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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

Lately I have been doing a lot of introspection. I’m honestly baffled to say that I’m 20 years old. As dramatic as it sounds there were so many times that I genuinely didn’t think I would make it, but here I am. Up until recently, when I looked back at my life, I would have a hard time seeing the good and all I could see were the mistakes I made and all the hurt I felt. It had not occurred to me that I was not critiquing my current me, but rather my past-self. I was criticizing a little girl who just wanted to be a kid but had the weight of the world on her shoulders. All of this resentment I had held onto for so long and for what? What good did all that anger and resentment do to me? I wouldn’t treat anyone else like this, so why am I being so harsh on myself? What makes us our worst critic? If I was able to talk to my younger self, what would I say? I genuinely didn’t know up until now. If it was anyone else, I know what I would do. I would give that kid a big hug, no one– especially a child should not be forced to carry so much weight on their shoulders. I believe if I had some unbiased advice at the time, it would have been so beneficial, so here is advice I wish I could give my younger self.

  1. Cut yourself some slack

I feel like this is the best first piece of advice I could give, to be kinder to yourself. There was no reason that I should have been constantly talking negatively about myself at such a young age. It wasn’t until I realized that I would never treat someone else this way, that I finally understood the gravity that negative self-talk has on you. Now before there is any confusion, I’m not saying to not take accountability for your actions. However, accountability and blame are two different things. Blame comes from a place of shame and anger, whereas accountability comes from a place of growth and honest love. You can take accountability for your actions without tearing yourself down. You are human, you are bound to make mistakes, especially at an age where hormones are flying everywhere and your brain is not fully developed. Even when your brain does become more developed, you are still going to make mistakes,that’s simply a part of being human. 

  1. Changing yourself to be accepted by someone else will cause you nothing but pain

My whole life I used to care so much about what others thought of me. I would change myself so that I could fit in and to avoid judgment . It wasn’t until last year that I realized changing myself for someone else caused me nothing but pain. I remember looking in the mirror and wondering who the person staring back at me was. Everyone else was happy with me, except me. I wasn’t happy with the person that I was If the person you change yourself for doesn’t love you for who you are, then they don’t really love you at all.

  1. The people you spend time with will have an effect on you

Don’t get me wrong, you can hang around people who are different from you, but if they’re objectively not a good person maybe you should reevaluate your choice in friends. When I was younger, some of the people who I chose to be around were arguably bad people, but they had never said mean things or acted poorly to me so I would ignore it. Looking back, I realized that hanging out with them had a negative impact on my attitude.. Reflecting now, I am embarrassed how I acted when I was around them. Just remember the people who you surround yourself with are also a reflection of you.

  1. You are so beautiful

I spent so much of my child years critiquing myself, especially my appearance. I was “too fat”, “too skinny”, my hair was a “mess”, my smile was “crooked”. What is it within ourselves that makes us judge ourselves so harshly? All that time wasted picking myself apart could’ve been spent doing anything else. You are so beautiful.

  1. If someone genuinely loves you, they will love every piece of you

I spent two years in a relationship where I felt like I had to hide pieces of myself. It was exhausting. When someone genuinely loves you, they won’t make you feel like you have to hide yourself from them. Trust me, waiting for someone who loves every part of you is worth it!

I was really struggling with what I wanted to write for this article. I know I wanted it to be uplifting, I wanted my advice to be there for someone who maybe also is carrying too much weight all by themselves. I used to hold so much resentment for my past self. It’s true, you are your own worst critic. It wasn’t until recently that I realized who I’m critiquing, I’m not critiquing the current me, the one with a slightly more developed brain and thicker skin. I’m critiquing the little girl who didn’t know any better. My last piece of advice is pretty simple: every decision you have made, event that has happened, and breath you have taken has led you to this moment. Don’t waste it living in the past, spend it with the people you love (including yourself)! I’ve been alive two decades and when I started taking my own advice got a whole lot brighter. I’m so excited to see what the future holds!

Anna is a sophomore studying preveterinary medicine at Michigan State University and is so excited to be a part of Her Campus at MSU! Although her major is not anything writing related she has a big interest in journalism and any sort of creative writing as a whole. Anna hopes that her articles bring joy to anyone who reads them! In her free time Anna enjoys kayaking, paddle boarding, reading, and painting! Anna has pretty low expectations and is happy pretty much anywhere close to nature. If she's not on the beach, you can find Anna at a coffee house because despite having a heart condition Anna has a crippling caffeine addiction. Anna believes that she single handedly could keep Starbucks in business with the amount of times she goes a week! Anna’s one saving grace from being a woman in STEM is her dorm cat Poppy, who keeps her sane and is often featured on Anna’s social media (although some may say the amount of times Poppy is “featured” Anna’s accounts are just as much Poppy’s as they are Anna’s). You can find Anna on snapchat and instagram at “awiezperson” (a pun Anna thinks is hilarious but in all reality is not).