An interesting philosophical question which is also in a way healing and cathartic is to ponder, what sort of advice would you give to your five year old self? Self-help books are brimming with advice on what you should do to ‘nurture your inner child’, but really this is essentially the same as answering the question: ‘what sort of advice would you give to your five year old self, if you could go back in time?’
Sometimes in our arrogance we seem to think that we know more than the past. Yet in retrospect we realise that we knew nothing at all. Growth is in iterative process, like chipping away at a block of stone or wood to reveal a beautiful sculpture beneath.
“The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself.”– Anais Nin
“Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong.” – Zen Proverb
A letter to my five year old self:
Children can be more cruel and heartless than adults, but pay no heed to people who don’t like you or disregard you, they aren’t worthy of your energy.
Listen always to your heart and what is whispers to you about your loves, passions and interests – this voice will be a constant in your life and can be trusted. It will take you far in life, towards success, excitement, love and joy.
Trust that impulse towards voraciously gaining knowledge – knowledge as the tired old cliche goes – is power. The more knowledge you have, the more successful you will become.
Listen to your gut when you meet people. This never lies and if you inexplicably don’t like someone then trust that instinct and don’t try and engage with them. Forcing yourself to be pleasant and kind to someone you don’t trust will backfire – even if you don’t understand why at first.
Cultivate a deep sense of joy, excitement and wonder at everything in the universe -including science, history, art, books, nature and love. This is a more genuine and well-deserved kind of worship than worshiping any God prescribed to you by any religion.
Beware of false and superficial people who are negative,cruel and talk bullshit – avoiding these people will mean you have less pain and sadness in your young life.
Your mother and father aren’t gods. They are just humans with faults and fears trying to do the best for you and so when they let you down – don’t take it too personally.
Hanging out with animals seems very enjoyable and magical right now. Indeed this will continue to be the case throughout your life, animals are most of the time a lot nicer than humans.
It’s OK to enjoy being alone, the best ideas come from being alone.
It’s OK to not have too many friends. Often having many friends is unsustainable and tiresome anyway.
It’s great to have grandiose ideas. Don’t let anyone (including your parents) tell you otherwise. If you want to build a space ship then go right ahead. If you want to be an astronaut one day then put everything in place to make that become a reality. Even if it doesn’t happen or the spaceship doesn’t fly then it’s still an achievement and an adventure.
So now I pose the question to you….If you could give advice to your five year old self, what would you say?