed yourself to become consumed by it.

Right now there is nobody you can trust or lean on.

But you’ve forgotten that you have yourself. You have forgotten about the things you enjoy and love and have started to lose the essence of you. Somebody asks “are you okay?” with a smile you reply “I’m always okay.” You know you are too young for this, but right now it feels like your entire world.

Reality check number one: university isn’t as amazing as everyone made out; it should have come with a disclaimer in your opinion. You’re struggling to fit in with those who surround you, and you don’t feel so clever anymore. This sensation you’re feeling is referred to as imposters syndrome. Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. That’s what Google said anyway. You’re wishing you applied somewhere else, somewhere with more like-minded people, or people who weren’t so judgemental, people who weren’t so obsessed with picking up on things you didn’t even know to be conscious of.

Lesson number one: Appreciate all that you have achieved so far and don’t aspire to meet the aspirations of others. You shouldn’t measure yourself against other people. Everyone comes from their own lived experiences and you are not exempt from that.


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On top of the toils of emotions, faith, identity and failing relationships and friendships, you’re falling behind in your studies. Bombarded with constant emails questioning your lack of attendance add to the stress, but instead of going to classes and lectures you chose to escape to a more toxic environment.

You depend on the short term, temporary happiness; anything to feel endorphins pulse through your body to numb the pain.

Reality check number two: the long-term seems distant and unachievable. At this moment you can’t tell if you are truly happy, whether this lifestyle is making you happy or not. But this is what will shape your understanding of true happiness.

Lesson number two: You don’t really enjoy loud music, the hectic bumping of bodies in the dark and the feeling of remorse and sadness at the end of the night. Don’t pretend you’re having fun so people think you’re cool. Tearful confessions to others will not redeem you. Redemption and forgiveness will be yours when you turn to Allah.

You’re chasing the attention of someone who only gives you time when they desire something from you. Do they want you, or are they just picking away the best cuts, leaving you to clear up bones? Your youth and naivety make you uncertain about your own feelings, but you feel them nonetheless and therefore they are real. You think it’s love. It might be, but it’s not the kind you deserve.

And as such this is lesson number three: just because you love somebody doesn’t mean that they’re good for you. I can tell you from experience, that love, whether it be in the form of a partner or a friend, will come into your life when you need it. “What is meant for you, will reach you even if it is beneath two mountains. What isn’t meant for you, won’t reach you even if it is between your two lips.”

You’re losing confidence because you can’t understand why you’re not enough. You used to be an extrovert, loud, full of laughter, self-assured, positive. You seem to have forgotten the assured girl you once were. Why do you aspire to hold the attention of someone else; trying to be “cool” rather than just being yourself? Isolating yourself isn’t helping either. Yet you keep going because contrary to what you believe about yourself, you are strong. I wish that I invested that copious passion and care you poured into others in you. I wish I told you I loved you more and that you are more than enough. You are ample and more.

A time will come when you hurt those closest to you. You must persevere and rebuild those bonds, nurture them so that they are whole again. Apart from one. The one that haunts you constantly, in the forms of late night texts and random missed calls. It distracts you during the day and keeps you awake at night. It is stopping you from progressing and it’s time to cut all ties.

This is your fourth lesson: if someone cannot appreciate who you are in your wholeness, then they do not deserve any part of you. That goes for friends, extended family and men. Despite everything you feel inside, your family love you. They will continue to love you when you make mistakes, they will continue to love you when your heart is broken and continue to love you even when you break theirs.

There will always be days that you dread, but you will wake up and work your way through them. A few years later you will look back and be thankful. It has helped you appreciate small things that make you happy. With every hardship comes ease. Have faith in Allah. He guided you even when you lost faith in him, and he will continue to guide you along his path, even if at times it seems treacherous and testing.

Criticism is constructive rather than a stab at you as an individual. From time to time you may still feel a pang of insecurity, but it won’t be as debilitating as it once was. Instead, now it is a sign for development and achieving the ambitions of the woman you were born to become.

You will sing in the shower again. You will sing outside the shower again.Your previous fear of solitude meant that you had surrounded yourself with people who made you unhappy and were not worthy of you. You’ll be pleased to know they’re not a part of your life anymore. Instead, you have found yourself surrounded by people who bring out the best in you, nourishing your growth with their love, laughter and warmth. You will become your own best friend and learn to let go and accept that not everything is in your control. You will learn to put yourself first and give up appeasing people by not speaking your mind. You will learn to be diplomatic but also learn to care a little less about what people think.

Your opinions and experiences are valid. Most importantly you will learn that loving someone, doesn’t have to mean sacrificing loving yourself.

I’m not here to tell you what to do or tell you how to feel. You’ll learn at your own pace from our own mistakes. But just one more piece of advice; don’t let yourself down, you have so much more left to achieve.

Love from a little older, little wiser me

Amaliah Anonymous

Amaliah Anonymous

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