Life would be so much easier if we could go back in time and tell our younger selves what we really needed to hear. And no, we’re not talking about the answers to that pop quiz we flunked back in high school. We’re talking about life-changing advice that could’ve saved us a ton of added stress, heartache and drama.
As kids and teens, we had to deal with things like puberty, peer pressure, bullying, popularity, crushes, and dating – all while trying to develop our own interests and values. It’s a confusing and stressful time, and it seriously sucks that we can’t use time machines to shelter our younger, naive selves from painful experiences. But at the same time, we appreciate the fact that they turned out to be teachable life-lessons that helped us grow.
To this day, there are tons of celebrities who share that same sentiment – and some even went as far as penning official letters to their younger selves. From their heartfelt words of encouragement to their hilarious tips, these words of wisdom will make even the coldest heart start to feel things.
1. Kerry Washington
Advice: “The things that challenge you the most in life are probably going to be the things that you look back on and are so grateful for because they made you better. So, the things that challenge you, try to be grateful for them and try to imagine how they have been put in your life specifically to help you.”
It’s crazy how we always tend to forget this when we’re having a tough time.
2. Shay Mitchell
Advice: “‘Don’t try and be anything that you’re not.’ I think if I could have told myself anything, it would have been, you know, celebrate who you are and celebrate your uniqueness because that’s what makes everybody special.”
Yep, we would totally tell our younger selves this, too.
3. Gabrielle Union
Advice: “One day you’ll appreciate how much your brown skin shines in the moonlight, glistens in the sun and ages ever so slowly. Don’t let that pesky low self-esteem creep in and fool you into believing that you don’t have value. Don’t allow it to crush your will or dampen your spirit.”
Gabrielle’s quote is giving us all the feels right now.
Advice: “Don’t let people scare and shame you into changing the things about yourself that make you unique and interesting. Those are the qualities that will make your life so magical. That bad girl, ‘I don’t give a sh*t’ attitude, that’ll work for a while and you will get a dollar sign tattooed on yourself that will last forever, probably. But the truth is, you don’t need to put on an act. You can just be Kesha Rose Sebert. And guess what? Apparently that’s good enough.”
We could not agree more!
5. Joe Jonas
Advice: “Don’t overanalyze things, just have fun and enjoy every minute as it comes. When you’re young, it’s easy to worry too much about what people think of you.”
This is so true – and the sad part is that even older people struggle with obsessing over what people think. Overcoming it can be tough.
6. Lindsay Lohan
Advice: “I would probably say don’t go too fast. Put yourself first, and just breathe. Be happy and always be grateful for the moment you have in front of you. Be here, now.”
Or in other words: Get off of your phone and live in the moment!
7. Liam Payne
Advice: “I’d tell myself to lighten up a bit. I was just a bit too work-concentrated because I really wanted to make it. I should have just enjoyed it a bit more. But maybe it helped us along, me being the serious one while everybody else was being more erratic?”
OK — is that a sly dig at One Direction? Not so sure, but it’s true that most of us can be so unnecessarily hard on ourselves. But it’s no fun when we allow those moments to make us all serious and uptight.
8. Queen Latifah
Advice: “If I could have talked to my 19- or 20-year-old self, I would have said, ‘You’re going to be fine. It ain’t that serious!'”
Advice like this would’ve totally saved us from freaking out over certain things, like bad grades and getting rejected by that person whose name we can hardly remember right now. Preach, Queen!
9. Mandy Moore
Advice: “When you’re older, you might not be interested in going out or exploring the nightlife but you should! Be more spontaneous. Say yes when people ask you out to dinner. Go on more trips. Don’t worry about the future — Mom and Dad will support you through every twist and turn life takes.”
This one hits home for those who spent 99.9 percent of their time indoors and avoided social events like the plague due to fear. Saying yes more often can really change your life.
10. Viola Davis
Advice: “My go-to saying is that a privilege of a lifetime is being who you are, and I would tell my younger self exactly that. You are absolutely perfect the way you are.”
So well put by the How to Get Away With Murder actress! Practicing self-love is extremely important, no matter how young (or old) you are.
11. Halle Berry
Advice: “Everything happens for a reason. The highs. The lows. It’s all for a higher development. And I would not stress about the down times. That’s part of one’s evolution.”
Our toughest times can teach us the best lessons, indeed and Halle knows this.
12. Sophia Bush
Advice: “Having a conversation about self-care and taking some of the pressure off is deeply important right now. I wish I had known prioritizing myself was okay earlier on.”
Even to this day, some of us struggle with the idea of putting ourselves first because we’re afraid it will make us look selfish. But when it comes to self-care, all of us need it and we shouldn’t be afraid to do what’s best for ourselves above all else.
13. Laverne Cox
Advice: “I want you to know you are beautiful and that you are not what all those people who don’t understand you say about you. You are beautiful, smart and amazing. You are not crazy for knowing you’re a girl. This knowledge about who you are is not a disappointment to anyone, but an acknowledgment of God’s plan for you. Don’t take your beauty or thinness for granted. You are not fat. Relish your high metabolism. It’s okay to feel the pain you’re in. It won’t kill you. The sooner you allow yourself to feel the pain, the sooner you can let it go. You deserve to be loved and cherished. Any man who doesn’t show you how much he loves and cherishes you, you need to move away from. You are divinely made and anointed.”
Excuse us while we give Laverne a standing ovation for this one. *Wipes tear from cheek*
14. Big Sean
Advice: “Your parents will be right when they tell you as a teenager that you’ll come across times when people will judge you for how you look, for you being young, black, driving in a car. They’ll tell you [that] you shouldn’t drive with your hat to the back or not wear certain clothes. You’ll think they’re crazy, but you’ll see things, like Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, names you don’t know yet, but you’ll come to know too well in the future. They’re just trying to protect you.”
This is the kind of advice that every male black kid/teen needs to hear.
15. Kelly Clarkson
Advice: “When people call you fat and imperfect, simply remember you can sing circles around them.”
Yesss Kelly! It’s always best to focus on your strengths and disregard what people have to say – because they really don’t matter anyway.
16. Solange Knowles
Advice: “At the time, you are searching. seeking in every corner and pocket of the world for who you are. Take your time, baby girl. There’s no rush to get there. You will sow each of these chapters in the land that you become. You will see bits and pieces of them scattered into the skin you grow into. You don’t have to figure everything out now. Time will reveal itself. I promise you.”
She penned this beautiful letter as if speaking to a daughter of her own and it just makes our heart melt.
17. Katie Couric
Advice: “Dear Katie, It pays to know your stuff about sports. A lot of guy talk and bonding happens over big games and great athletes, so it helps if you’re not clueless. Playing a sport like golf can be even more helpful. Whether you win or lose on the links doesn’t matter—it’s being invited to play that counts.”
Well, if you’re already sports-obsessed, then consider yourself lucky.
18. Emilia Clarke
Advice: “You’re going to feel some serious heartbreak. You’re going to feel some proper things, and the reason why it’s going to hurt so much — it’s because that heartbreak is going to make you doubt yourself. You put yourself out on a plate, and you bare everything, and someone says that they don’t really like that, so that makes you feel like you’re not worth it. But you are, and there are lots of people who are going to tell you that you’re worth it. The people in your life when all the lights are off, the real people you really love, just hug them, like every day.”
We imagine that her younger self would be in tears if she ever heard this.
19. Victoria Beckham
Advice: “Fashion will take on added stature one day, but try not to be stifled by it. You will learn, as you mature, to swap heels for Stan Smith trainers, minidresses for crisp white shirts. And you will never be one of those people who just roll out of bed.”
We wonder how a younger Posh Spice, with her flawless bob and dark mini dress, would respond to these words.
20. Michael J. Fox
Advice: “When the time comes to chase your dreams, and it will, they may seem elusive; but know you won’t catch them all at once. Just one challenge at a time. When success comes, and it will, don’t gobble it up — savor and share it, and it will last. When love comes, and it will, don’t bury it in expectation and projection — be prepared to fall in love all over again every day.”
This one deserves to be a motivational poster.
21. Kelly Ripa
Advice: “I would still tell myself to talk less, but I tell myself that every day. And I don’t listen.”
Totally not just you, Kelly. Sometimes we still don’t listen to ourselves either (that’s totally okay).
22. Judi Dench
Advice: “Don’t wear things that people tell you [that] you look good in. You almost always won’t look good in it. Often I see people and I think, ‘Does that person really like what they’re wearing or are they doing it to keep up with fashion?’”
She makes a valid point here. Wearing the latest sneakers or the most expensive clothing to be popular? It’s just not worth it.
23. Emma Stone
Advice: “Stop with the self-tanner! It’s enough.”
It’s tough to imagine the actress walking around with suspiciously orange skin. But either way, it’s great advice (and a tip I think some of us wish we knew sooner, too)!
24. Taylor Swift
Advice: “I would just tell her to do exactly what she was doing. You know, be curious about things, have an imagination, get your feelings hurt, get your hopes up and be let down and dream about things and imagine the possibilities. Yeah, you’re going to get hurt along the way, but you’re also going to feel things and you’re going to learn things and you’re gonna figure out which friends you can trust and keep those ones close to you. And I think that’s what life is about.”
We couldn’t agree more!
25. Britney Spears
Advice: “Never get married is number one. That’s probably the best advice I could give myself.”
Steering clear of wedding bells is a big one, but we don’t blame the pop star, considering how both of her marriages ended. On the bright side though, she ended up with those two adorable boys!