Dear "Old Benji" - A Letter To My Younger Self
Okay world…I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written an article, and the dust on my “journal” has been accumulating more and more. It’s taken some courage and dedication to figure out what the next step was for me was after being forced to share my story publicly due to online harassment. Although many of the publications I’ve written were many years ago, countless people have decided to use my vulnerability as a weapon against me.
Am I ashamed of my past? Absolutely not. If I didn’t go through the journey that i’ve been through I wouldn’t be in the serene place that I am in my life. While I can’t go back and change the past I can grow and learn from it and become a better person. I just wish people could see the person I am today instead of holding the past over my head. So as a way to process the hurt and frustration i’ve felt the past few weeks I’ve learned that it’s a great idea to write a letter to “Old” Benji and then leave the past in the past.
Hope you enjoy.
Dear Old Benji,
It’s 2019, and things have changed. You are now a business owner, motivational speaker, and mentor to so many people across the globe. I know you feel like a mess currently, but here’s a secret: so do most people your age. Stop trying to hide your financial struggles – things will get better just stay grounded. Settle into yourself.
You will be fine. Be gentle and loving to yourself because the feelings you are experiencing are not the end of the world. I know you feel like you've had it rough. I know that you felt like you gave it everything you had and failed. But, you didn't. All you needed was guidance in the right direction, but the only person that could do that was you. Believe in yourself, young one, because you will go on to seek greater adventures. Stop wasting your time loving the all the wrong people. You should be giving the same amount of love to yourself as you gave to them. You are more than what you think you are and it will take some time, but you will realize that, I promise.
I know you feel that all this pain was going to last forever, but it doesn't. And sometimes these pains come back and haunt you but it doesn't cripple you anymore. You will appreciate yourself for not giving up because you go on to reach others and make your environment beautiful.
Back then, things were so difficult that you wanted to cut your duration here on earth short. I am so glad you didn't. Your life is a brief moment in time where tomorrow is not promised, in which you need to find yourself and discover what is around you. The world is ugly, but it tries. And you go on to learn that there isn't much you can do to change the way people think but you don't let it hinder you. You eventually learn that humanity is not what you want it to be but you can change yourself and surround yourself with people that love you. You also learn that life is a gift and that you are one, too.
Trust people. I know this is easier said than done, but you will find many people are far more trustworthy than you give them credit for. It’s your defense mechanism that is clouding your judgment of others, and not everyone will run and leave if they know the real you. In fact, the exact opposite will happen for you. The trick is to show up to relationships, share a little more of yourself than you are used to, and help others to trust you. This will be challenging, I know, but taking a few steps outside your comfort zone and letting people in will be worth it. You’ll find the more you show up on an emotional level in any relationship, the trust will be reciprocated much more easily and more often. And, when the time comes to share your story of who you authentically are, these will be the folks to lean into. They will have your back and will help you in ways that you may find unimaginable now.
Ask for help. If you only remember one thing from this letter, I hope that it’s to ask for help. You will be happy that you did, and you won’t feel as lonely and isolated. Yes, it will feel risky and awkward, but asking for help shows your strength, not a weakness. You will find that there are others who are feeling similar anxieties and fears as you, and together, you will figure things out. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that asking for help will not only assist you but will make a difference in someone else’s life, too.
Now, we have to talk about mean people, bullies, and staying true to yourself. I know this is hard to believe right now because the wounds are fresh, but one day you will talk about all the horrible things that have happened to you. You will have an amazing platform to tell your story, and show other people experiencing the same thing that they are not alone, and they have no reason to be ashamed.
You will learn that mean people never really go away, but also that it’s not about you, and that you should never change who you are because somebody else is cruel to you. Hang in there! You will find people who like you for exactly who you are.
P.S Stop eating all those gummy bears, future Benji thanks you in advance.
- 2019 Benji