Kelsey Hoeper, Elyssa's Mission Volunteer

Kelsey Hoeper,
Elyssa’s Mission Volunteer

Kelsey Hoeper is an Elyssa’s Mission Volunteer. Kelsey explores the wisdom that she would share with her younger self if she were there to coach her. Her beautiful and sensitive insight moves us to consider changing the story we tell ourselves to a more positive and loving one.

If only we could actually do this—travel back in time to meet our younger selves. We would be able to warn ourselves about the boy who would break our heart, decide against dropping $100 on something we don’t need and stepping in the way of someone headed for self-destruction. Maybe even keep someone’s secret (about a crush) longer than a week because when you’re 10 years old, two weeks can be an eternity.

I can think of many things I wish I could have done differently. Things I wish I would have said and otherwise kept to myself. But most of all, I wish I could have taught myself to think differently. I wish I had told myself repeatedly that I was smart, talented, creative and strong. That I was worthy of good things and that people would grow to love me if I let them. Instead I told myself I was ugly, too short, not skinny enough, friendless and painfully awkward. This wasn’t always my thought pattern, but it certainly dominated a lot of my self-talk. I wish 24-year-old me could get ice cream with my 11-year old self. We wouldn’t talk about calories; we would just enjoy the living earth, wind and fire out of our whipped cream and hot fudge. I wish we could go swimming together and pretend we were mermaids. I’d tell younger me that I was a natural-born swimmer; that the water could be a sanctuary when I wanted to escape. We wouldn’t talk about my body in a swimsuit. We would just play. Own it, girl. Every day.

Well, we can’t go back in time. None of us. Our younger selves are now just past versions of us. A book in the making, an unfinished painting. But luckily for us, those pieces of our former selves are still with us. We grew from those versions. We’re here because of them. So please do yourself a favor: tell yourself how worthy you are. If you’re going by a scale, you’re at a 10. No—a 20! Please tell yourself that you deserve good things. You deserve to join the rest of us, and you have the power to go your own way. Fight for what you want. Settle and fall into peace with this current version of you. Make positive changes. Try new things. Explore the version of you that’s ready to burst onto the scene.