Even though you struggled then.
Even though you complained then.
Even though you didn't quite know then what you know now; and even if you did, you didn't do it very well.
Even if you went the other way instead of this way.
You are still useful. Your Story of then still has meaning and purpose. Your Story of then can still ignite passion in others and inspire creativity for a different perspective.
As a young mother - a freshly new mother - I handled things differently than I think I would now. And tempted as I am to regret the before, I can't. That was me then. I did the best I could then.
And now? Now I can look at things differently and think how grateful I am to see through a clearer lens. My lens today has six years bringing it more clarity and greater focus on what really matters. And yet today will look so cloudy years from now, just as years before look cloudy today.
It's all about perspective to realize that every part of the story is still useful.
My experiences as a freshly new mother enable me to be more encouraging to someone today. Not to do anything different, really. But mostly to respect, honor and love herself.
I see that a little bit clearer today. I understand the importance of that kind of love more than I did even an hour ago. It really is important to respect ourselves by doing what feels comfortable to us, most especially.
When asking my mother which shoes I should wear, she would always say "what feels the most comfortable" and that would prompt me to think of practical comfort over fashion.
That same mother of mine would encourage me to do things for myself and to take care of myself, first. I didn't understand her. I thought that I could wait. But I couldn't.
I need to honor my true self by doing things the way it feels most comfortable for me, not how I should do things according to him, or her, or pop culture. I need to honor that innate prompting inside me that steers me toward my natural inclination of doing things my unique way.
I need to love my true self by accepting that I will have bang-ups and hang-ups, and that doesn't mean that I am any less worthy. Tomorrow I will learn something about today, even though today I made adjustments from what I learned yesterday. I'll always have room to grow, and yet loving my true self accepts my whole self.
I need to respect my true self by making adjustments along the way that bring me back to honor and love for myself.
So much to ponder about honor, love and respect for ourselves, and I'll save that for another day.
But today - today I choose to be thankful that my Story is still useful. Even though it wasn't what it would be today, if I had it to do over again, the then is still filled with use and purpose.
How about you? What can you see in your life then that is still useful today, when you thought it wasn't?