Go Cringe-Free and Love Who You Used to Be

how to love yourself again

I put my kids to bed and sat down to relax for the evening. By default, I turned on my phone and started scrolling Facebook. At the first swipe of my thumb, I did a double-take and cringed. I stared in slight disgust and embarrassment at the photo I saw. The girl in the photo stared back at me with a naïve smile. She acted as if she knew everything there is to know about life. How dare she—the younger, awkward version of me with bangs she cut herself and an embarrassing caption about lilies in a field that doesn’t even sound like me anymore.

I definitely have some facepalm-worthy posts that I wish I could erase from internet history. But I have to ask why I feel like my old self is really that cringy. Here’s how to stop cringing at the old you and learn to love who you used to be.

Give grace to yourself.

The old me thought she knew it all. I said a lot of things that in hindsight, I really didn’t know a lot about. And if I’m growing as I should, this will happen again in a few years. This truth creates space to admit that even now, we don’t have all the answers. We didn’t know the answers back then. And while we may know a little more now than we used to, we can allow ourselves the breathing room to admit we still don’t have it all together, and that’s OK. This is how to love yourself again—to embrace humility and lend grace to yourself as you progressively grow. Remember that the girl you used to be is how you became the woman you are now.

Give grace to others.

I look back at the Facebook post I made about what type of mom I would become, or the one where I fought a family member because she didn’t want kids and I felt like she should, or even the one where I insisted my favorite band was the best band ever and how dare you think otherwise, or the one where… OK, you get the point. These posts make me want to shake my head at myself with embarrassment and shame. I also shake my head at others’ strongly opinionated posts, but they’re still growing, too. If I can embrace the younger version of myself instead of looking back with shame, I will find grace for others who are now in that stage. If you’re going to learn how to love yourself again, isn’t it encouraging that it will also help you learn to love others?

What does it mean to you to love who you used to be?