What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?

“If I knew then what I know now.”  It’s an old saying that you’ll hear and maybe even repeat at least once in your life.

It’s one of those old sayings that you really only understand once you’ve gotten some experience under your belt, enough wisdom to get you by and a little hair on your chest (well maybe not).  It’s a saying that’ll take you down memory lane and will leave you wondering about the knowns and the unknowns of your life.

I guess if it were Christmas in July and the ghost of my past offered to take me on a journey that resulted in my having a conversation with my younger self, I’d take her up on it.

What would I tell myself?  Simply four words. Live. Learn. Laugh. Love.

You have to live life to experience any part of it, good or bad.  You have to learn when to move on and when to stay.  You have to laugh daily because it truly is the best medicine.  You have to love for it’s the only way you’ll be loved.

When I look back at my life I can easily point out decisions, moves or actions that I could have done differently.  Like not standing up for myself when I was adopted and fighting to hyphenate my name instead of dropping it altogether.  Or even on the other extreme, burning gas, time and money on a boyfriend who I knew I had no intentions on marrying.  #Regrets.

It’s odd because most people suggest that you should never have a regret in life.  I actually beg to differ.  I believe people are entitled to have regrets.  If used properly, regrets can become motivators to do and be better.

Had I no regrets, in the conversation with my younger self, I couldn’t tell her those simple four words.

What’s so important about live, learn, laugh and love?  Everything.

You ready to know why? OK. Lets go.

Ashley.  Listen. Pay attention.  I’m only going to say this once because age and life have made me a bit impatient.  And lets make this quick before my blackberry buzzes.

Far too often we limit the ‘l’s’ of our lives because of expectations, perceptions, rules, restrictions or just plain ol’ what other people will think of us.  We trap ourselves and have a difficult time returning to the days when we just didn’t care—if those days ever existed.

Live according to your own rulebook but be smart enough to listen to your gut. It’s amazing; the gift of intuition that we have in our spirits.  Trust it.  Work hard, yes.  Study hard, yes.  But don’t let life pass you by because you never know how many days you have left to live.  Find a balance in life.

Learn from every moment.  There’s a lesson everywhere you look.  When you touch a hot stove once, be wise enough to never touch it unprotected again.  Fool me once, shame on you…you know the rest.

Laugh. Did you know it takes more energy to frown than to smile?  Spend most of your life laughing off the nonsense and celebrating the good times.

Love is the anti-drug that can’t be sold, bottled or commercialized.  When it’s real, you know it.  Be authentic in your love life, it’ll take you a long way.

A few last points.  Invest in Apple stock.  Don’t date the guy after this relationship.  Never take a day for granted.  Always make sure you make time for those you love.  Don’t let your bestfriend go.  You might already know your husband and lastly…just have fun.

That’s the conversation that I would have with myself.  What would you and your younger self talk about?

The “l’s” are cool but don’t be afraid to get dirty!  Feel free to tell yourself off or pat that PYT on the back for a job well done!

-Ashley Charisma is the author of School of Black Love.  For more info on Ashley Charisma and the novel visit www.ashleycharisma.com.

You can also follow Ashley Charisma on:
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  1. Wow I would tell my younger self you are stronger than you know. Liive and let live. Don’t personalize wrongdoing let go of grudges they harm you more than the person you holding them against tell your mother thank you more. Forgive move on take risks ask for help be kind to yourself whew so much to tell younger me

  2. Girl! Forget the 4 year life plan because nothing ever goes according to plan.

    Don’t put so much time and engery into you first love, high school relationships rarely last forever.

    Failure is part of learning, and you will fail before you get to the finish line.

    And even if you do the right thing you will still get egg thrown in your face.

    Sometimes things will happen for a reason, although you may not know the reason until several years down the road.


  3. I would tell my younger self of the importance of taking care of yourself physically. As a result, I’m having issues now, later in life.

    I would also tell my younger self to live life to please ME, well God first, THEN ME and not to live for others; to expect others to appreciate the real you because they most often won’t—they use and abuse.

    I would also tell my younger self to toughen up, to speak my mind always regardless who it might hurt and to just live life and love it and appreciate it and to love myself more than others.

  4. Wow you all have NO IDEA how much I needed to read and hear all of this! I’m only 20 years young, but there is still so much I would tell the person 10 years ago, shoot 1year ago! Sidebar: this is why I love working with adolescent girls, there’s so much we need to share with them! Okay anyway lol

    :bowdown: :bowdown: :bowdown:

  5. One big lesson I had to learn:

    I would tell my young self that regardless of those who have already hurt you – and trust their are more to come- always LOVE yourself, be proud of yourself at the end of every day, smile every morning you are blessed to see, look in the mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful.
    And Lastly, look at every man that steps to you with the intention of hurting you and mistreating your young spirit, smile at them and pray for them silently. You can never control what people do or say, but you can ALWAYS ALWAYS CHOOSE your reaction to it. ALWAYS ALWAYS focus on being better! Embrace your mishaps, love your flaws and acknowledge and understand you will always grow to be better, despite what those around you choose. (exhale)

    Had to learn alot on my own yall! haha GOD BLESS!

  6. Everything you thought was a good idea was not so don’t do it and stay in school.

  7. I would tell my younger self to be more open. Stop being so scared to speak your mind. Express your feelings; it’s okay if people don’t agree with what you have to say as long as you say it. You will feel much better and will suffer from less headaches. 🙂

  8. I would tell my younger self that I have plenty of time to be in a serious relationship and that when that relationship comes not to give up my friends or identity. I would tell myself to save money and to learn to drive asap because being 25 without a license and car is not cool smh lol to appreciate the beauty of being young and care free and that those bullshit years as I like to call them are over sooner than you think! And to be my biggest fan no matter what!

  9. Ashley, absolutely wonderful…hope to see you with your own show on Oprah’s new network!

    All of these are great!!!

    My most valued lesson came from Maya Angelou…

    “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”

  10. I would tell her how beautiful she is…low self esteem is her biggest enemy…stop putting her worth on what he thinks…I would take her and her misguided friends to the side and tell them love is not suppose to hurt…mentally or physically…and hearing her friends say “girl he crazy” or “girl he going whoop your ass if you wear that” is not a compliment…and some advice for her next relationship…fast humping and pumping is not good sex…it’s getting fk’d and these young boys have no idea how to make love…sex is so much better when someone loves u back.

  11. To look out for numero uno and try your best not to dissapoint those you love.

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