Updated: Dec 1, 2021
We've all seen the posts where a brave soul bears it all in a letter to their younger self. Offering sage advice and lessons they've learned over the years. I'm always impressed with the person's courage and the willingness to let it all hang out in the most vulnerable ways.
When I was 46, I wrote a similar letter that I couldn't seem to find. I've taken it as my sign that I'm meant to write another letter. A much different letter.
Rather than write a letter to my younger self, I'm writing this letter to anyone who has ever felt misunderstood, unseen, or unheard, judged and criticized. I'm writing to anyone who has ever been picked over and made to feel less than. I'm writing to the person who has failed or fallen down.
I'm writing to us.
Dear Beautiful Person,
If no one has ever told you, or at least told you lately, how incredible you are, how deserving you are of all that's good, or how capable you are, then, please let me be that person.
Please know, it doesn't matter...
If you've cheated on a test or cheated on a partner.
If you've overeaten or drank too much.
If you've said something hurtful to someone else because you were hurt.
If you've told a lie, or maybe a few to save face or to avoid criticism.
If you've, <fill in the blank> with anything you may be using to beat yourself up with.
It doesn't matter because those things aren't you! I don't say that with flippancy or disregard for whatever you may have done or experienced.
Just know, you're incredible regardless and that those things don't define you. They don't negate your level of awesomeness or the fact that you deserve good things. And they certainly don't negate just how capable you are as a person.
How do I know this?
Because I cheated on someone I loved when I was feeling not good enough. I've done some pretty damaging things to my body, i.e., yo-yo dieting and drinking too much to dull some pain. I've said some hurtful things to another person out of my own hurt. I've lied to save face and to avoid criticism.
I've used those and other negative things to hold me back or kick the shit out of myself.
It wasn't worth it!
What was worth it; learning from those things and moving on from them. Recognizing that to own them not only takes courage but strength.
And you, my friend, are not only courageous and strong but also capable of becoming absolutely unstoppable. You have gotten yourself to this very point in time, and I'm willing to bet that has been no small feat.
A FEW OTHER THINGS
And so, as that incredible person, I want you to know a few other things.
Some people will be critical of you and what you do. Just know, while they may feel personal, their critical comments are only a reflection of how that person feels about themselves.
"Often those that criticize others reveal what he himself lacks." - Shannon L. Alder
And while those words may hurt or make you mad as hell, at the end of the day, being able to put them into perspective is your best defense.
BE YOU, WARTS & ALL
Another great defense to criticism is to be who you are in every given moment, not someone you think others want you to be.
You can feel it when you're being true to yourself. Trust that feeling.
We all have "warts." So know you're not alone.
I used to berate myself for my "warts," which only made them worse. Now, I take some deep breathes and ask myself, "What do I choose in this given moment that will make me feel better?"
FOCUSING ON THE LIKABLE
We're all a work in progress. Rather than criticize yourself, make an effort to change what you don't like. And for God's sake, don't forget your likable qualities because you have a ton of them!
Maybe you have beautiful eyes.
Maybe you're the type of friend that never forgets a birthday.
Maybe you have a big, giving heart.
Maybe you're an incredible writer.
Maybe you love to bake for your neighbors.
Focusing on those positive things provides evidence of just how incredible you are.
(Oh, and as a side note: the most potent words come after "I am…")
REJECTION IS PROTECTION
This may seem tangential, but I'd be remiss if I didn't share a little something about rejection. Primarily since it feeds those feelings of not being good enough.
Here's the thing about rejection… there's no such thing. Weird sounding, I know.
Being "passed over" is the Universe's (or God's) way of protecting you from something or someone who's not a good fit. That way, you have the space, time, and energy for someone or something that is.
SPEAKING OF YOUR ENERGY & TIME
When it comes to your time and energy, it's important to get really clear on what makes someone worthy of receiving the important bits of you. You're not being a snob for being particular. You're being discerning; making sure to share with people who appreciate you for all that you are.
It's about no longer settling or being someone's option when you're making them a priority.
"The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little." - Thomas Merton
Ah, settling. Been there, done that. Have the t-shirt and the tiara. I've settled in relationships where there definitely wasn't a fit. I squished myself into being a person I wasn't to avoid being alone.
While it's great to try different relationships on for size, just know you don't ever have to be someone you're not to be loved. Period.
And don't you dare worry your head over whether you'll find a person to fit with because you will. BUT…and this is a big BUT you have to love yourself enough not to settle.
My friend, I want to close this letter with a reminder; you're an incredible human. You truly are! You deserve to be seen, heard, and loved just as you are right now. BUT If you're feeling any doubt, please ask yourself the following question, "Why am I so incredible?" and then let whatever comes up come out.
Much love to you,