13 things you'd tell a younger you

Woman thinking

In need of some inspiration? Well, pause the TED talk, because for International Women's Day (Sunday 8 March) we rounded up the 13 pieces of advice Mumsnetters would give to their younger selves. Prepare for a wisdom overload.

It's OK to be assertive

It's OK to be assertive

“It's a HUGELY beneficial skill that I wish I'd developed many years ago. You'll come across particular personalities that are used to getting their own way constantly, and you'll learn that being firm is the only way to deal with them.”

“You don't have to be walked over by men at work. It doesn't matter if they don't like you, or if they consider your behaviour 'unfeminine'. That behaviour is designed to keep women down.”

Your voice is important

Your voice is important

“Your voice is a powerful thing, and words are powerful too. Don't be afraid to use it but be careful with what you say.”

“There are probably hundreds of times when I wish I'd spoken up and just said what I wanted to say. At the time I was too afraid of what people might have thought of me, in case I was wrong. I regret that now.”

Choose your friends wisely...

Choose your friends wisely...

“Surround yourself with good people/people who you aspire to be like. Do not fill your life with people who bring you down.”

...And nurture those friendships

...And nurture those friendships

“Never take friendships for granted. The most seemingly strong bonds can founder and collapse in moments. You may think that your 20-year friendship is one for life, but it might not be. So if it matters to you, look after it.”

You don't have to say 'yes' to everything

You don't have to say 'yes' to everything

“Know what your boundaries are, and that it's OK to have them.”

“You don’t have to do things just because they're meant to be fun. I wasted so much time and money on work nights out, clubbing and bar-hopping when I genuinely would have preferred to be at home, winding down with a wine and a book. Now I don't bother with things I don't want to do, and I'm so much happier.”

It's OK to put yourself first

It's OK to put yourself first

“You really can focus on yourself and your family – you don't need to please everyone else around you. I used to run myself ragged by bending over backwards for people, afraid that they'd think less of me. Now I say 'no' without hesitation, and I'm in a much better place for it.”

“Other adults are responsible for their own happiness – it's not your job to fix them. Help if you can, but don't sacrifice yourself in the process.”

Don't worry about whether everyone likes you

Don't worry about whether everyone likes you

“Don't waste time on trying to appeal to everyone. Who gives a sh*t what most people think? If they're not your closest family/dearest friends/colleagues who you have to see every day, then who cares? You'll most likely never see them again, and forget about each other immediately.”

“The thing is, most people probably aren't even thinking about you – they're too busy worrying about what other people think of them. So it's all pretty negligible at the end of the day.”

Don't be a slave to opinion

Don't be a slave to opinion

“Doing the prestigious job won't necessarily make you happy. I ended up ditching mine for one people consider 'menial' – and I'm much happier. It's free from politics and mind games, and I can leave it behind me when I go home.”

“There's a lot of snobbery in society around certain hobbies/pastimes. I've always loved watching TV – I enjoy seeing how the characters develop and reading up on how the shows are directed and written. I used to find this (being a 'telly addict') embarrassing, but I don't care anymore.”

And don't make excuses for others

And don't make excuses for others

“Don't 'make allowances' for other people's behaviour, at work or at home. It's OK to accept an apology but don't make their excuses for them.”

A relationship is not the be-all and end-all

A relationship is not the be-all and end-all

“Don't think that your happiness depends on another person. Be happy with yourself and your own company and then, when a lovely person enters your life, it'll enhance it – not define it.”

“I stayed far too long in a relationship because I thought no one else would want to be with me. I'm so much better being single than I was in a bad relationship.”

“Leaving is far less scary and far less awful than you think it will be. In fact, you'll find that it's sort of lovely most of the time. So stop wasting your time in sh*t/mediocre relationships and focus on yourself.”

Be nice to yourself

Be nice to yourself

“Be as kind to yourself as you are to others. If you can accept/forgive something in others, you can forgive it in yourself, too.”

Remember that nobody really knows what they're doing

Remember that nobody really knows what they're doing

“Nobody gets parenting exactly right. Most parents are learning as they go, making mistakes along the way. It's the same with life in general.”

And, finally, authenticity is key

And, finally, authenticity is key

“Stop filtering yourself in the hope that people will like you. It’s too much effort and you'll find it doesn’t work anyway. Just be yourself and accept that some people will like you, and some people won’t.”

Got your own pearls of wisdom you'd like to share? Start your own thread on our Chat forum.



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