On my list of 40 things to accomplish before my 40th birthday (coming up at the end of this year), written in no particular order is Number 8 on the list: “Write a love letter to myself.” Who would say this? Write a love letter to yourself. But why? What could it possibly accomplish?
I wrote that list about a month ago & I have tried to convince myself of just how SILLY the whole idea is several times over… Yet, I barely thought about it when I added that entry to the list. It has to mean something. Anyone within their right mind can see it does.
Yet, I hesitate.
Is it because I don't have enough self-love to make a “love letter” to me be worth writing (or reading)?
Is it because I am afraid of the feelings the act of writing such a letter would conjure up?
Or, maybe, it is because I would just feel foolish?
I suspect it is a combination of all of those & more.
For someone who spouts off notions of building self-confidence, I sure do lack it more often than not. What some people consider brave, I consider half-hazard & just EASIER than fighting the inevitable.
I share a lot more than many would. Yet, I don't know that it is out of confidence as much as it is out of self-preservation & letting “the truth” out before it can be “outted” in a way that is NOT of my own control…
But, here we are. The dreaded task…
Write a love letter to yourself.
It has been quite some time since I last wrote to you. There is something about you that makes me want to simultaneously curl up into a ball in the corner AND shout from the rooftops about how simply amazing you really are.
You feign confidence but shrink away from praise or real opportunities to be recognized or to be GREAT. You have SO MUCH potential stirring around inside you. Yet, you keep it bound. Why?
I knew your mother. She was so full of life. You could see it spill out of her eyes & hear it in her infectious laughter whenever she talked or played with anyone she loved. You have a lot of her in you.
Some say you are full of just as much life. You just get so stuck in your head. You wonder too much about whether you should do, act, say, or BE who & what you are. You wonder too much about what others would say about your actions, thoughts, mannerisms, & beliefs.
You get lost in questioning whether what you see or hear is really all there is to someone's actions or words. You're always looking for an alternative meaning or message behind EVERYTHING.
It's both fascinating & maddening.
I wouldn't want you to change much about you — except to question the good a little less.
When things are good, LET THEM BE GOOD.
Stop searching for the thread that will become unraveled or the other shoe to drop. Life has plenty of splendid moments that are meant to be enjoyed instead of constantly questioned.
And, when you question, you minimize the joy & magic of a moment. You take credit from you & from God for the amazing timing of His plan & of the gifts He has given you.
You are smart. Despite your determination to point out every single flaw you might possess, you are an intelligent woman. You recognize God's hand in your life & the lives of those you love. You can see that your talents & desires were put there by God for you to enjoy & to share with the world.
You can see that, even though life has dealt you hardening, brutal blows, God has had a plan all along. You can see He turns even the most awful occurrences into testimonies of His glory: Your mom & dad's separation. Your mom's death. Your ill relationship with your step-father. Your sons living with their fathers & step-mothers instead of you. Your bipolar diagnosis. Your falling-out with your younger sister. Your feelings of separation from your younger brother. Your grandmother's death … And all the other things you have lived through & poor choices you have made that you don't advertise to the world.
It is easy to begin to see why you are the way you are in regard to your own self-esteem. But, I wish you would look more often at a different reflection of yours.
You are so determined to see the scars when you look at yourself. But, you could just as easily view those same blemishes as tokens of courage & resilience if you'd just shift your perspective a bit.
You are brave. You are resilient. You have a knack for brutal honesty when it comes to relationships & boundaries. That IS a good thing, despite what others might try to make you believe.
You know WHO you are, but have yet to fully see your WORTH.
You embrace your “wordiness” & preference for the written word over the spoken. You know the only REAL domestic abilities you will ever possess are those that help you make a decent meal & those that help you express how much you LOVE the handful of people you call family. Yet, you try here & there to pretend you're someone you're not by spending the day focused on household chores — for the sake of those you love.
You are quick to hug & cry when it comes to loved ones. You will ALWAYS put expressing how you feel above societal standards or expectations. You believe life is too short to leave important things unspoken.
On the other hand, though, because life IS so short, you also refuse to stay with someone or somewhere that you know in your heart is no longer for you.
You've cut off people who have trampled your boundaries — regardless of who they were supposed to be to you. So, I guess, in that way, maybe you DO have an inkling of the worth you possess afterall?
So, this challenge to write a love letter to yourself? Did you choose to do it to increase your own self-love? What did you hope to gain from it?
I have my guesses…
I think you knew you were getting out of balance even for you.
You have catered to The Bitch in your head entirely too much. And you have let medications that are supposed to help you instead of hinder you.
I do love that you gave them an honest shot.
But, I love even more that you're stepping toward the Light more these days.
I know you're frustrated that you don't spend your days the way you think you should.
You think you should work out & clean the house more.
You think you should make a better effort at learning to garden & do yard work.
(I know you are upset at the weight you've gained over the years & have a disconnect in your brain on how to let your outward self actually reflect self-respect & self-love. In your mind, there is a connection between self-worth & how you & your home appear. Yet, your actions have a hard time matching that so-called belief.)
You think you do not measure up or deserve to have the life you currently have.
I know that's what you think. You don't have to say it out loud. (I also know that's a painful admission to make.)
You once prayed — fervently & often — to have a life just as your life is now. Yet, now that you have it, you feel unworthy. Undeserving.
You feel like a fraud. You feel lazy. You feel like a time-, money-, & energy-sucker.
You feel like you TAKE more than you GIVE.
I know you.
Yet, I do love you.
Maybe I love you because of how you torment yourself like this?
Maybe you're right. But, maybe you're not.
The handsome husband says you take care of him & your daughter like no one else could. He says that keeping her alive & healthy & making sure he takes at least modest care of himself is worth A LOT. (Lord knows that the last one is a chore-&-a-half by itself!)
He seems to think that keeping track of your finances & making sure all the bills get paid & taxes get filed is a pretty important task too.
Why can't you see that your presence is a blessing more than a curse?
You are a complicated, chaotic, contradictory creature.
Yes, you have stints of confidence too. But, why are they so fleeting? You have so much for which to be thankful. And you have nearly everything you have ever prayed to have in your life.
Why are you discontent even now?
Why can't you be happy AND stable at the same time?
You somehow crave surprises even when you need stability more. How can that coexist?
You are like a puzzle that must be figured out. And it's frustrating. Yet, still, I love you for being you…
Perhaps, one day, you'll radiate the confidence & self-love you seek. Until then, I will need to make an effort to tell you, as I tell my daughter, that you are a gift from God & oh so special.
Until the next time… Love, Me
So, maybe that's not quite what we all had in mind when we said to write a love letter to yourself.
BUT, it's authentic. It's what flowed naturally from that prompt. And, perhaps, one day, it will seem more like a true love letter rather than an over-analyzed representation of my feelings?
Nah. Probably not. 😉 We all know who I am… Over-analyzing is what I do. <3