You may have thought, "What would I tell myself 10 years ago with what I know now?" Ah yes, the perspective we gain through the crap we have to deal with, haha! But really, there is so much we continually learn as we experience life.
- We learn what works and what doesn't
- We find out that relationships can't always be ended with the phrase "let's just be friends."
- We learn that friendships come and go
- We find out the hard way that trying to be like everyone else only hurts who we are
- And the list goes on....
But how often have you thought about what you are saying to your future self, right now? In this very moment even!
The ways in which we treat ourselves now speaks to us in the future. The way we take care of our bodies, the way we nourish our friendships, the way we speak to our own thoughts and reactions, and the ways we acknowledge our emotions, with or without judgement all play a role in how we are and who we will be.
And all of these things effect our self-worth, our self-esteem, our motivation, and how we gauge our own abilities as we move forward with whatever life brings us.
- Spend hours obsessing in your mind about how much you hate something about yourself and your future self might start to truly believe it
- Never allow yourself the opportunity to take a day to do nothing or binge watch your favorite show and your future self may rebel with anger and resentment toward people you care about most
- Decide in the moment that staying up late won't matter that much in the morning and find out how much the morning you hates the "let's-just-watch-5-more-flashback-episodes-of-Saved-by-the-Bell!" night version of you.
- Set high unattainable, unrealistic expectations about what you should accomplish tomorrow or by next month and watch as your future self feels deflated, defeated, and depressed
We all do it.
The truth is that we tend to hold our future self in a light that's far more unrealistic, grandiose, romantic, and epic in proportion to how we see ourselves now.
It's not that those things can't happen, but if we can't take care of ourselves now, in the present moment, we not only won't get to those places, but we'll feel weak and incapable in the process.
It's usually statements like:
- Oh I'll start next week
- I'll be happy when.....
- I will have so much more time to do that after...
- Once I have this figured out, it will be so much easier to do that perfectly
- I just don't have the motivation or will power right now, but next week I'm going to start!
We make promises to ourselves assuming the answer to why we just can't, just don't want to, or just don't have the energy, will resolve itself with the magical element of time.
Time is always constant change in motion, but time doesn't grant wishes (unless your wish is to be exactly where you are now feeling the exact same way.)
We have to speak to our future self through our actions and thoughts right now.
I know, that sucks. It means that if we want to feel better tomorrow, we have to start today. But it also means that we have the ABILITY to feel better tomorrow, and for the rest of our lives through daily choices we make.
Here 10 awesome, refreshing, realistic, and nourishing ways you can start speaking to your future self:
1) Practice a Daily Self-Care Routine that Just Makes Sense
Instead of saying that you're going to accomplish 100 things each and every day after you've had 5 cups of coffee and are in the best mood of your life, get realistic. Use that sugar high and adrenaline rush to think about what you can actually accomplish on a daily basis to make your life feel regulated, routine, and less chaotic.
It doesn't have to be complicated or elegant, either. While I'd love to rise naturally and dawn a luxurious bathrobe while I paint my toenails and listen to zen music, I'm usually outside at 5am, half asleep, trying to get my dog to poop so I can hurry back in and drink some coffee.
What I can do though, is make my life way easier by going to bed at a decent time (actually choosing a time and sticking to it), setting the coffee so it's ready to go when I am, organizing my makeup so I'm not fumbling through it every morning in a rush, and hanging my keys by the door first thing when I get home so I always know where they are.
Choosing simple routines to stick with says to your future self, "I care about the big picture just as much as I care about the moment and I want life to be easy for us."
2) Choose Words that Encourage Yourself, Instead of Criticizing
Every. single. day. I hear women say things like:
- Oh I'm no where near as good as so and so
- I really have no idea what I'm doing
- I suck
- I wish I was like them
- No, this is a joke
- I'm not good at that
- I am so dumb
We say things to ourselves that we'd never dream of saying to someone else. You're going to be with you for the rest of your life, in your body, in your mind, in your shoes. Why talk down to yourself when YOU are the most important relationship you'll have?
3) Write a Letter to Your Future Self
For real. This one actually lets you talk DIRECTLY to the you of the future! I've been using this website for years and getting a surprise email from myself from the past has made some of the most exciting moments! Pop on over to FutureMe, choose a date in the future, and write your heart out!
A word of caution. Just like we talked about, don't write to your future self in a way that will make you feel completely defeated if you don't make something happen. For instance, one time I wrote to myself 3 months later congratulating myself for my 40lb weight loss and how great I must feel. Um, yeah, that didn't happen. Not only was it unrealistic (and possibly unhealthy for my goals), but it put me in a horrible, demotivated mood.
You'll need to choose a date at least 30 days in the future. Write a couple different letters spaced out in a matter of months or even years. (My husband and I wrote one together to ourselves to read after 5 years of marriage).
Here are some prompts to get yourself going:
- What is today like? Weather, something funny that happened, current mood & why (these tidbits you'll probably forget about and will be super entertaining )
- What do you love about yourself?
- What do you want your future self to know?
- What is something about yourself you never want to forget?
- List off the reasons why you're happy
- List some of your big goals and how you want to make them happen
- Talk about something you're struggling with (chances are you'll have solved all or part of it and will be able to see the progress you've made)
- Ask your future self for a favor
- List off what you're currently grateful for
4) Promote Your Qualities Instead of Showcasing Your Assumed Flaws
Avoid self-deprecation. Sometimes we think that if we say something negative about ourselves first, then no one else will have the opportunity to. By covering the bases, we can feel a little more protected, but the truth is that this not only shows insecurity but it also chips away at what you really believe about yourself. If you're always the first one to say something negative about yourself, it will become a habit overtime, not only in conversation but also in how you view your own abilities.
No one wants to be the person that gloats about their abilities or accomplishments, but being able to confidently express something you've accomplished, how you feel, or something you're proud of is a GREAT thing! When other people see you shining in your own confidence and basking in the happiness that comes with it, they are more likely to celebrate with you, instead of, you know, awkwardly trying to tell you that whatever negative comment you made about yourself isn't true.
We want to be around people that love who they are and YOU deserve to love who you are.
The ways you speak to and about yourself now paint a picture of who you believe you are capable of becoming and who you think you deserve to be.