Hey, hey, hey. Welcome to Souls Undressed. My name is Tori Rankovich, + I am your host today. Today’s episode is, “A note to our younger selves: A community interview.” I am super excited to share this one with you today. There’s not going to be a whole lot of me just talking to talk. I took it upon myself to do some podcast research if you will for this episode. I asked a variety of people to comment on their notes that they would say to their younger selves or something they would say to someone who’s going through a transition out of one phase into another.
What my favorite part about this whole process so far has been reading through all these responses + seeing the vulnerability + transparency. The way that so many people really showed up for their younger selves + were like, “Hey, this is what I wish I would have known. This is what would have helped me. This is what I love to pass on to the next generation.” That’s super beautiful.
Never had a lot of you who submitted your responses. So that was really neat + special to see this community come together to share advice for our younger selves + future generations but also a message to ourselves + to our inner children. One thing that I hope you’ll notice from all this is that even though it may have been submitted to me in the perspective of speaking to their younger selves or speaking to another younger person these are also things that we need to hear + remind ourselves of as adults.
If you are here, trust that it is for a good reason. Trust that you have not found this episode by mistake. Trust that you won’t have to listen to me ramble as much in this episode as you might in others. I have taken the time to callus my hands + write 4 pages worth of notes to your younger selves that were submitted. There are a couple in here that are mine. There’s some I tacked on my own follow-up thoughts on to the end.
I was going to tell you which one that was but I decided I’m not going to share who submitted which comments. If you’re a part of the Souls Undressed Community you might be able to look into that yourself but who it comes from really isn’t that important unless it’s that person hearing it. What’s really important to me in this episode is giving each of those voices a platform + giving each of us time to recognize the place that our voices come from + our advice to ourselves + to others’ matters.
The quote today that I am going to share is by RM Drake. It came to me in my newsfeed a few days ago on Facebook + as soon as I read it I knew it was it. This one is not directly from my physical vision board but it is one that I save to print out for my next batch of vision boards. Without further ado,
“This is your life. You’re allowed to change your mind. To change your heart. You’re allowed to be a different person. To wake up one day + not want to do the things you’ve been doing all your life. You’re allowed to love who you want. To move on from the people who are not good to you. To let go of anyone without any kind of explanation. Without any kind of regret. You’re allowed to make mistakes. + to learn from them or not to learn from them + experience everything all over again. You’re allowed to forget your past if you want to or to stay in it. But you must also understand that this is not how you will grow. You’re allowed to change careers. To dress differently. To chase different dreams. To change locations even if at first you’re terrified to do so. You’re allowed to dislike yourself but also allowed to change those same parts you don’t see eye to eye with. To work on them until you’re completely comfortable with who you are. This is your life. Make it count. Make your own validation your own path your own way of life. You are enough + you are not broken. You are a lot stronger than you want to believe. Now breathe.”
- RM Drake
Absolutely love that one. As soon as I read it, it definitely moved me. I knew it was for this episode. While I do hope this episode finds younger ears getting out of middle school, high school, college, getting out of early relationships with someone you thought was the one but wasn’t, sticking in first relationships that you thought were the one but you know aren’t the one but you haven’t left yet, I just hope it can find you in some sort of insight. That it can bring you some sort of piece + really accompany you on your journey. You can revisit this episode as often as you want. It can be a positive snippet full of little takeaways + I encourage you to take what you need + leave what you don’t.
Like I said in the intro this got so many good responses. So many people came together in this community to share their advice + their input. I really don’t think there’s any right or wrong way to take this episode in. I just hope you do because I think it’ll pick you up. Things I would say to my younger self. These first two are from me. Take the trip. If you feel like you probably won’t get this time again to take a trip, go see something, to go see someone, that you won’t have these funds readily available, that you won’t have the opportunity to just hop on a plane whenever you want. Go! You can not mess that up. I’m telling you. Your money will rebuild in your bank account. If your bills are paid + your debts are paid, take the trip. I’m speaking to you from experience.
Last year I just had this huge urge to go travel for the last 2 years. Go travel. Go see my friends that moved away. Get out of town while I could. Visit them in the summers, thanksgiving + winter breaks. Whenever. Now I don’t have the time to do those things as often because my business is busier. I’m building + expanding. One of my best friends that I would always go visit is due with a baby any freakin minute.
So if I wouldn’t have taken all those trips + we wouldn’t have gone where we went when we did, I wouldn’t have had those opportunities again for another 5 or 10 years. Things change + life shifts + if your intuition is telling you to go, listen to it. It’s trying to help you out. Hop on the flight. Get out there. Take a lot of pictures + videos. Relive it while you’re stuck at home.
My other piece of advice, breathe often + so much deeper than what naturally comes to you. Don’t just take your involuntary breathing at face value + think it’s fine because you’re alive. You need to intentionally deep breathe. Make sure that you’re grounding yourself in that because if you’re not taking the time to take deep breaths often + not recentering yourself in that you’re holding your breath so often throughout the day. Chances are your heart rate is going to be higher, your anxiety if you have it is going to be higher, you’re going to feel tenser, you’re going to have muscles around your rib cage + neck that are going to be tense, just breathe more often. That’s my advice.
Avoid or stop stressing over the things you can’t control. I think with this one that teaching ourselves to look for the function or the why of our stress or our worrying helps us learn what we’re worried about, what's out of our control + helps us acknowledge whether or not it’s in our control. It’s one thing to say stop stressing over the things that you can’t control but I think it’s more realistic to gain some control over that impulsive worry or stress + try to understand why it is that you feel reactive. I think that’s the difference between being young + still being young. My experience is just acknowledging you can learn something rather than lighting yourself on fire + running around in circles because you’re stressed or anxious. You can take the observer role + learn from that.
You are not what others say you are or have said that you are. You are not what others said to you. I want to add to that + tell you to find humans who remind you of this often. A lot of us grow up with really messed up home lives. No, it’s not messed up all the time. Maybe you have more than one space that you call home and maybe only one is messed up. For those of us that grow up in a situation that allows us to be spoken to in ways that tear us down or we are bullied into situations that allow us to be torn down in different ways. It’s important to remember that you are not those things. Those situations are not about you. They’re about the person lashing out at you. Which is still not your problem, not your fault, not in your control. I love that one. Remembering that you are not what people say you are. You’re not what people have done to you. You’re not what people say to you.
Do not settle. You have a lot of time, + hours, + days ahead of you. Seriously hope that you will challenge the urge to just settle + find contentment. Instead, build up some strength + momentum. Encourage to find the strength to go after what’s right for you. It’s so easy to be exhausted or to be pessimistic or feeling down on your luck just accept what you got. Maybe growing up you didn’t see the best examples so there’s something deep down in you that believes what you have is the best you can get.
I am telling you right now that if you have an intuition that’s telling you this is not the best you can get or that this isn’t right or that something’s not matching you were gifted with that intuition so that you can guide yourself away from that. You have to realize that you are in control + the courage + strength muscle that you have to work to build up. Just like any other muscle, just like my biceps if I want to be able to bench press things. I have to train those + work those up to be successful with that.
Learning to challenge myself when my mind is tired or when I emotionally just want to settle is something that will take you so far. It’s something that a lot of adults also haven’t mastered which is why I was saying at the beginning of this episode I think it’s perfect for adults + young humans of the like. That’s the magical part about asking people to say things to their younger selves.
Sometimes the easy path isn’t the right one. That applies to everything + don’t settle. Settling is so much easier. Clinging to comfort is so much easier than working to understand what’s not fitting + then doing what it takes to put the leg work in to change it. Don’t settle + don’t just try to go for the path of least resistance because you’re never going to grow if you just keep driving yourself straight into the path of least resistance + what you’ve always known. If you always do what you’ve always done you’re always going to get where you’ve always gone. I love that quote.
Avoid trying to make everyone around you happy + instead do what’s best for you. You’ll sacrifice so much of yourself by focusing on pleasing people all the time. I can confirm that. That is so accurate. I wouldn't say I grew up a people pleaser. I grew up learning how to keep the peace. I don't think that’s always being a people pleaser. It’s a people pleaser to the people who you think you have to keep peace with but everyone else I wasn’t worried about being a people pleaser with.
After I got sad after my brother died my mental health + trauma base shifted again. I would say even after my childhood sexual abuse trauma the people-pleasing definitely shifted because you start to seek out a form of comfort + security when you find it. I think that pleasing people come with that. Maybe this is something too if you are younger or even if you’re an adult + you’re listening and taking control again. Don’t settle. Don’t take the path of least resistance.
Do what you can to heal those trauma-based triggers + that trauma-based people-pleasing that happens because you can do so much for yourself when you step out of that belief that it is your job to fix the piece for everyone. I would also say if you’re younger + you’re listening request therapy. Request that support from the adults in your life. If the adults in your life won’t get it, request it at school. School is like your work. You get the opportunity to request what you think you need. Advocate for yourself. If you ever need any assistance in that just reach out to me. I would love to teach you how to be your own advocate.
Always speak up for yourself. Other people’s happiness is not your responsibility. I am going to quote my husband Andrew, who said, “Each person makes their own bed at night + they lay in that bed every night when they go to sleep. They can either choose to continue laying in that bed with exactly how it feels in their own filth or in the discomfort of the life that’s around them, or they can lay in that bed + decide what they’re going to fix next or what they’re going to adjust next.
We can not decide whose bed needs fixing + we can’t decide who to save. I always want to underline that piece of advice hugely because I think that when you sacrifice your own happiness for somebody else + that connects to the one before this, people-pleasing. You are not only sacrificing what you want but you’re sacrificing what is right too. Especially if you know it’s not right for others.
Always be kind + be inclusive. That one is good enough as it is.
There will always be another struggle + you’re never going to please everyone. Focus on yourself + ignore the bullshit everyone is trying to throw at you. Can you feel the common themes yet? You have to take care if you don’t settle. Being isolated from family + friends is not normal. Being called normal + threatened is not love. Stop being afraid because one day you will find someone who will love you as you’ve never been broken. Life is too short to live each day in fear if he hits you once he will hit you again. Doing things differently from the way that everyone else is doing them is absolutely okay. Don’t beat yourself up over meeting other people's expectations. Stand up for yourself + others. Call people on their bullshit when you witness it. Challenge people when you know what they’re saying + doing is wrong to others.
This one is one of my favorites. Adults aren't always right just because they’re adults. You don’t ever have to prove yourself to anyone. You should write that one on your mirror. Do what makes your heart feel whole. That is something that comes with getting older is recognizing what it feels like when your heart feels whole but I think that’s something that we learn as we get older that we recognize because when we’re younger we’re not taught to hear + listen to our intuition.
We’re taught to obey expectations that are handed down to us from our parents or guardians. It’s almost like our early twenties are about understanding our intuition that we naturally could hear but then were taught not to listen to. That’s something super interesting when you’re growing up, pay attention to what feels freakin good. Just pay attention to what makes you feel whole + not feel the need to pick up your phone. What is satisfying + wholesome to you as is.
The things you’re stressing about won’t matter in 2 years. If they will matter in 2 years, please go get help now so that you can get a head start on your healing. You’re about to grow into an even better version of yourself than you could have even imagined. Trust the process. Actions speak louder than words, trust your intuition when you feel like someone has wronged you. There we go again with that intuition. Value your time, your mind, + your body. For all of us that didn’t have people reminding us of that through all phases of life just take a moment to soak that one in.
Forgive yourself for not knowing at the time because one day you’re going to realize that that was exactly what led you to be who you are right now. Everything is going to be a growth experience + you can’t expect yourself to know everything. It’s okay to fail + failing doesn’t mean that something wasn’t meant to be. It’s also okay to quit when something isn’t working. Amen to that. I have talked about that topic more than once on this podcast but it is okay to quit something that does not work. That is not working that does not feel right. That doesn’t fulfill your soul. That doesn’t refill your cup.
However, you need to look at it if it’s not serving you and find something new. Do you know how many jobs there are in this world? Do you know how many opportunities there are to use your creativity + do what it is that you love to serve other people? You just have to be willing to step away from that. It’s scary. I get it. I know. I did it. I understand but it’s so freaking worth wild. So if you’re thinking about it I really think that you just need to trust yourself. It’s also okay to change your mind the day you’re supposed to get married. It doesn’t matter what others say. It will only hurt you, in the long run, to choose pleasing others over your own needs + desires. Trust your gut. She knows what she’s talking about. I love that.
Learn + grow from whatever feels like a failure because when the time is right you’ll be so much more prepared. That one. That’s so big. If it feels like a failure, look at it, reflect on it, see where you can grow, + the next time that opportunity comes around you will smash it out of the park. Seek out values. Real values that truly matter to you. Not just past times. Not just shared opinions passed around on the internet. Create boundaries. This one was submitted so many times. Create boundaries. Know how you deserve to be treated + then hold every single person who gets access to your time to that standard. You deserve to be honored + respected at the level of respect that you deem necessary. It’s not up to other people’s lifestyles. It’s not up to how other people allow themselves to be treated. The respect that you consider necessary to yourself should be expected + demanded from everyone + anyone who gets your time + attention.
Forgive yourself + others because chances are all humans are just as lost as you are. Don’t light yourself on fire to keep others warm. This is something my therapist has said to me more than once. You have to take care of yourself to take care of others. New chapters are exciting. Keep looking forward because you can’t go back + rewrite the last chapter. Make the most of it here + now. Be kind to yourself but also prioritize discipline. Discipline is something I wish I had learned sooner in my life. It’s definitely something I lack. I give myself a lot of grace which because I have a lack of discipline, turns into making excuses for myself + that’s not something I do super often but I do catch myself feeling bad or harsh on myself.
Stop coloring your hair. Save your money but also save your patience. Embrace change. It is honestly the fighting against the change that hurts. Just remember this is all temporary. Don’t let other humans get you down. Careless about what others think + do more of what makes you happy. Save sentimental things. Minimalism is cool for some stuff, but you’re going to miss the things that you wish you kept + that meant the most to you. Love yourself first. So true.
This is another fave. Complicated memories aren’t fixed by nights you won’t remember. Stop making yourself small in every way. Physically, mentally, emotionally. Stop making yourself small to make other people feel more comfortable. Don’t spend so much money on booze. Fix your sleep schedule. It helps you feel better mentally. Lord knows we can all use some of that.
Taking the time to evaluate yourself + figure yourself out is hard but it’s also very rewarding. Stick with more hobbies. Keep dancing. Don’t try to figure out people who don’t want to figure themselves out. Your parent’s mistakes aren’t the framework for how your life will play out. People will make you feel that it is the longer you believe this the longer you’ll be led astray from your success. Don’t be a statistic. Defy the odds. Stay true + love yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you your feelings don’t matter because they’re valid + they do.
It really is okay to not be okay sometimes. Don’t downplay your feelings + emotions because it makes others feel uncomfortable. You are entitled to be a human. Period. You are the person you spend forever with. Make sure you take care of yourself first or you'll be in no position to love others or yourself. Put yourself as your first priority. Love yourself + your journey + romanticize it as often as possible. Put time + love into yourself instead of seeking it from others + see what happens. Your creativity isn’t weird + their opinions don’t matter anyway. I promise you it gets better than this. Listen to yourself + trust your instincts.
It’s okay to not have a fucking clue. I think we get so caught up in trying to have it all figured out + we have to know exactly what’s going on or exactly what our next move is. It’s okay to not know. Stay strong but at the end of the day look in the mirror + breathe because it’s one thing to have emotions but to feel them is what will set you free. It doesn’t make you valuable. Humans break things so stop giving pieces of yourself to the undeserving ones. Be the truest you always are. Keep a positive circle. You first, men second.
Laugh + dance it off. Worry less, pray more. Give yourself grace when you make mistakes. Love your body + all that it does for you. Small acts of kindness go so far + can impact sometimes life in a way you’d never imagine. Parts of your journey are going to be painful but remember that they are needed to get you where you want to be. Have faith + never forget that you are not alone on this road. Ignore people's opinions of you. If you are happy + kind + living life the best you can then that is all that matters.
Another goodie. Dear Younger Self, beyond following your heart before having a gut feeling there is the slightest whisper that happens. It’s the thing that makes up if you know what's wrong or right. The difference between harmful + harmless. There will be times life seems fun or new or thrilling. There will be times you want to ignore the whisper because you want to enjoy yourself. Try to be something you're not or put trust in others who may not deserve it. Well, your whisper is always right. Not everyone can allow themselves to hear it, feel it, + follow through. Following through will absolutely still allow you to have amazing + unique experiences. In extreme cases, it will save your ass.
You will not grow up knowing what it felt like to have healthy adults help lead you to a paved road. It will be difficult to find your way. Listen to the whispers + learn from others’ mistakes. Learn at least one positive thing from every experience, good or bad. Take time to learn how to communicate your feelings. Try not to hide from emotional fears. Also never expect respect but always show it to others first. But that doesn’t mean let people walk on you. Just because someone seems to be an authority or superior to others does not mean they are. This alone should get you to 30.
Last two. Always be kind + do the extra. Even for those, you’re not keen on it. That was from one of my favorite elderly people + she’s not even elderly but she’s my elder + she’s been a great teacher. She said that was one of her biggest regrets. Finally, always put others first. If you do that others will put you first. Which is kind of funny to end on because all the rest of them talked about taking care of themselves. I think that like I said you have to take what serves you + leave what doesn’t. I really hope that each of these things can help you explore your own mind + explore your own needs. Maybe even gain some awareness with your inner child + ask him or her what they need from you + which of these things really resonated. Helped you feel seen.
Thank you so much for listening to this sweet little episode. I will totally be sure to do more community interviews for future episodes. That was so fun to be able to take everyone’s advice + give it a central hub to push out to you wherever it is that you’re listening from. If you loved this episode be sure to let me know in a review. I choose random people from reviews to send a random gift to. Just as a thank you for listening + giving your feedback.
We also have The Souls Undressed Podcast Community Facebook page. Or you can check us out at Souls Undressed Podcast on Instagram. I'm always there to get back to you in my dms. I’ll be posting future questions like the ones we answered today on my stories + in photo captions. Both on Instagram + Facebook page. If you wish to have your feedback be included in any future episodes keep an eye out for those so you can do so. Thank you again for listening. I’ll chat again soon with you. Talk with you later.
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