What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?

We asked, you submitted. These notes are heartbreaking, wise and damn funny.

As a follow up to our Letter To Myself campaign, we posed a question to our readers: What would you write to a past version of yourself? Submissions came in across social media channels and varied in tone, from insightful and emotional to sardonic and hilarious.

In the spirit of the holidays—when we should all take a moment to show love to our family, friends, and ourselves—we share with you our favorite reader-submitted letters.

“You’re Going to Be Okay”

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“You’re going to be okay. Life is going to happen and it will look nothing like you planned. Accept yourself and love yourself. Don’t believe the bullshit, you’re smarter than that.”

“There’s no point in being worried about what others think of you or second-guessing your communication skills or actions. Don’t bother having any inhibitions because hindering yourself will only prevent your ability to breathe.” —Eli

“Just know that, no matter what, your mother always has been and always will be there for you.” —Ethan

“Just stop. Stop pretending you’re something that you’re not. Stop being afraid of the unknown and what you cannot control. Stop wasting time and money on things that don’t matter. Stop being afraid of the truth. Stop letting others use you. Open your heart to new people and things. Live your truth!” —Tony

“Love Yourself”

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“Being sexually abused didn’t make you gay. There is nothing wrong with you. Stop holding in so much anger. It’s toxic. Love yourself. Nothing else matters.” – Dudley

“You are not as fat as think you are.” —Natasha

“Focus on your goals, having a boyfriend isn’t really important, care about yourself the way you want others to care about you. Tell Dad you love him back, even if it sounds weird…he won’t be around for long.” —David

“Lipstick looks good on you, go borrow some from your mother. She might even tell you the best shade. —Zedric

“Speak Up for Justice”

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“You must always speak up for justice. It doesn’t matter whose feelings you hurt or how many friends you lose. Never let them shame you into silence.” —Nani

“Defend yourself and others who need it with everything you’ve got. If no one else will stand, then stand all the same. You’ll discover that you are very much not alone after all.” —Cindy

“Don’t be afraid to be an ally for those who seem to be so different. Little did I know that being an ally would prepare me for when my own daughter came out almost 10 years ago.” —Lizzy

“Be kind to everyone, you aren’t as pretty and precious as you think.” —Travis

“Buckle Up”

Averie Woodard

“Stay home October 4, 1992.” —Troy

“Yeah, have a doctor look at that, trust me.” —Dave

“Buckle up, bitch. It’s gonna get bumpy as fuck.” —Scott

Letters were lightly edited for clarity and length.

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