A Letter to My 12 Year Old Self

This didn’t begin as a letter to myself. In fact the catalyst to me writing this was to offer advice or guidance to a specific young lady in my life. Her mother reached out to me to share that her daughter would be turning 12 on the 12th of January – her *golden birthday*. To honor this rite of passage, she reached out to the 12 most influential women in her daughter’s life asking them to share any wisdom, guidance, and advice they had for her. What a brilliant idea to celebrate this milestone birthday! And what an honor to be placed on this list of 12 women!

When I received that letter my nose tingled, and my lower lip tensed up to support the quiver it felt which I’m sure had come shooting up from my heart. It was really so touching. What an important task that lie before me! I thought. And I allowed the gravity of that to settle into the cracks in a way that made me stiff to doing the actual work of sharing from my heart. It felt too important. Which is a bit of a running joke with some colleagues of mine, and as they know that importance can sometimes block me from what I know and understand is an infinite supply of inspiration, passion, and confidence – the f l o w of all that is.

And as expected, when I released the need to craft some perfect, life-changing, carved in stone manifesto from which to build a life starting in your 12th year – and I simply wrote – there was just so much there! So much I wanted to share. Some very clearly pointed directly to this young lady’s moxy (something I admire most about her!) and other things may have come from the 12 year old that is still a part of me and still needs a little love and healing. I was surrounded my love my entire life, but this world is sharp and my heart is tender. And I wouldn’t change it for the world.

The 12 letters, from 12 women, upon turning 12, on the 12th day of the month thing was such a nice rythym that I wanted to stick with it. So I chose 12 Things I felt were most important for her to carry in her heart. I think it could apply to other young women, and honestly a good reminder for myself, so I’m sharing it here. I’d also love to hear from YOU on this!

What would you tell your 12 year old self? Comment below and let me know. I’d love to add some collective wisdom to this post and trust it will reach other young women who need to hear it.

12 Things to Always Remember

(and 1 thing to never forget)

  1. Speak Your Truth & Own Your Worth

You are an incredible human. I am eternally grateful to have met you and your beautiful soul and I need you to know that you are worthy of every blessing that you receive. You are a bright shiny light and it is your responsibility to yourself and to all those around you that you SHINE! Do not dim your light. Do not shrink your greatness to make others feel more comfortable. Do not play small. That is not for you. You are here to SHINE! Speak your truth. Share your message. Be a living example of what is possible for Humanity.


  1. Never Fail

Learn. Explore. Discover. Collect data. Do it differently next time. If every time you fall short of your expectations, you can learn what to do differently next time, there’s no failure. Until you stop trying.


  1. Question Everything – Except Yourself

If something feels off, it is. Ask questions. Hold others accountable for their words. Don’t apologize for seeking more information. Trust your gut. Follow your heart. Every time you do, you strengthen that channel of knowing and trusting your body. Don’t let all of your seeking happen outside of yourself.


  1. Get Used to Being Called a Bitch

If you grow into the strong, confident, passionate, leader that I know you’re capable of – you will be called a bitch. Or worse. Don’t let that rock you. Don’t let that change your course. Get used to hearing that. Know that it’s never about you. Your strong presence will inevitable trigger something inside of others that causes them to lash out. It’s never about you! In fact, part of your journey here is to serve as that mirror for others and awaken something in them that needs healed. Be the kindest, bravest bitch you can be!


  1. Do It Scared

Don’t waste a single moment waiting for the fear to pass. Don’t plan on moving forward when you’re ready. No one’s ever ready. Get used to doing it scared and you’ll be miles in front of everyone. You’ll have better stories to tell too.


  1. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

You will experience dark moments of fear and confusion. You’ll experience deep loss and grief. You’ll get lost along the way. Life will suck. Don’t lose your self in these moments. Remember who you are (see number 1). Know that there is purpose in your pain if you choose to see it. Lean into the discomfort. Know that no one will ever break your heart, but they will break your expectations. And in breaking your expectations, they will bring you closer to your heart. You are never broken. Trust yourself and your supporters to offer you the resources you need to move through the darkness.


  1. Put Yourself First

Don’t give away your power and strength by believing that to be a good person you must take care of others first, and then tend to your own needs. You are no good to anyone when you are depleted in any way. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Only then do you have the resources to care for others. In doing this, you will also serve as a beautiful example of radical self-love, and be a beacon of light, giving others permission to take care of themselves.


  1. Give Back

See above. Acknowledge your privilege. Be a warrior for social justice. Speak up for those who have had their voices silenced.  Be an ally. Don’t speak for them, amplify their voice through your platform and privilege.


  1. Unplug

I can’t imagine growing up in such a virtually connected time and place. There is so much opportunity for you because of it, and also a lack of simplicity and body-centered awareness because of it. Probably more than I understand and probably the same concerns the generations before me held for my generation.  It’s so important to unplug from all of that. Not just for you but for every human. We need time and space to just BE. To tune into ourselves and listen. For all that’s available to you on the internet, there is all that and more available to you through your own inner-net. Listen to your body. Listen to the Earth.


  1. Release Judgement

Easily the greatest block to our own joy is judgement. Whether that is judging others or ourselves it is something that, when you really bring awareness to, you notice it goes on every single day. Every single day we are creating barriers to our own joyfulness. And for what? That temporary rise we feel when we put someone else below us? Or that ephemeral and false sense of connection we feel when we share in gossip with friends? Or the self-defeating conversation we have inside our very own heads to keep us playing small and not risk making mistakes? All of that will happen. And when it does, let it go. Notice it, release it, and do better next time.


  1. Follow Your Bliss

No matter what else you pursue in this life; professional success, loving relationships, recognition…none of it will matter if you sacrifice your happiness to get it. If it doesn’t bring you joy, it isn’t meant for you. Let that be your compass. If you spend your life following all the things that bring you to closer to your bliss – you have led a life well-lived.


  1. Cultivate Resilience

So often I’m asked in business, “What makes you different? What sets you apart from others? How are you still here when others have failed?” And I think the most obvious answer to that is ‘I partner with horses. My co-workers are fuzzy little balls of goodness.’ And maybe that makes the work I do different, but hands down what sets me apart is my resilience. Cultivate that. It doesn’t come easy because it comes not through things going “right”, but things going “wrong”. It’s cultivated through falling on your face over and over and over again – and still getting back up. It’s cultivated through hearing everyone tell you you can’t do it – and doing it anyway. It’s cultivated through tears, and sadness, and “failure” upon “failure” upon “failure”. It’s cultivated through a deep and abiding belief that what you’re here to do matters – because it does.

And the one thing to never forget…


I love you. And I will always, always, be here for you.

Melissa @TheWatershedFarm.com

My name is Melissa Bennett. Whether on site or online, I inspire & support women just like YOU to move through fear and reclaim the lost parts of themselves in order to live a life of confidence, courage, & creative expression. I too have journeyed the path of self-reclamation and continue to do so every day. It is my greatest gift and honor to guide you on your path to the most sacred of all places - your own wild heart. To discover how we can work together to bring you back to your self, connect with me on my site at TheWatershedFarm.com/workwithme

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