Dear Girl that Used-to-Be,
I love you.
I know that you are hurting; you feel alone and confused. Your desperation to be comforted for even a fleeting moment has led you to some very ugly places and very big mistakes.
But I love you.
I can see your fear – afraid of your own emotions and terrified of your feelings. You found ways to numb yourself, to avoid situations and escape from life instead of showing up to face it. Not your best move – that’s for sure. But it’s understandable, so stop beating yourself up. You don’t have to do that anymore.
I know you’ve been frantically looking for love all over- in relationships, in school, in your career, in religion. You believed success and accomplishments would earn you the type of love that was missing. I can see how painful it was when you got to the proverbial top and found out you were wrong – it wasn’t there at all.
You’ve taken any attention you could gather -along with physical affection, co-dependency, and martyrdom – and dressed them all up to look like love. I applaud you for trying; I don’t blame you for screwing up.
Brave girl. So scared, so full of determination. You found yourself at the bottom, then scraped and scrambled your way back out. At your very darkest, when you wanted more than anything to exit this life, you still managed a tiny glimmer of hope and it kept you here; you stayed. I love you for that courage. I love you for staying alive, even when it isn’t pretty.
I love you for trying, even when it feels like shame is swallowing you whole; when it feels like the cloud of pain around you is visceral and smothering and unbearable. You’ve been through Hell, and I love you for that too; for getting out and being willing to hold the the hands of others who are wading through a fire of their own.
Listen girl, I’m not gonna lie. You made me furious with your dishonesty, broke my heart when you hurt your friends and family, shattered my spirit when you failed your workplace, and embarrassed the hell out of me when you sang drunk karaoke to Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back (OMG seriously, how could you do that??!!)
BUT….I still love you…. even though all of that.
You did a lot of stupid, dangerous, embarrassing things. But what you’ve done is not who you are. I forgive you. Let that in.
I know it’s scary and I know it’s hard – you look yourself in the eye and see every bad decision, every stupid mistake and just want to disappear or hurt yourself and you can’t imagine a world in which anyone would forgive the girl you think you are.
Girlfriend, stop it. Stop living in the past. You have a choice to keep looking backwards or BE HERE NOW. You’re a smart woman – you don’t need to play those painful records on repeat.
Try this: eyes closed, hands over your heart, slow breath in and out. “I am valuable. I am special. I am loved. I am not the Girl That Used-To-Be.”
This is where the healing starts.
Hold tightly to this love and the rest will have a chance to grow.
When you don’t believe it: fake it. When you can’t remember: read this.
Stop settling. Stop trying to live up to ridiculous and useless expectations. Don’t be afraid of this moment. Don’t be afraid of your feelings. You’re strong, you are capable, and you deserve happiness. You deserve compassion and kindness – you deserve to give it to yourself.
You’re not perfect, but you’re perfectly you. Stay awake to this; look yourself in the mirror and see yourself proudly looking back
“I love you. You’re doing your best. I love you.”
Never stop trying.
***Research shows that Self Love Practices lead to healthier, happier and more productive lives. Begin treating yourself like your own best friend and watch the magic happen. That might seem backwards – we might believe that we need to DO positive things in life to EARN self love. The truth is, you can start where you are. Begin practicing self love, and the positivity will multiply beyond your imagination.***