Dear 9 year-old me,
As my memory of you fades a little more as each day goes by, there is still a piece of you that I wish would never change. The piece of you that is innocent, adventurous, and content with the smallest things in life.
Despite all the ups and downs in life, rest assured that you will grow up into a beautiful person, loved by many. There are so many things I wished you knew about back then, things that you should be really proud about.
You are more than enough.
“Love yourself.” These two words can be so simple yet so difficult to achieve.
Although self-love is something that you struggle with throughout your journey of growth, promise me that you will show yourself the love that you deserve. All love comes from within and one day, you will understand that, in order for you to love someone, you have to love yourself first.
I hope you will also realise that you do not have to look for someone else to find your worth because you are so much better than you think. Trust me, your imperfections are exactly what makes you perfect in your own way.
Always tell yourself, “You are more than enough.”
You can be different.
Ever wonder why you are a little different from your classmates? It is normal to want to fit in with people around you because being accepted feels good. However, I want you to know that it is okay to be different. People who sincerely care about you will accept you for who you are.
It is totally fine to be a little more quirky and weird as compared to others. Being yourself also attracts people who are similar to you and that is how you stumble upon genuine friendships, as they are people who appreciate you for who you are.
Always remember that you will never be comfortable if you are trying to be someone that you are not. Just let your personality shine through and be different.
You taught me so much about myself.
Even at the young age of 9, you taught me so much about myself. Remember how you were so happy when you first saw a rainbow after a rainstorm. You reminded me to constantly appreciate the smaller things in life because simple things can bring you joy too.
As you grow older, you may be chasing after much bigger things. In the process, it is normal to feel tired and burnt out. When you reach that point, don’t forget to slow down, take a deep breath, and focus on the smaller things in life. Sometimes, even a good cup of coffee can be the reason why your day started out on a good note!
Your resilience was also what made you stand out since young too. Remember when you made a promise with dad and mum to get a distinction for every subject in exchange for an overseas trip? You really surprised me how hardworking and determined you can be when you set your mind to it.
These qualities are hard to come by. I encourage you to keep them in you even as you enter adulthood because they are what makes you shine.
Try not to worry too much and just have fun.
As a child, you were definitely someone who let people’s words get to you way too easily. I just wished that you would worry less about these things and live your childhood freely.
You only have one and only one childhood, so do not waste your time worrying about what people say about you because I assure you that none of those things matter.
Instead, take the time to fully explore yourself. Get to know what you like or do not like, your emotions, and your goals. You will eventually find that there is no point worrying about what others think about you because only your own thoughts matter the most.
Always be grateful for what you have.
When you wake up every morning, I wish you are reminded of how loved you are by the people around you.
Be grateful for your parents who provided you with good food, a nice home and unconditional love. Hug them whenever you can and show them your appreciation before they grow old too quickly.
Be grateful for your closest friends who were there whenever you needed them. They are some of the most genuine people that truly care for you. Every birthday celebration, every small gesture of love, shows how much you mean to them so thank them for being a part of your growth journey.
Always be appreciative of what you already have in life. Try your best not to compare your life with others because everyone has their own journey.
Do not be too hard on yourself.
This is a constant struggle that you will face as you are growing up. You tend to put the blame on yourself when things do not go your way. So what if you failed that Primary 3 maths test? None of that will matter in 10 years’ time.
Alexander Graham Bell once said, “When one door closes, another opens.” I promise that you will have plenty of opportunities even with all the failures that you face. Do not beat yourself up for the failures, but instead, take them as lessons to discover something new about yourself.
Nevertheless, do give yourself the time that you need to heal and internalise your feelings. It is never healthy to bottle up your emotions. Once you are feeling better, look ahead at your future because I assure you, there are going to be so many great things coming your way.
There are so many good qualities in you and I wished you would keep them in you as you step into adulthood. They are truly what distinguishes you from the rest.
Writing letters to your younger self can be a very good activity to reflect on how you were as a child and how you would like to grow as a person. Parents are encouraged to pick up this exercise and think about some of the qualities that they would like to keep into their adulthood. Sharing with your children these letters can also help with encouraging them and inspiring them with lessons that you have learnt from your childhood.
Self-care can be equally as important for you as it is for your child. Learn how to teach your child self-care here.