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A Letter to My 26-Year-Old Self

Dear Smarla,

Life isn’t black and white. In fact, I’ve come to realize that there are A LOT of gray areas and that you will run into them quite a lot. I know you have this idea of yourself, this ideal self that you want to actualize so badly, but don’t be too hard on yourself when you fall short. It’s okay. Life happens. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It only makes you human. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but do get up and learn from them.

You will end up hurting some people and that’s okay. It doesn’t make you a cruel, no matter how other people cry in front of you and tell you it’s your fault. You can’t allow yourself to be a doormat. You can’t keep pleasing everyone just because you can’t deal with the fact that you can’t always make others happy. You need to protect yourself and take care of yourself – only then can you take care of other people. It doesn’t make you selfish. You need to protect your heart first if you really want to make a difference.

Chapters end. And really, it’s okay. We say goodbye, sometimes not happy goodbyes (which HURTS A LOT), but hey, it’s part of life. Sometimes you just need to cut off certain relationships that leave you doubting yourself. Chapters in life end for a reason. They might not make sense right now or they might never make sense in your lifetime but they do happen for a reason. Sometimes that reason is too hard to comprehend by your limited capacities, but you just have to trust in Him and His bigger plan for us.

You don’t always have to keep it together. It’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay not to feel in control of your life. It’s okay not knowing where your life is heading. But don’t ever let that stop you from trying. Just stop pretending that you are okay when you’re not. Call a friend. Seek help. Go to a professional if you must. Don’t be ashamed that you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s normal. I think people, even those beyond their 20s, don’t know what they’re doing either – they’re just winging it. But don’t stop trying anyway.

Sometimes the things that we work hard for, the plans that we’ve meticulously crafted will crash. Yes, all that hard work sometimes doesn’t come into fruition. You gave it your all. You worked extra, extra hard. You made a lot of sacrifices, but still you failed. In life, in as much as it sucks, you will fail. OUCH. But that doesn’t make you a failure. It only means that you tried. Just trust that maybe He’s leading you elsewhere for awhile. Who knows, you might find yourself succeeding in that area in the future? Maybe just not now. All in His perfect timing.

Stop looking at the past and wondering if your life would be better if you made different choices. Nothing will come out of that exercise aside from regret, useless what ifs, and self doubt. Focus on the present and relish in it. Try to be at peace with the decisions you made and move on with it. There’s a reason why your younger self made those decisions at that time. Don’t let regret paralyze you.

Never ever believe the “perfect lives” that people try so badly to show to the world through their social media. Everyone is going through something. They’re just not posting them online. So be kind to others too. You have no idea what they are going through.

Stop comparing yourself to others. Don’t think that your batchmates are way ahead of you just because they seem to be living the perfect lives. Try to be happy for them instead and focus on your own path. We will all have our time. Trust in His perfect timing.

Don’t pressure yourself to “specialize”. Go ahead and explore your myriad of interests. Don’t succumb to the pressure of being good in one thing. Why can’t you be good in several things? Don’t be too hard on yourself. Let things flow but keep moving along.

Make time for yourself. Take care of yourself. Only surround yourself with people who inspire you, challenge you, and love you. Cut off toxic relationships, even friendships that have been there since forever. Allow yourself to grow with people who will grow with you. Be honest with yourself.

Lastly, you will be fine. Everything will be okay. Maybe not right now, but they will be okay. You will learn to give less f***s and you will develop thicker skin. You will learn to be more decisive. You will learn to laugh at yourself and not wallow in your mistakes. You will grow. Just keep praying and keep the faith. All is well.



27-year-old Smarla

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A Letter to My 26-Year-Old Self


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