Sharon Stone wishes she had been tougher in her youth.

The 56-year-old actress, who has three adopted sons Roan, 13, Laird, eight, and Quinn, seven, admits she went through some ''hard times and confusing times'' when she first started out in Hollywood, but is glad she never succumbed to pressure and changed who she is.

In a letter to her younger self in PEOPLE magazine's 40th anniversary issue, the 'Basic Instinct' star wrote: ''Dear Sharon, your life right now, full of all its hard time and confusing times and times when you feel like you don't belong, is simply telling you that you are special. Not just different, but special.''

She added to PEOPLE magazine: ''In fact, my darling child, the very things that make you different and apart are your gifts - they are what you will bring to the world.

''The shouts and confusion about 'why you can't just be like everybody else' will become the shouts of glory as you stand your ground and be exactly as God made you: just you, an individual in all your little ways. Carry that near your heart in your alone times, now and always, and toughen up, kid. These tough times will make you strong enough for what is to come.''