In Requiem for a Nun, William Faulkner wrote the famed words, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” It could be said that former reality TV star Nicole Richie feels a similar way. In a new essay for Lenny, Richie opens up about not regretting decisions in her past because those choices challenged and allowed her to transform into the person she is today.
Richie turned 35 in September, a birthday that allowed her to reflect on her history and the times ahead. She describes feeling overjoyed at simple moments, such as lounging with friends or listening to her husband “make fun of the younger version” of herself.
Still, she admits that others bringing up moments from her past can sometimes cause “shame,” especially seeing how far she’s come since her days on The Simple Life.
“Moments of congratulation and celebrating who I am do not come without strangers pointing out how dark my life once was.” Richie wrote, “I am owning my past, relishing in the absurdity, slightly flinching at my own naïveté, and giving myself props for the unabashed bravery that streaked through my youth. But not trying to hide from it, not trying to change it, just allowing it to help propel me forward.”
Richie admits she made careless decisions when she was younger. As the adopted daughter of Lionel Richie, Nicole lived in the spotlight and Hollywood lifestyle, which undoubtedly influenced her actions. She uses the moments in her past, however, as a guiding principle rather than a source of regret. She wrote, “I acknowledge that I was young, had a lot of freedom, and made some ‘bad decisions’ … but how bad are they if it’s part of a journey to understanding who I am and what I stand for?”
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Richie took an important lesson from this journey: “I feel the need to support women loving themselves. It’s by loving ourselves that we give permission to others to love us.” This mentality feels especially important to her because she realized, “that taking on someone else’s vision of you can be very dangerous. People attempt to categorize and label so they can feel upright and comfortable.”
In short, Richie embraces forgiveness and not being ashamed of yourself, she explained, “The simple yet difficult act of forgiving yourself is so powerful, because it’s all within you. We have to embrace ourselves and hold every part of our journey in some type of light.”
Read the rest of Richie’s essay here.