To say that I have always loved my past self would be a lie. When creating design work there have been many times after finishing something, that I feel like I have not done my best work. I put it aside and come back to it later Hopefully, I will appreciate the hard work I put into it by that time. Most of the time I do. Looking back on old photos of yourself it can be easy to not like the person you see. Maybe it's an ill-advised hairstyle or a bad outfit choice, I’m looking at you, tight skinny jeans and a v-neck tee. Or It could be something you said to someone without thinking, the word vomit that seems to come back to haunt you as you fall asleep. Or the way you treated someone that you wish you could take back. Or bad decisions made in your youth. There are many levels to our past selves which can be hard to accept.
Here’s why you should embrace your past self.
Life is messy, dirty, and primal. When I was little my grandma used to pick me up for our days together, she would take me to the mall and we would walk around, go to the arcade, and then she would always sit me down and clean the dirt from under my fingernails. That's enough to pot a plant. Her favorite line. You forget as an adult how crucial to your existence as a boy digging in the dirt is. I see the same things with my boys who are now the age I was then. Dirt and noise and skinned knees are all common around our house. As I’m sure any parents with multiple boys can attest.
Every part of your past has shaped the person you are today, and the person you will become. Want to be a better version of yourself as you grow. Embrace your past self, every flaw, every imperfection. It will lead you to a place of self-reflection that can open your mind to who you can be. When you embrace your past self, you give your present self permission to live with abandon. If you can love yourself at your worst, you will continue to love yourself even when you make mistakes. Because the person you were is the person you are today. You are still you regardless of the scars you gain along the way, even when circumstances change, you are still you. Be gracious with yourself, be kind with yourself when you feel you are most fragile.
The past version of you was not perfect, and neither will be the future you. Even when we do our best to continually learn and grow and better ourselves, the only person who will ever truly appreciate it is you. Yet the only person you are working for is not always just yourself. Most of us have—or will have at some point in our lives—dependents, our children, families who rely on us. This can be incredibly rewarding and wonderful and one of the most important things you will do with your life. But they should not be the sole source of your fulfillment. Inner peace and contentment come from loving and accepting yourself throughout every stage of your life.
Accept all of it, as well as the beautiful parts of your past. Don’t feel like those beautiful cherished moments are all behind you. They are with you, and you can have just as many wonderful, beautiful moments in your future. If you allow yourself to. Permit yourself to explore new things, even as you grow older you can have new experiences. Follow what you are curious about, chase it down, and explore every outlet. Use all of your past experiences to fuel your future ones. Don’t let the fear of losing what you have built stop you from taking chances on new things.
Within the journey of life, the sooner we can accept the fact that we are all flawed and that life itself is flawed the sooner we can start to love and embrace the flaws. It can be difficult to look unblinking at life, especially our past, and accept it as it is. But when you do, it frees you to live.
Thanks for reading,