Graduation was a turning point in my life. I had planned to attend the University in Milan, my birthplace, and then move to London—I was eager to leave and experience the world. I wasn’t good at enjoying the moment—my head and heart were always somewhere else.
If I could talk to my younger self, I wouldn’t try to stir her decision towards a different path because who I am today is the result of ALL my past choices. I would hold her hand and ask her to take a long breath—then I would tell her:
1. Enjoy the present moment
Time flies and when you get older you will experience moments of nostalgia thinking about your youth. Don’t run chasing the future—you can go towards it walking slower and enjoying every step. Look around and appreciate the journey.
2. Learn to see the shades of colors
Don’t live in back and white! There are so many shades of gray and there is also pink, blue, and yellow. Not all the decisions you have to take need an extreme approach—sometimes you can find a middle ground solution.
3. Don’t get stuck on the princess role
I know girls grow up with Disney pretty princesses often just waiting to be saved by prince charming—remember that love doesn’t have to go through the battle against the witch to be real. Sometimes the witch can be your fear to love or not be loved—and other times you can become the prince charming.
4. Don’t have expectations
If you give, do it because you feel it—don’t give to get something in return. In relationships, there isn’t just one way to give and show affection. If you stay open to receiving without expectations, you will be able to appreciate what is given to you.
5. Don’t take it personally
When people judge you for your behavior or choices, remember that they don’t do it to hurt you—their judgment is based on the way they see and experience the world. Maybe they are wrong, or maybe they are right—try to receive their feedback with an open mind and use it as a way to grow.
6. Trust your heart
Whatever you do, check in with your heart to make sure it’s really what you want. Sometimes you will do stupid things because you are scared of judgment and that’s part of life—just get used to listening to your heart next time. The heart doesn’t care if you neglect it for a while—it’s like an old friend and it will be there when you need it.
When I was younger, I was too impatient to stop, breathe and learn from feedback. In my adult life, yoga and meditation taught me to appreciate the present moment. I have to confess that I am still working on some of these points, but at least now I’m enjoying the journey.
Originally published at medium.com