Dear Young Woman

Three pretty young women of different ethnicities smiling for the camera

I’m writing to you as an elder sister. You can’t imagine it now (nor should you, if you’re living your life well), but I don’t feel that much different than you do. You may look at me like a Mother or Aunt figure. I see you as a peer.

That’s not because I’m in denial that I’m older. It’s because I see you, I respect you, and I don’t think that I have anything over on you. Except in this one area: your confidence. Let me explain by delivering the following advice to my younger self.

You’re Perfect the Way You Are

Wear the short dress. No, you won’t look like a supermodel, but how did that become the target? Wear it. Rock it. Own it. You’re young and beautiful. A time will come when you’ll decide that dress is too short. Wear it while you can.

Eat the cake. You don’t have to have a giant piece, just have some. Stop punishing yourself with deprivation. Be sensible but don’t restrict yourself to the point where not joining in becomes a personal victory. It’s not. It makes you feel strong but appear weak.

When someone is interested in you, they show it. Don’t waste your time on someone who plays games. You’re more valuable than that.

Smile for the camera. I promise you will look back and wonder what the hell you were self-conscious about. You’re not whatever negative image pops into your mind when someone’s taking a picture.

I was 25 years old when this commercial was shot and self-identified as fat. I was terribly self-conscious. The hair was bad but old hair always is.

Me at 25 wearing a tight-fitting gold dress and black belt. Slim. Holding up a sale flyer for the client, Tanner and Pearson furniture.

Prioritize Yourself

Carving out time for yourself isn’t selfish. It’s necessary. If you have kids, you’re showing them it’s important to value yourself. Live your truth. The best thing you can do for your kids is to love them. The second best thing you can do for them is to be a happy parent.

Set boundaries. Learn to say “no” to that so-called friend who only calls when they need something. We all have one. You feel it in your gut. Don’t get sucked into their energy vacuum. Same goes for strangers who are energy vampires. Delete. Block. Move on.

Ask for help. People love to be of assistance, whether it’s with advice or moving a couch. Find a mentor. Be vulnerable. You’re not expected to know everything.

No one knows what they’re doing. We are all just muddling through, doing the best that we can.

Live in the moment but don’t get caught up in momentary troubles. Trust that things will work out. Believe in yourself and your right to succeed and have a wonderful life. Don’t wish away the frustrating times, flat tires, or bad days at work. They’re not in the way of your life, they are your life. Meet them head-on and move past them. Don’t put off happiness until a future date. Happiness is a decision. Make it now. You’re young and you’re beautiful. Wear the short dress. Eat the cake.

12 thoughts on “Dear Young Woman”

  1. Oh this is wonderful. Thank you for this wisdom (and oh, those pics from the 80s/90s when all we could see were our flaws). I often think of the “Wear Sunscreen” spoken word hit that reminded us of all of the things that were small that we thought so big; all of the big things that we missed because we were focussed on something else. When we wake up with no pain, it’s a big deal. And that’s what we don’t know or appreciate when we’re younger. You’ve got so much in this, Lisa, so much in you. If only those who need to read it and take it in, would. “Too soon old; too late smart.” E.

    1. Yes, that Wear Sunscreen piece was brilliant. The shock I feel when I see an old picture of me and realize I wasn’t Shrek (not Shrek’s wife – SHREK!) – it is like a smack to the psyche. What DOES that to us? I partly blame Cosmo magazine…but it somehow comes from within. Let’s do what we can to change that for our younger sisters.

  2. Brilliant!
    I wish someone had said those words to my younger self too. However, would I have heeded the advice? Not sure.
    I had an ah ha moment many years ago while going through old photos in preparation for a party for my Grandma who was turning 100. I found many photos of me when I was a kid and was absolutely shocked to realize I WAS NOT FAT! Gosh. I spent my entire childhood & teen years and beyond thinking I was fat. How would it have changed my confidence and decisions if I had realized that?!

    1. I’ve thought about that too, whether I would have heeded it. However, I do remember an old journalist I worked with at a radio station in Alberta saying to me, “stop wishing things away. That’s your LIFE you’re wishing away”! And it hit me and stuck with me. I respected him and he did it in such a loving, non-admonishing way that it hit the mark. This same man also said, “I don’t understand why women are fighting for equality when they already have superiority!” He was sweet and when he spoke about his wife, you could feel the love. Can I remember his name? Of course not! 🙂

  3. It seems like I’ve been friends and interacted with more women over my life than guys and if I were to offer a piece of wisdom it would be this. Strive to become the person you are meant to be and not that which others think you should be, set your own path for the expectations you truly must live up to are your own!

  4. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 Well said, Lisa! My younger self could have used those words. I also have “fat” pics from my 20’s and 30’s. Lordy! I often go back to that girl while meditating and give her a hug because she really needed one. It’s amazing to me just how clearer my vision of my true self becomes with every passing year 🥰 Thanks for sharing ❤️

  5. Thank you for sharing Lisa, and boy do these words resonate with me! I wish I had know these things when I was younger, but now I do in my 40’s and life is so much better! Eat the cake ladies…our youth doesn’t last forever.
    Thanks again! 💕

  6. Thankfully I never went through life thinking I was fat. I’m overweight now, but I’m 70 and frankly don’t particularly care.
    What resonated in your words of wisdom, Lisa, was “Don’t wish away the frustrating times, flat tires, or bad days at work. They’re not in the way of your life, they are your life.” Eye on the goal is great, but don’t miss the journey.

  7. I LOVE this! Thank you, Lisa. I consider you a mentor and a friend and love to hear your stories and advice! I will take all of this to heart ❤️

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