Wednesday, October 26, 2016

To whoever needs to hear it

To whoever needs to hear it,
(most often, me)

I just want you to know how strong you are.

I want you to remember how far you’ve come and how far you’re going to go.

I want you to hear the doubts but choose not to listen to them. Because doubts and fears are loud and nauseating. The most they can do is threaten your wellbeing, so the least you can do is not give them the power to do so.

I want you to know that just because bravery is seldom acknowledged or affirmed from the outside, it doesn’t mean you aren’t an absolute warrior. You are so brave and remarkably independent. You’re a leader of your own choosing. Walking into unchartered territories isn’t without risk and fear. Don’t pretend it is. Don’t let pride encourage you to make it look effortless. Effortless isn’t the badge of honor you want. It’s a badge crafted and awarded by underqualified judgments. Know that it may take a lot of effort and it won’t always be easy. But the best things never are.

I want you to know that you are not alone. Even in the most isolating of times, you are not alone. In those times, look around. It may be devastatingly easy to count up those in absence but I urge you—instead of acknowledging those that aren’t there—pay attention to the ones that are. Don’t cement the sharp memory of those that left. Embrace the small whispers of those that stayed close.

I want you to pause and recognize the achievements you’ve made. I want you to relish the obstacles you’ve overcome and the wins you’ve collected. Because no victory is too small to celebrate.
Don’t wait for permission to feel accomplished. Don’t look for validation that you’re worthy. I will tell you right now, there is nothing you could say or do that could compromise your worth. Above all—don’t ever confuse feeling valued (or the lack thereof) with being valuable.
One is a comforting side effect when present but damaging detriment without; the other is an inherent truth.

Not sure where to start? Here are 15 things (in no particular order) I’d ask myself to savor right now:

+ Making a big move.
+ Teaching yourself how to cook.
+ Trying 50+ new recipes in less than a year.
+ Fighting for inclusion in corporate social settings.
+ Practicing discipline in routines like weekly yoga and meal planning.
+ Making your house feel like a home.
+ Embarking on unchartered local adventures on your own.
+ Facing every lonely weekend and challenging yourself to get out and do something.
+ Sacrificing sleep, time, and energy to make long drives to people you care about.
+ Upholding a perfect sales record at work.
+ Generating original marketing campaign ideas.
+ Maintaining your kickass work ethic.
+ Strengthening your dedication to excellence.
+ Curating the sweetest mix-matched set of kitchen table chairs.
+ Writing out your thoughts even when they feel like a clouded mess.

I hope this letter helps reaffirm what you know deep down; if not at first, read this as many times as you need to hear it.

I say these things not in anticipation of lack of outside support, because I hope you do have good family and great friends who support you every day. I hope their unwavering support leaves little room for self-doubt or question. But during the days, weeks, months, or heaven-forbid—years—when you don’t feel that echo of encouragement, I hope you can remind yourself of these things worth shouting on your own.  

Yours truly,

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