As I was trying to figure out what to write about today, I watched interviews and talks given by successful dyslexics. A question that kept coming up was, “What would you tell your younger self?”
That’s a good one, now that I think about it.
What would I tell my younger self?
I think the answer to that question changes as we grow and develop as people, but I think I’d tell myself three things.
|Picture I’d taken with a disposable camera on one of my many solo walks when I was 10. Still think the way the light
came out is interesting looking.
Share your creative work more freely.
It may be strange for someone with dyslexia, but I’ve always loved writing. The problem was, my spelling and grammar were terrible. Those are both areas of insecurity for me, but I can usually catch errors when I look back at them.
When I was younger, the only writing I ever shared was what was assigned for school, and once we got past those stupid spelling tests, I did pretty well. If I had shared my stories with others, that interest may have been given some more support.
Constructive criticism and cruelty are two different things.
As most people I’ve talked to who have some form of learning disability know, school can be a bed of nails, when it comes to your self esteem. There’s a toxic brew of critical treatment, bullying and misunderstandings bubbling within those walls. Worse yet, it has a way of bleeding into the rest of your life, and can turn you into a person you don’t want to be.
The thing is, constructive criticism is an extremely valuable thing. It’s always delivered with your best interests in mind, and always focuses more on your work than you as a person. It’s not personal.
Cruel criticisms, on the other hand, are almost always personal. They may start out as a correction to an error of some sort, but are usually fleshed out by comments like, “Why can’t you just do this like the other kids? Are you stupid, or just lazy? GOD, you’re IMPOSSIBLE.”
There’s no reason why anyone should put up with that cruelty. Regardless of if the person is just acting out of frustration when they spew that nonsense, or if they’re truly trying to hurt you, they’re causing more harm than good.
Their actions are not your fault.
Do not give up on your interests.
I think part of why many people end up as malcontent as they are is that they abandon what they’re really interested in. Even if you need to do something else to make ends meet, you can still pursue hobbies, at the very least.
If you’re lucky enough to have a creative talent that can turn into a career, go for it as soon as possible. Even talents too many people see as “useless” like writing, art or music, can be something you can survive off of and enjoy. At the very least, having a healthy outlet for stress, pain and other emotions will help you thrive in life.
Even if you have to do something else for money, don’t give up on yourself or your passions. The creativity they’ll give you is the one of most valuable things to your mental health out there.
Obviously, I can’t talk to my younger self, and I’m not sure if the time paradox would be worth it if I could, but these three points could be of help to kids today who are in the position I was when I was that age.
What would you tell your younger self?