8 Things I Wish I Could Tell My 8-Year-Old Self

  1. It’s going to get better. You cannot imagine how much.
  2. But first, it’s going to get way, way worse. Some of it will be evil people doing evil things. Some of it will be self-absorbed people doing thoughtless, cruel things. Some of it will be good people acting from a hellish brew of good intentions and spiritual laziness. The way you’re going to be treated is inexcusable; it’s ugly; it is not okay. Please don’t forget that.
  3. That said, no matter how personal it felt at the time, most of it truly wasn’t about you. It was about their own (sometimes literal) demons, or you were in their way somehow, or they really were trying to help, and radically misunderstood the situation. I don’t know if that makes it worse or better, but anyhow, that’s how it is.
  4. You will want to hate them. Well-intentioned people will tell you that hatred doesn’t do anything; it’s not true. Hatred is a cheap source of real power, and that’s going to be very seductive when you’re feeling powerless. But it’s a trap; hatred damages your soul in ways that are very hard to repair. It’s not worth it.
  5. You have all the same desires and drives as the people who hurt you. Find the seeds of the same words, actions, and attitudes in yourself. Know them, and know them well. Don’t fall into the trap of focusing on other people’s sins rather than your own; that’s the easy way out. Do the hard work.
  6. The work is going to bear fruit. You are going to take the wreckage that these people made of you — and, let’s face it, that you made of yourself — and rebuild it into something beautiful.
  7. Believe it or not, you won’t have to do it by yourself. Good people will befriend you, and lift you when you don’t have the strength to stand. Some of the most profoundly broken people you’ll ever meet will love you and care for you when they don’t have to. Those are the ones that will put you back together, buddy. And believe it or not, God is going to do absolute miracles on your behalf. You’re not going to believe it til it happens, but that’s how it plays out.
  8. Coming full circle: It’s going to get better. Your life is going to be rich beyond your wildest dreams. Wish I could tell you how it all turns out, buddy, but I can’t. Truth is, I’m still waiting to see how it turns out, myself. But this is what I know so far.

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