This week, the UK's leading charity advocating for young people's mental health started a small hash tag movement called #5YearOldSelfie. The heart of the challenge was to reflect on your childhood and articulate three things your 5-year-old self needed to hear. Many took the opportunity to comfort that inner child and validate the struggles they had yet to understand at an early age. Others, many of them women, purged old regrets by warning their past selves not to fall into destructive relationships or be ravaged by poor self-esteem.
The trend was a rare, healthy reminder that hardships are temporary, life gets better, and that everybody has already proven their strength by surviving their past. It also gives much-needed visibility to the Internet communities that offer support and resources rather than hateful rhetoric. Check out groups like Young Minds and Trevor Project for more.
Take part in #5YearOldSelfie! 1) Find a photo of your younger self 2) Write 3 things you’d tell that child 3) Us… https://t.co/JHLe2lNqX6— YoungMinds (@YoungMinds) 1565250639.0
Childhood Bullies Don't Have Power Over You
Young activist Mari Copeny wrote, "Other kids can be mean, don't let them take your voice."
#5YearOldSelfie What are 3 things I would tell my five year old self. 1. Other kids can be mean, don’t let them… https://t.co/R2l44rWK4t— Mari Copeny (@Mari Copeny) 1565292501.0
To my #5YearOldSelfie 1. Your PE teacher is a total cow. You are good (Avoid netball at all costs) 2. Bullies wo… https://t.co/WCHf6blABr— Hannah Peel (@Hannah Peel) 1565302662.0
Adult Bullies Don't Have Power Over You
Mahnoor wrote that he was "Brave, Creative, Energetic, Good with people/animals, Terrorist attack survivor."
#5yearoldselfie @YoungMindsUK -Brave -Creative -Energetic -Good with people/animals -Terrorist attack survivor https://t.co/Ge6MzOj7l2— Mahnoor loves hufsa🏳️🌈 (@Mahnoor loves hufsa🏳️🌈) 1565287482.0
Special Needs Don't Define You
To my 5 year old self, life is going to be hard. You are a special needs child born with a brain birth defect but d… https://t.co/5J0WiGWMAc— Alexis (@Alexis) 1565288238.0
#5YearOldSelfie Here is a five year old little girl who unknowingly had autism. It would be another twelve years o… https://t.co/w97a5QkYq6— Anna Z-ver-nuh (@Anna Z-ver-nuh) 1565288999.0
There Are Good Memories Hidden in Difficult Pasts
As Billie reflected on the photo of his 5-year-old female-presenting self, "It's hard to think of positive things when I see those pictures because all I see is someone who I never truly felt I was," but he still acknowledged he was always "smart and eager to learn good" and "good at taking care of my younger brother."
@danielhowell It's hard to think of positive things when I see those pictures because all I see is someone who I ne… https://t.co/5pzGMoOudu— Billie 🏳️🌈👻 (@Billie 🏳️🌈👻) 1565288692.0
Three things I would tell me five years ago: 1) Your name is Tristan. You’re trans and that’s ok. 2) You will escap… https://t.co/xJdOT9ZJyb— Tristan Oscar Smith 🌈 (@Tristan Oscar Smith 🌈) 1565269496.0
Mental Illness Doesn't Define You
Writer Alanna Vagianos wrote, " You're going to meet this thing called depression at a very young age, don't worry you'll learn how to cope.
To my #5YearOldSelfie 1. You're going to meet this thing called depression at a very young age, don't worry you'l… https://t.co/aceKoIb4r3— Alanna Vagianos (@Alanna Vagianos) 1565358449.0
- You won't always be or feel so alone - Trust yourself to dream bigger - Listen to grandma, she's even more amazin… https://t.co/GoC4c0TpAP— Keahu Kahuanui (@Keahu Kahuanui) 1565296634.0