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This is something that I found on a livejournal INFP community a few years ago and for some reason, my mind went to it today. The exercise is rather simple, choose an age and write a letter to yourself at that age. I've done two such letters, and honestly, it's quite interesting to see what it is that you choose to mention to your child-hood self. What names come up, who the important people were, and what insights you have figured out years later.

Here's the letter I wrote to my eight-year-old self:

Hi little faerie,

I know you're having a blast in class, Debbie is probably the coolest teacher you will have for years. As a matter of fact, you'll still remember her 14 years later as one of the two most influential teachers you've ever had. Learn from her as much as you can. Learn from your class mates, too. Especially the ones no one wants to be friends with. You're not a cruel child, but when you hesitate and follow the lead of the other kids, you are just as cruel as them. I know you feel horrible about it. You are truly a gentle soul who wants everyone to be happy and you love to laugh and dance and sing and play. Don't lose that spirit, that spark, that drive. You're creative and magic isn't just an idea, but something you dive in and out of daily. It's one of the most beautiful things about you, and I think you would definitely benefit from a few (dozen) more times of hearing that. Actually, I know you could benefit from that.

Don't be afraid of people, but do be willing to listen to the lessons they are there to teach you and be willing to help them in learning whatever their lessons are. You don't need to go things alone, but neither do you have to hide from things by always being surrounded by people. A nice balance is good, you know. Though, you don't really know what I'm referring to yet. Don't worry, you'll figure it out, hopefully a lot faster than I did.

Most importantly, don't lose that love for learning and reading and adventures that you have. There are so many more adventures than you could have ever imagined. Each one is waiting for you, don't miss it because you were too busy wondering if it was alright. You think too much about things before acting. It's okay to just do something. I promise, the consequences are never that bad, though mom and dad don't want you to know it.

Please know that even though I have lost you in many ways, I haven't lost you in the most important ways. You're still in my heart and my mind and body and soul. There are just somedays when I have to search a bit harder (a lot harder) to find you. I hope you don't feel that you need to hide from me. I promise, I will try to protect you as I can.

Your future self.
So... let's see what you would like to say to your child-hood selves! What sort of advice or encouragement do you think you needed to hear or would have wanted? Here's your chance to tell that child that's still a part of you. This isn't limited to INFPs either, anyone is welcome to play. :proud:
 

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Dear young ii V I,

Have you found music yet? Maybe you should, it ends up saving you...
I know from your perspective the world seems hostile, and you feel powerless, just remember happiness is always a choice.
I bet right now since you attend a Catholic school you resent God's presence in everything, don't worry,don't feel guilty about questioning things it's all part of your path. Never Stop Questioning Things!

That feeling of inferiority brought on by doctors telling you that you have a disorder, that's all bullshit. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU. Eventually you will learn to live a much fuller life un medicated (ish). Be who you are!
Things are going to be rough in highschool, but you will find a lot of new strengths. You will never change, You will just know more, and perceive a little differently.

You probably shouldn't ever get intoxicated, but we both know you will.

Those two shy kids in your 6th grade class, you should probably talk to them because they have great taste in music, and you are still friends with them to this day, ha in fact they are some of the only people you see regualrly.
People are wonderful keep that in mind, don't cut off potentials, and strive to maintain friendships. Sorry, no one will ever understand you like you want them to. Don't hold people to that standard.

I know you are an insecure little bastard. Don't deny it. Just stop worrying about it, your face, your weight, your hair... they all change, and eventually you become pretty much dead sexy:wink:.

Much Love,

Future ii V I
 
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Dear my younger self,

I know you're anxious all the time and scared witless by the slightest thing. I'm sorry, but a bit of advice from me can't change that. You'll have to grow up and you'll have to wait until you can take anti-anxiety medication (you're far too young for that).

You're constantly worried about how you look, how fat you are etc. I can tell you right now, you are absolutely, perfectly fine. In fact, you're pretty skinny. It's only because you have extremely skinny friends and because you have large bone structure that you think this way.

Don't worry, you will eventually get really good grades and go to classes where you feel intelligent, capable, happy, and in control. It's going be many years before this happens, but you'll get there. You are not as dumb as you think you are.

Get new friends. Seriously. Sarah, Celine, Jasmine etc are all total bitches and not very good people. You can do a lot better than them. Oh and Jasmine will become your best friend - someone who you trust implicitly. She will eventually betray you and say many, many horrible things to you. Just a head's up.

It's ok to like what you like and don't let your brothers monopolize the TV.

Oh and you'll eventually become really, really good friends with JP (brother). It'll be good, trust me. Unfortunately, things never get that good with M (other brother).

Also, you can spell in the future. Once you start reading a lot, that will all naturally fall into place. I know that you don't think books are any good yet but you'll find out their merit around grade 7.

Love,

Older Me.
 

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Dear childhood Izz,

Yes, you are going to experience relationships. You are going to fall in love deeply and idealize even more than you imagine, but you are going to get heartbroken too. Yes, you are going to have your first book published. Yes, you are going to get recognized for your abilities. Yes, you are going to have friends that make you wonder what you did to deserve their strength in the first place. Yes, you are going to study overseas. Yes, your life will be like the one you've been watching in drama and movies, except life has more twists and turns than you can think of right now.

You always underestimate yourself, that's why I'm writing you this.

Also, stand up for yourself and your inner voice. You will find in your identity shaping through the years, you'll be wishing for more moments that you stand up for what's right for you. No one can do it better than yourself.

Don't always tolerate being walked over.

That's a best piece of advice for self I could write in this letter. I usually would write even more about what to avoid in a letter like this, but... it's a paradox I've reached. If I did, what if your life wouldn't turn out the way it should be?

But, you should be more confident and you shouldn't take too much crap either. You will become someone beautiful, intelligent, sometimes brave sometimes afraid and also very crazy. Brace yourself.

Love,
Izz
 

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Dear snail,

(Yeah, I know you aren't using that name yet, but you will as soon as you discover yourself. Trust me, it makes perfect sense.) You are free. You don't have to keep going to school, even though the law says so. Laws are artificial. You are empowered to decide for yourself what you want to do. You don't have to be controlled, abused, shamed, bullied, or forced to fill out repetitive, meaningless worksheets. You can skip school and hide in the woods with your books. You will end up less damaged that way, and you won't lose your love of learning.

Yeah, I know, you want to be at school despite the torment the other children are putting you through, because you have a crush on Ian. You think he will notice you someday, but he won't. You're not going to end up with him, and someday you will be glad, because you will realize that you wouldn't have been happy with him anyhow. You are going to waste seven or eight years thinking about him almost nonstop, writing poetry, making art, writing your first song for him, and in the end, shortly after high school, he will marry someone else. You will be at the wedding, and you will realize that everything you felt was pointless.

When you get to high school, having already given up on the idea of getting to be with Ian somewhere around the eighth grade, when you finally confess your feelings and are coldly, silently rejected, you will make yourself physically sick with stress trying to get good grades because you will have a false belief about the benefits of getting into a good college. You will end up in such debt that you will never be able to pay it back. You will go to college with a bunch of scholarships, but they won't be enough. You will say you are going there to honor your parents, but really it will be because you think you will find love by being there, and by proving you are smart enough to be desirable. You think you will meet someone there, and that you will finally be accepted by your peers. You will, for a while. You will make a few friends, but you won't get to keep them. You will fall in love, and you will end up even lonelier than before.

All of that pain could be avoided if you just don't go to school. It is the root of every disaster you will ever experience for the rest of your life, and will initiate a catastrophic chain of events that will make you a complete basket case before you make it to your forties. Don't worry about being stupid. Just educate yourself, like you have always wanted to, by reading. You love reading, so it should be easy for you. Just worry about learning things that you actually care about, because even if you finish school, you will forget most of the things you are forced to memorize there. Develop your art and write stories all day long. Nobody has the right to make you sit at a desk in a crowded room, with your senses overstimulated by the lights, the noise, the demand that you focus on repetitive, uninspiring things. There is no need to be constantly on guard for threats from those around you, because you don't belong there.

You have a right to your body. You do not deserve to be confined or beaten, and you do not deserved to be punished for tattling when you are verbally abused and beaten. You have a right to your feelings, and to not have them violated. You have a right not to be re-victimized by the authority figures you trust to protect you. If you go to school, you will end up going to many psychologists who will tell you your feelings are the problem, and that changing your attitude will reduce your suffering. You will believe them, and you will hate yourself for not being able to feel what they want you to feel. They are wrong. Your feelings are doing exactly what they were made to do. Your circumstances are the problem. That is why it is so very important for you to have the courage to dissent and escape.

If you keep going to school, treating it like it is something you have to do, that you have no control over, you will be so psychologically scarred by the end of the experience that you won't be aware of the warning signs when you start to fall in love with an abuser. You will already have complex PTSD, but you won't know what it is. You will assume the panic attacks are normal, despite the consistency of the things that tend to trigger them. Your mental illness will be intensified when you spend seven years being tortured by the man you thought you wanted, and again, you won't believe you are free to leave, because you will have already been conditioned to assume abuse is something you are helpless to escape, just as it is at school.

Do whatever else you want. Just please, please, even if it means being disobedient, getting grounded or whatever the consequences end up being, even if it means displeasing your parents, who love you dearly, but who don't always know what you need, please stop going to school before you get to the fifth grade. Be persistent even if you are punished. You don't understand yet, but if you don't listen to me, and if you end up meeting your fifth grade teacher, you will know why this message was important enough that I felt compelled to build this time machine, despite my negative feelings about technology. I already know that you won't listen, because if I am here now, having built this time machine in order to warn you, we are caught in some kind of temporal loop. If you did what I am asking you to do, I wouldn't have had any motive to have come here to deliver this letter, and if I hadn't come here, then you wouldn't have heard my message, and wouldn't have heeded it. Therefore, I would have had a reason, and I would have come here, and... well, nevermind. I think I've already said what I intended. Fuck you in advance for not taking me seriously enough. You are a coward for tolerating oppression.

Love,
The future you.
 

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Dear Rim,

Don't go to summer camp...it will fuck you up for the rest of your life.
Don't let mom and dad move to grandma's house......warn them before it's too late...it will end badly.

Much Love,

Future Rim
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I would... but the me from a few years back would have absolutely hated the me I am now. Intolerant little blighter he was...
That's quite alright. I'm pretty sure my eight year-old self would be very unhappy with some of the choices I've made and some of the paths I've taken, too. No one's saying you ought to do so or that you need to post something that you do write online. It's just meant to get you thinking. Which you obviously already are, so mission accomplished. :proud:

Also, congratulations on moving past that intolerant little blighter stage. :wink:
 

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That's quite alright. I'm pretty sure my eight year-old self would be very unhappy with some of the choices I've made and some of the paths I've taken, too. No one's saying you ought to do so or that you need to post something that you do write online. It's just meant to get you thinking. Which you obviously already are, so mission accomplished. :proud:

Also, congratulations on moving past that intolerant little blighter stage. :wink:
Haha if I were to write a letter to the snot nosed brat I was it would probably be somewhere along the lines of:
Dear little Ori
You're a nerd. Deal with it.
Stop being an ass.
fyi- stop hating on emo's half of your friends become them.
You have the worst fashion sense I've ever seen, ripped shirt and khaki's? What the heck is that?
 

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This isn't my type forum, but this is cool.

Childhood M,

You won't grow out of a lot of things you are now, so don't even try it. You will try absolutely everything more than once just to see if it would kill you, and it won't for at least a decade, so feel free.
You will meet rotten people as well as incredible ones, and you will mistake the former for the latter and vice versa. Doing everything the hard way will make you look slightly gnarly in a bit, but those that come to adore you will come to adore that as well.
You will have more than you ever thought and you will get it on your own like you always wanted. You will have people looking up to you for that.

As you've figured out already, your parents aren't the best role models, so find new ones. Also, take care of baby D.
Answer all her questions and don't ever let anyone tell her what's impossible.Not even your parents.You are too young to be doing this oldersisterturnedparent thing, but keep on doing it and you will see that she grows up to be the most delightful human being you know.

Also, you're going to fall down more than most and harder than most. But know that you'll always be angry enough to get up. So do both with style.

Cheers,

Slightly older M.
 

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Dear Chris,

First things first. Enjoy your elementary-school years. You'll have a lot of friends at that time and nobody will push you to do things that you don't want to do. In fact your teacher and your parents will praise you for your curiosity and kindness. These will probably be some of the best years of your young life - so take my advice - enjoy yourself and make the best out of it!

Middle school will be a totally different chapter. That's when the real problems will start to occur for the first time. Because of your emotional volatility and the subsequent insecurity you will go through pretty rough times. It will be a lot more diffcult for you to find friends than in elementary school - but eventually you will. (To keep it realistic - most of these friendships won't last. But one of your classmates will go to the same highschool as you and you'll end still being somewhat good friends)
Your best friend (the one person on this planet who will know you best. Frankly one of the few persons who will REALLY know you) will always be your cousin though (yeah you know - the one living next door to you) Spend as much time with him as possible. He's as crazy as you. Just a little more outgoing as you'll discover later on. But you'll benefit from it - he'll help you to get in touch with your extroverted side (but don't get me wrong, your introverted side will still be the dominant one).

Now...the next information I will give you...well...you really won't like it. But I hope you'll believe me. Your parents will cause you a lot of pain. Especially your father will use the guilt-trip method a lot to make you do things you don't like. He will force you to be part of a soccer teams for about 7 years even though you don't have the slightest interest in sports. You will tell him about this and he will scold you and tell you what a misfit you are. To be honest, he will tell you that you are an immature unreliable eremite every time you do something he doesn't agree on and as a result of this you will cry an AWFUL lot.
Don't get me wrong. Your father does love you. He just hasn't accepted yet that you are not the extroverted jock he wants you to be. Eventually it will get better - but he'll still yell at you frequently because you have very different outlooks on life.

If you want to talk about your problems with someone - your elder sister should be the one to turn to. I know she's a very important person to you now and she still is at the time I am writing this. You can trust her and she'll take your problems seriously.

In highschool you will suffer a lot from mood swings social anxiety and depression. Taking piano lessons will help you to deal with your strong feelings. You'll also have self-esteem problems and a slight body-image disturbance but it will get better eventually. These short periods of self-loathing you'll experience won't really end. But your future you will learn to work these problems out handle them like a mature person.

Oh before I forget - atsome point you will realize that you couldn't be more wrong than in a business highschool. But you'll make plans to study something creative after highschool.
One last advice. There's an INXJ person in your highschool class. I won't tell you who it is but you'll figure it out eventually. You'll end up talking alot about your issues which you'll see are quite similar. And you'll be quite good friends.

Love,
Chris of the future

P.S.: Those things I told you about will only sum up to roughly 40% of your life. The other 60% will be hilarious and a lot of laughs and funny moments you will think back to with a big smile :]
 

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Dear nine-year-old Bliss:

The next two years will be incredibly tough for you. They will be the start of a new era in your life and you'll see things in an entirely new way. You'll become very cynical and cold. Your trust will be shattered and you will start to hate yourself. But don't worry because these feelings will lessen with time.

Bullying will start in the fifth grade and will continue for several years. Please know that the kids who will bother you are jerks and that the things they say about you are not true. The sixth grade will be one of the worst years of your life. Your sixth grade teacher is a huge prick, so don't let him bother you. You will become a perfectionist in the hope that you will impress him with your work and he will leave you alone. However, this will not work. He will pick on you, R, and S, and although you come from very different circles, this will bring you together. He will threaten you, so avoid being alone with him. You will also tell Mom what happened and she won't believe you. This will cause you to hate your parents.

You will discover that Dad is keeping secrets from Mom. At first, you will hate him for this, but don't let that hate stop you from getting to know him. He has his faults, but he is a good person inside (despite what Mom says). He will end up using your relationship to try to get money from you in order to feed his gambling problem. Know that it is not your responsibility to change him and do not blame yourself for his problems or those between Mom and Dad. Though their problems will seem to increase in the coming years due to what is going on with you, it is NOT your fault. They fought before you were born and will always do so. Despite how you may feel, you are NOT the source of all of their problems. And believe it or not, they actually DO love you.

During the same year, you will also be tormented by someone whose name starts with A. I think you know who that is already. He and his friends will hurt and humiliate you on a school trip and you will feel ashamed and abandoned. Please know that you are not alone in this and that you don't have to be ashamed of yourself or what happened. And believe it or not, he and some of the boys who will harass you actually do these things because they like you. I know that that's hard to believe, but it's true. (People will and do notice you even though you're not one of the “popular, pretty girls”).

Unfortunately, junior high and high school will be equally as torturous. You will have to watch as the kids you grew up with make poor decisions and start to ruin their lives. This will horrify you and cause you much stress and anxiety. Please know that it is not your job to save all of them. You are wise enough to know where those roads will lead, but unfortunately they will have to make those mistakes and learn for themselves. You will also feel like a loser for not wanting to join in on their “fun”, but know that this will ultimately save you.

Be wary of J. You will feel sorry for her and all of the things she had to endure throughout her life, but ultimately, she will take her anger and frustrations out on you. She will manipulate and threaten you. The things she and others will say will affect you long into your future. But just know that they aren't true. You are a wonderful person. Don't be afraid to stick up for yourself when others talk down to you. Don't let them abuse you. You will have others who will stand up for you, but ultimately, you will need to learn how to do this yourself.

Unfortunately, J will cause you to lose all of your friendships and your sense of self. Eventually, though, you'll get tired of her games and distance yourself from her. Don't feel bad about doing that. You deserve better.

Also, don't worry about boys. You have more important issues to deal with and need to work on yourself first. You may feel like you're missing out on something, but it will ultimately save you a lot of heartache. Don't waste your time on immature losers. You will find somebody when you are older and ready. I still don't know who that is or when that will happen, but I am confident that that day will come. There are probably many guys who would love to get to know you. Just be careful of their intentions.

If all of this makes you very nervous about what awaits you,know that it will all work out in the end. Though you will suffer from depression for several years and feel like giving up, please don't. Though you currently doubt God's existence and will end up blaming him for the suffering you endure, He will help you when you are at your lowest. I know that seems highly unlikely, but take it from me, it will happen! All of these experiences will end up making you a better person, someone who you otherwise would not have become. You will leave a mark on the world and people will be changed after they get to know you. You will help others to understand each other and share a unique perspective with the world. The world needs you and don't let anyone say anything different.

In the mean time, please enjoy the last year of your childhood. Be thankful that Ms. K lets you stay inside during recess and draw. You are a great artist and those drawings you made for the mural are awesome!

Sincerely,

Your Older Self
 

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Dear Childhood Self,

Make the best of life. Don't ever feel that you are worthless or unlovable because in reality you are awesome :cool:

Love,
Anonymous...
 

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I wrote a story (as yet unpublished) about going back in time and taking myself books and modern technology, giving myself advice and so on. I realized that if I could stop myself from going through so much of what I did go through, I would be a very different person than I am right now. All the trials and abuse have helped me, I think, to grow and become more compassionate. I would never be homeschooling my children if school hadn't been such a nightmare for me. I would not work so hard at my relationships with my husband and children if I had been able to kidnap myself and raise myself - or find the perfect family to raise me. I would probably take so much for granted that can appreciate because things have been so much worse.

That said, here's my letter :mellow: :

Dear Young Starflower,

Nobody's going to find out what's going on if you don't tell them - but those you hope will find out cannot help you. Life will get worse, and worse, but then it will get better. Please believe me. What you are suffering through right now will prepare you to rescue and heal others later. When TJ points that gun at you, don't show your fear, and he won't shoot you. Do, however, tell his parents. You could save his life. And stay away from CP and LS - they only think of you as an easy victim.

Understand that your parents do not hate you. Your father honestly believes he is helping you, because what makes you happy would make him miserable, and he can't understand how opposite you are. Your mother is seriously depressed, and needs help. Never give up on her. She is not trying to hurt your feelings - she is trying to protect her own. Give her much space, and try again after you leave home. She will unintentionally hurt you repeatedly. Her words do not come from who she truly is. She is hurting, just like you are. She will recover and want to be your friend again. Don't take her depression personally. It will hopefully make it easier to appreciate her when you are older.

When you are 13, you will meet someone who will save you. You will know her immediately when you see her. Learn everything you can from her. You will be cut off from her after only a short time, but you will reconnect years later. You will never meet another like her. Though you will love deeply, you will never again be loved as deeply in return, except eventually by your husband and children.

You will never be abducted by aliens, and, as of this writing, you have not been brutally murdered, so stop worrying about it. All those things you wish you were allowed to do, you will be able to do when you leave home. I know you're impatient for your freedom. But now is not your only chance. As a matter of fact, it will all be easier and cheaper later on.

As soon as you are free, watch Star Trek: The Next Generation, and see how much you are like Deanna Troi. You are not crazy. You really are feeling what others are feeling. It will hurt you. And it will help you.

Escaping through the Foreign Exchange program is an excellent idea. You will learn so much. But don't wait until your pain exceeds your fear. Apply early, apply often!

Also, let me introduce you to the non-fiction section of the library. As soon as you are free, you will discover that learning is actually fun. Check out books on songwriting and novel writing. They will inspire you, and you will write songs and stories that make you happy. Find a book called Please Understand Me and go straight to the INFP section. There are so many others like you! As soon as you hear about something called the internet, look up Personality Cafe.

You will not grow up to be Amish. Sorry. You can still live on a farm, though.

Do the best you can to make it through your childhood. You will have many, many trials, and so many times you will wonder by what miracle you are surviving. But you will find joy and happiness.

Much love, Grown-up Starflower
 

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Hey Sg,

I love your liveliness and sense of humor. Just remember there are some crappy folks out there, so learn to protect yourself too.

Take up a martial art, get good at it. Don't be too afraid of the consequences, learning from mistakes is what childhoods for. Get into some fights if you have to, while you still can. You might never have a chance to let it out like that when you're older.

On another note, do take some time to dress with some fashion sense. Yes, you're just a kid, but its amazing how differently people treat you. The clothes sometimes do make the man, or boy as it were.

Korn and Limp Bizkit do in fact suck. So you are perfectly correct in hating them.

You're a human, not a god, so take all criticism with a grain of salt. You can't be perfect, but you sure as hell are bright, so don't listen to the naysayers too much. Change to improve, not to please.

I know you've got a little mud on your face right now but you're going to be a big man someday.


Keep on rocking,
Future Sg
 

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Hey kid,

It's you in the future. You readily believed me didn't you? That might haunt you for years to come, you're too gullible. Too innocent and pure. Learn to be skeptical (look the word up ok? I know you don't know it) and find your own answers to life.

I know you have a beautiful picture of the world. You can't imagine why anyone would want to cause harm to anyone else. Reality is a lot grimmer than what you have in mind. You're not entitled to anything, no one will give you a hand even if you offer a hand to everyone you meet and no one cares if you fall. The harmonious world you picture is a delusion. Second guess everything, there's more than meets the eye. Use your head.

Don't lose your sensitivity either. It'll give you a lot of insight into people's lives.

You have an intense passion for things, it's amazing really, but it will blur your perspective on life. Learn what you should value in life. Never let anyone tell you what to value. If they do, investigate motives and explore all possibilities.

By the way, buy stock in google when they first go public. Trust me on this one.
 
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