A LETTER TO MY YOUNGER SELF

Dear younger Soph,

Let me just start off by saying; There are so many incredible things that lie ahead for you. No matter how difficult the next few years are, you will be okay.
Things in life are going to change, that is okay. Because you will change, and you will grow into a strong woman.
These next few years you are not going to always make the right choices. There will be people who doubt you, individuals who will love nothing more than to see you fail - please do not let those people influence how you think about yourself.

Love is not all sunshine and rainbows. Love hurts but in the end it stretches and helps you grow and sharpens you.
Life can be painful and it can also get complicated at the worst of times and sometimes you will just have no idea where to go or what to do or why this is happening. You will feel lost at times, but you will learn quickly that some anxiety is a message to us that the path is simply not right. Listen to your gut and start paving a new one.

When you get to high school, it won’t be the end of your life; it will just be the start.
One day, you will look back at the girl who was full of pain, and you will be so proud of yourself, because you turned into the girl she had dreamed of being.
Please do not worry so much about what others think and be who you want to be, not who you think others expect you to be and embrace your individuality because one day it will be the ticket to success.
High school years feel like nothing more than a popularity contest, in the end you will be happier with a smaller circle of friends who will love you for who you are. Those friends will be the ones who will be there for you when life throws you curve balls. You won’t make it to University. Friends are going to leave. Some will give you reasons and some will not. It won't necessarily be pleasant, but it will be for your own good. Find the people who love you for who you are, they exist. It might take time to find them, but I promise you that you will.

Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. Slow down and enjoy the ride. Do the things that scare you. You will learn more that way, and you will end up regretting the things you didn’t do more than the things you did do.

Remember you do not always need to say what you’re thinking; even though sometimes others need to hear it, it will get you into trouble.
Discomfort ~ expect it, embrace it and never avoid it.
Trying to achieve your goals whilst trying to stay comfortable will keep you stuck. Everything is a choice. There will be challenges with anything new you put yourself into because it is all a learning curve. Trust me.

There will be a time in your early twenties where you will accept men who have zero relationship skills or respect. Where you’re made to feel insecure about yourself, which will lead you to accept far less than a self-respecting woman should in her life. You will accept less fun than you deserve. You will accept self-talk that reinforces all of the above.
Never dim your light for the sake of trying to attract or keep a man. Any person who you have to change yourself for is the wrong person for you. The same men who attempt to devalue women are the same ones who seek validation, they never tell the full story…just the parts that make you look “crazy”. You will learn from this experience greatly - Let him go. Trust me, he is not worth it.

This all changes for you when you turn 23 and realise you’ve already known your best friend and love of your life for a long time now, you just did not know it yet.
A man who not only puts up with your quirks (like your obsessively healthy diet), but will teach you how to laugh at them and love them, removing any insecurity. 
Things will move quickly for you both, you will marry him 18 months later, people will judge you for that, and also for your 12-year age gap. Don’t give a shit what they think or say. Because you are both going to bring each other so much happiness and he will change the perception you currently have of the world and turn it into something beautiful, raw and real - If they want you, trust me they will climb a mountain to find you. 
You will teach each other so much, you will both learn how to appreciate the best parts of life and find meaning in the things that you are both overlooking to find the things that truly matter. This will take time, it won’t always be easy or perfect or beautiful but it will be so unbelieveably worth it! I promise. 

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Hold onto moments not just the highlights but also the low points, the emotions and the feelings. Your life will be very busy. You love being busy. I understand that. But always take the time to remember and appreciate what others do for you, and what they mean to you. You’re not going to have all the answers even when you’re older, and that’s okay because most people don’t. There is so much beauty in the unknown. 

You are going to have some incredibly huge emotional struggles, there will be some losses, do not be afraid to face them head on. You will discover grief does not disappear. This may take you by surprise, but you will learn that love continues to grow after death. You’re going to walk through grief but you’re going to come through the other side a stronger, braver woman.

You will end up helping others. But first you’ll need these experiences to gain the knowledge to do so. You and your voice have value, but you need to love yourself first before anyone else will. Find the time to do what you love everyday because that’s what will give you your energy. Each experience and chapter is part of the beautiful person you will become.
Every day live life to the fullest. It will never be this way again.

It is going to get harder than you think you can handle on more than one occasion but please remember you’re okay. Life is not always okay. But you are! Enjoy the present, really live in it. The future will come. 

A couple of things to keep in mind ~ 2018 will be a huge year of growth and learning for you. You will experience betrayal from people you considered to now be family, which will sting you, worse than all others, it will break a secret code but you will rise above it and discover that it’s only making them selves feel better. It will take some time but you will eventually stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings and emotions and stop putting an effort into those who show no effort towards you. Remember someone’s effort is a reflection of his or her interest in you. Cultivate growth from your own grief and pain. A huge change you will make is what and who you listen to (including your own inner voice).
You will learn how to treat your body and mind well this year, not just physically but emotionally and how to also treat those around you.

But please don’t ever settle for the easy way just don’t settle, period. Life is too short!

Remember that this current version of yourself loves you, and that’s not going to change. People will say hurtful things that will get you down, but do not get lost in it, pick yourself up and realise there will always be people like that in this world. It’s not your fault.

Love future Soph, x

“You may not see it today or tomorrow, but you will look back in a few years and be absolutely perplexed and awed by how every little thing added up and brought you somewhere wonderful - or where you always wanted to be. You will be grateful that things didn’t work out the way you once wanted them to.”