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Tiny Wisdom: Thanking Your Former Self

“Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.” –Hausa Proverb

Last year, someone asked me in an interview what I’d say to myself, from 10 years ago, if I could meet that person now. I said something along the lines of, “Be good to yourself—you’re doing the best you can.”

She then asked what I’d say to myself 50 years in the future, if I could meet that version of me now. I answered that, to that Lori, I would say, “Thank you.”

I realized after the fact that I thanked my 80 year old self because that version of me would have presumably done everything I wanted to do in this world, and using the wisdom I gave younger me, she would hopefully have done it being good to herself.

But I recognized that it was equally important to thank myself at each step of the way—regardless of what I did, and even when I stumbled. Why? Because I was doing the best I can, and that is something worth recognizing and appreciating, not just in hindsight, but right now.

This is the time of year when many of us look back at the 365 days past and measure how much we’ve accomplished—and then look into the next 365 to detail everything we’d like to achieve.

There’s nothing wrong with making goals; in fact, I’m a huge proponent. But as we go into the next year, I invite you to join me in thanking the “us” from 2011—not just for the things we’ve crossed off our to-do and bucket lists, but for all the courage, passion, strength, and just plain good-heartedness we demonstrated.

Here is my list of “Thank yous” to me:

  • Thank you for growing a little every day.
  • Thank you for forgiving yourself when you stumbled.
  • Thank you for loving fully and vulnerably.
  • Thank you for trying new things, even when you felt scared.
  • Thank you for cutting yourself some slack when you did nothing because you were scared.
  • Thank you for using the wisdom you gained, instead of just acquiring knowledge.
  • Thank you for taking care of yourself, physically, mentally, and emotionally, more often than not.
  • Thank you for loving yourself, regardless of what you achieved.

What would you thank the “2011 you” for?

Photo by pdxap

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. An avid film lover, she recently finished writing her first feature screenplay and is in pre-production now.

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