A Love Letter to the Unhealthy and Unhappy Version of Me
Before 2010 I didn’t love myself.
I pretended I did because I thought I did.
I was so unaware.
Had no idea what self-love was.
How self-love was supposed to feel.
Why self-love was important.
No one ever taught me.
And maybe, no one ever taught you too.
That’s why you clicked on the title.
Maybe you are looking for someone to relate to you, to your story.
Someone to make you feel OK about how you feel about yourself.
Before 2010, I felt alone.
Until one day,
Someone said “You need to love yourself.”
And it stuck with me.
I was finally ready to figure that out.
I wanted to know what self-love was.
I was ready to learn how to do it.
I was ready to love me.
I was ready to stop pretending.
This letter shares some things I wished I knew then.
Things that would have made the journey a little more comfortable.
And, although, chances are we’ve never met,
In my heart I know, that if you are anything like me,
You need the content of this letter as much as I did then and sometimes still do now.
Let’s get started.
Because you are beautiful.
You don’t need anyone else to tell you that to believe it.
You don’t need men, friends, family members to validate your beauty.
While we at it,
Stop defining yourself worth based on what men say to you.
For years you’ve mastered the art of pretending.
Pretending to be confident and not care about what people say about you and how you carry yourself.
Pretending to be strong in front of others,
As soon as you close the doors, you break down into tears.
Pretending to be ok when you are not ok,
Because you are always supposed to be ok.
You’ve been raised to be strong.
What is that?
You aren’t allowed to be weak. To be vulnerable. To NOT be OK.
You believe this,
You do your best to hide your fears and insecurities,
Fear of what people will say, fear of not being strong, fear of not being confident, fear of not being independent.
Fear of needing others.
Fear of not being who you are supposed to be.
- Is this how things are supposed to be?
- Will all this be worth it?
- Am I doing this right?
I am here to tell you everything will be ok.
The world doesn’t turn out to be as scary as you think.
You don’t need to worry yourself like this.
You won’t need all this worry training.
Here is what you need:
Accept that you are not perfect
You’ve been taught that mistakes are bad.
Everyone says you should avoid them because mistakes are a form of failure.
Failure is bad.
The truth is,
You’ve been lied to.
Failure and mistakes are not bad.
They are lessons in disguise.
They are a part of the process.
Mistakes are great teachers of –
- What works for you and what doesn’t.
- What you know and what you don’t know.
Mistakes put you in control of deciding what you want to do next and why.
They put you in charge of deciding what to do with the lessons you learn.
By obsessing over being perfect, you miss out on these lessons and will find yourself making the same mistakes over and over again.
You can’t skip certain lessons in your life.
Accept that you will make mistakes.
Commit to learning from those mistakes and use those lessons, to make smarter/informed decisions in the future.
I know you hate that you can’t solve everyone’s problems, but worrying is not the answer.
You have to set some boundaries for yourself, sis.
Learn to say no,
No to perfection.
Because, perfection is not a thing.
Be honest with yourself
You do not have to be everything to everyone.
You cannot pour into other people if your cup is empty.
Stop running away from the root of the issues you are facing.
This is why you run to food for comfort.
By focusing on controlling the things you CAN’T control, you end up feeling like there is NOTHING you CAN control.
There’s one thing.
You think that you are in control, but you are once again pretending.
They are the ones in control right now.
Your feelings decide what you eat and when.
If you want to change that, you have to face yourself.
Face your insecurities.
You need to stop using other people’s pain to avoid your own.
Stop pretending you don’t carry your own baggage.
That’s the only way to let go of what weighs you down.
It’s OK to NOT be OK.
FOOD is NOT the answer.
You need to do more than exercising to be healthy
I know you think that hitting the gym four times a week is all you need to get a six-pack.
And that’s not healthy.
You can eat everything you want without worries.
That will change as you get older.
Start caring for your body right now.
You only get one.
Drink more water.
A lot more water.
Are you even drinking water?
Drink less alcohol.
A lot less alcohol.
Do you really need to be drunk every weekend?
You don’t need to be hovering a toilet at the end of the night to have a good time.
Before I forget,
A box of Oreos is not a meal.
Eat more fruits and vegetables.
You might never stop being a stress eater, but you can make better choices about what you eat.
This includes fast foods.
Cut back on the caramel sundaes at McDonald’s.
You will thank me for this once you hit your late twenties and thirties.
Go to therapy ASAP
OK, I know what you are thinking.
“I am not crazy; I don’t need a shrink.”
There is nothing wrong with being a little crazy.
Therapy is not about being crazy,
Therapy is bigger than that.
It’s about keeping your mind healthy.
It’s about slowing down and taking time to get to know yourself better.
It’s about showing up for yourself.
- Therapy will help you peel layers of pain you didn’t know existed.
- Therapy will teach you how to heal.
- Therapy will make it easier to love yourself, unconditionally.
- Therapy will even help you with your poor eating habits.
Your relationship with food is more complicated than you think.
You eat some foods over others because they remind you of people or happy times in your life.
Eating healthy is not as simple as you think.
If you are going to be successful, you will need help sorting some of that out.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
Because, depression is real.
Because, mental health.
Being healthy is more than working out, you have to care about your food, your mind, and your spirit as well.
At first, self-love will be hard
That’s not important.
Weight gain is only the manifestation of everything you have going on.
Weight gain is only a symptom, not the root of the problem.
That’s why weight loss is the easy part.
Keeping the weight off, that’s a different story.
That’s why you need therapy, to peel the layers that keep pushing you to make the same mistakes.
To help you get to the root of why food is your coping mechanism.
Therapy will help you do that.
You won’t find happiness on the scale or the fridge.
Happiness comes from accepting that the only actions you can control are your own.
Happiness is embracing all your imperfections and selfishly caring about your well-being.
All parts of it.
Happiness is giving yourself permission to be ok with not being ok and doing something about it.
Happiness comes from acceptance,
And treating yourself like your own best friend.
It all works out in the end.
You do lose the weight.
You keep it off for seven years and counting.
You get to the root.
You end up meeting a guy, he is fantastic and yall even get married, not that you care about that right now.
You learn to set boundaries, and it turns out to be the best decision.
You learn to put yourself first.
You learn to love yourself a little more every single day.
Until one day,
You’re strong enough to write this letter!
Be patient with yourself.
Because to a certain extent, everyone does their fair share of pretending.
No one is perfect.
Like Lauryn Hill once said,
“Your worst version of yourself is better than your best version of somebody else.”
Never forget that,
I am proud of you.
I love you!