What are five important values I think the younger me could have known sooner?

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If I could tell the younger me five important values that helped shape my growing up they would be to believe in your gut, speak your mind, respect and love yourself, ask for advice but don’t live by it and saying yes is great but saying no is okay too.

Believing in your own gut. It’s important to not doubt yourself or your gut feelings. I believe in intuition. Nobody knows what’s best for you other than yourself. If you have a feeling that someone or something in your life is questionable, that something is your own conscience questioning that thing. That does not mean to cut that out of your life, it just means to proceed with caution.

Speak your mind. Unfortunately, I tend to speak my literal mind. I have been through so much in my life that my filter broke. I always say what I think is right or wrong. I think if I would have known how courageous that was before I would’ve pursued numerous opportunities that I didn’t because I held my tongue. Imagine if you know 10 people, and only tell two of them your true feelings and opinions, that’s 80 percent of your personal world that doesn’t even know how you really feel, hence; 80 percent of your world has passed up opportunities to share ideas, concerns or advice. That number grows with the number of people you don’t know. The idea is to always speak your mind regardless of who thinks you’re wrong, crazy or stupid. It’s your mind and it’s brilliant, because no two minds are alike.

Respect and love yourself. This is a more in-depth concept and can only be perceived by the receiver of advice. To me, this means loving yourself the way that you would want someone to love you. This does not mean ‘masking your natural beauty’ in any way. Respect and love is something that requires being comfortable with who you are and the skin you’re in. Taking care of yourself mentally and physically, being mindful about your health and doing what it takes to keep yourself well and happy while at the same time embracing your personality and loving yourself. Don’t forget about what you deserve because of the way you feel.

The people who love you will always offer their perspective. That does not mean that you must put what they say into play and live by their advice. If your support system of friends or family offer you advice, they will not be upset if you chose not to take their advice because they love you and they understand that you will always choose what you think is best. If I would have known this when I was younger, I don’t think I would have passed on so many experiences. Remember that you are living your own life and you should live it the way you want to. Of course, I think we should always be smart and make responsible decisions.

Saying yes is okay, but saying no is okay too. Not just sex, but also events in every day life. I said yes to almost everyone because I never wanted to let anyone down. Eventually all the yes from everyone else overpowered me and I didn’t have any room for any yes for myself. I got older and decided that I wanted to make time for my own priorities. Honestly, this one is still kind of hard for me. I think finding a balance between the amount of yes that makes sense and is actually valuable in helping others, versus the amount of no put in to make room for your own priorities.