This year on International Women's Day I reflected back on little Cristina and what her goals and fears were. It saddened me to think of all the hours wasted worrying about the way I look, and being fearful to try out for things because I thought I wasn't good enough. But there's no shame in this, I know I'm not the only young girl who had these feelings, so I set about asking the amazing team of women that I get to work with every day what they wished they could tell their younger selves. It was also an excellent excuse to see their baby photos.

I'd love to hear in the comments, what you would tell YOUR younger self!

Evelyn, Video Production Manager

"Forget about what you suck at and focus on what you excel in. The answer to 'what's your biggest weakness' will probably stay the same for the rest of your life and that's okay."

This would have helped me avoid pretending to be someone I can never be, and work harder on what already naturally makes me amazing. #boop

Gerilyn, Senior Copywriter

Well, I would say what I actually said to my younger self whilst growing up:

"You're a great person! Just because people are making fun of you for being a weirdo (yes, I was kind of weird... but whatever), that doesn't mean you're not a great person. One day, you're going to be cool and that day is going to be the BEST day!"

I know that it made an impact. Growing up, I needed to believe in that mantra because I felt isolated; I had to be my own best friend for a very long time. To this day, I still talk to myself in this way in moments of doubt or insecurity. The weird little Black girl grew up... and I think she's pretty cool.

Cristina, Managing Editor

"You are good enough. Apply, audition, try out, and go for everything you want. You're good enough! If they turn you down, try again. It doesn't mean you're not worthy - they might just be busy, or they just didn't see it, or timing wasn't right. Be persistent and try again."

I think the most dangerous side of low self esteem is that you see everything through that lens. Every little thing that happens reaffirms what you already thought, it's a spiral! I remember when I was in 5th grade I wanted to try out for a team but I thought "everyone's already been doing this for years, I have no experience, I won't be any good and it's too late for me to start now." At 9 years old, I thought it was too late to start something! Looking back there are countless things that I didn't even try to do because I thought I wasn't good enough for them. It's a good reminder for me even today.

Fran, Graphic Designer

"Stop worrying. Calm down. Deep breathes. Everything will be fine. Trust the process."
I remember when I first started college I had this fear that I would fail out or that things wouldn’t work out. I was the first one in my family to go to college, I had no idea what to expect. Then the pressure of picking the right major… and if it’ll lead to the right career path. I used to put myself through so much stress over everything including the smallest things that probably didn’t matter to anyone except myself, it was exhausting. I wish I could have given myself that extra reassurance to the younger me, slipped in the scripture Jeremiah 29:11. Though college was great and everything did work out, I could imagine how it could have been if I worried about everything less; I would have trusted the process and lived more.

Devri, Content Editor

"Do more of what you want to do instead of putting everyone else's needs first. Stop caring so much--and put that negative voice in your head on mute whenever it gets too loud and distracting."

I grew up in a big family and always had a lot of friends, and up until just maybe 5 years ago, always felt pressured to impress those close to me. I would feel like I was the 'model citizen' of my family because of the pressure and spotlight they placed on, which sometimes made me feel like I couldn't be completely myself as a child and teenager. I'm glad I finally broke out of that. Once I realized that my family, friends, and partner would love me regardless of my personal choices, I freed my mind and body of self-imposed doubts.

Lauren, Content Editor

“The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.”

As someone who can be very sensitive to outside opinion’s of others while also trying to manage a self-identity, knowing this when I was younger would have greatly influenced my idea of me and my confidence. As a young perfectionist and someone who never really quite fit in, yet always had a bunch of “friends”, I often felt very isolated as I didn’t quite know why I was not very happy with solitude and I didn’t know what self-care was. Now as I grow into my womanhood, I find solace in the fact that I am a dynamic individual who deserves to treat myself with gentleness and compassion. I can fearfully take on the ebb and flow’s of life, while working on my best relationship; the one I have with myself.

Nikki, Video Production Manager

"Do not give up. Don't give up on something you really want because it becomes hard. Don't count yourself out when you feel like you don't qualify; you probably do. You definitely do. Don't give up on math and science. You'll need it. It's not just for boys. Don't give up on becoming who you want to be. People are still becoming who they want to be and they are WAY older than you. Believe in yourself and in your ability to do amazing things. You would be so surprised by how far you can go if you just have the confidence and the audacity to believe in yourself."

I'm incredibly lucky to be where I am right now. I am not sure if my life would be better now, but I think, back then, I wouldn't have been so afraid of what I could become. I would take those "risks", or what I considered to be risks at the time. I lived in fear before I learned to be confident. I would probably have less years of emotional and spiritual anxiety about my future and a lot more years of doing what I wanted to do without fear or shame and growing into who I am now becoming.

Alexandra, Content Editor

"Don’t doubt your greatness. Believe in the magical powers you hold. Your talents will look different than others, but don’t let that deter you from chasing your dreams. Everything you need is within,explore your passions and unleash your gifts to the world. No one is you and that’s your power."

As a young girl and adolescent, I found myself wanting to fit in and yearned for the acceptance of others.  I think if I would have been more aware of my identity as a young girl, I would have been able to love myself at an earlier age, have the ability to explore my creative side and speak up more.

Cara, Graphic Designer

"You are the only person who can make the decisions on where you should be going. Take these options seriously, and once you get moving, put effort into them.”

I went to community college after I graduated high school because it seemed like I was supposed to do, and I had no direction when I was there. I learned very little, other than I shouldn’t be here. I started going to an art school two years after graduating. This was a better fit for me, and I wish I had just taken the two years off after high school.

I took my years in “real” college more seriously having started two years post high school. I had more focus and maturity to put in the work. My last two years there I worked especially hard. I wish that I had waited even another two years before starting there, because after graduating, looking for a job in my field was very competitive. Your college portfolio is all you have to get you hired, and if I had understood that more ahead of time, I feel like I would be further along now, even with all the waiting.

 What would you say to your younger self?

Read next: This is how our editors celebrate body positivity. 

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