My Open Letter to a Friend Who Needs to Realise Their Self-Worth
We’ve been taught to cover up the ugly parts, mask the pain, and respond with routine answers of “Things are good,” and “I’m fine,” whenever someone asks how we are. We keep silent about too many things, at the risk of misinterpretation or judgment for the irrational fears and self-doubt we all share.
It isn’t easy being vulnerable with anyone. To be utterly, unapologetically authentic and forthcoming, sharing your deepest darkest secrets is something that takes time, and even with time, its not easily achieved for everyone.
It takes a lot of trust to tell someone what’s really going on behind the scenes; to share all that you’ve shared.
In the time we’ve known each other, you’ve introduced me to some of your demons and let me read some of the previous chapters of your life. I’ve watched you bludgeon your self-esteem with unkind words. I’ve stood back and watched you take a mental marker to your flesh, grading parts of your body like an overzealous professor. I’ve watched you treat your successes like failures simply because you were disappointed in being millimetres shy of your mark.
I’ve bitten my tongue each and every time you berate yourself, hoping a couple of compliments and words of encouragement would be enough. I cannot tell you how much it hurts to witness you struggle and suffer from the abuse you take from your own hands. It breaks my heart to know you are losing sleep to feed your insecurities in the middle of the night.
While a good friend loves, and accepts us for who we are, a best friend knows when to call it quits on being soft and when to intervene.
The relationship you’ve developed with yourself is unhealthy and a threat to your livelihood. I may be overstepping my boundaries with this aggressive overtake, but I will no longer stay silent about the abuse. I will not stand back and watch you engage in any more harmful behaviour.
If I could jump inside your head and slap your inner critic, I would in half a heartbeat.
I will not condone the act of you measuring yourself against a standard of perfection God himself would not be able to achieve.
I will not pass judgment, but I will challenge your every distorted thought with a heavy dose of reality of how awesome you truly are. I will interrupt your regularly scheduled self-loathing to inform you how ninety percent is not a perfect score, but still a distinguished achievement. I will constantly remind you of the many ways you are a majestic beast, a glorious human being who deserves to be celebrated in all the ways possible.
I suggest you look at yourself through a different lens, in hope you see something you overlooked. I will encourage you to see yourself through my eyes, hoping you’ll learn to love and accept yourself as I do. Standing before you would be this remarkable person who worked their way up and maintains enough humility to stay grounded.
You’d love the way your eyes soften when you smile and the sound of your giggle. You’d witness how endearing falling asleep during a film is, and how undeniably cute it is you continually deny it, despite knowing it happened.
Impressed by your creativity and talent, you’d know your current position in your career is merely a stepping-stone for something larger. You’d be in awe of your own physique, accepting all of the smooth and bumpy parts as one brilliant design of human architecture.
We are all chasing after some ideal: the perfect body, partner, career, home, social life, family, or ideal situation. I am guilty of wanting the very same things and giving into that ugly voice inside that points out every single flaw.
We are products of our environment: a society that has long infected us with the belief anything short of perfection means we are losers and failures. Innocuous messages come to us regularly, encouraging the constant need for achievement without a second wasted celebrating our little wins.
Constructive criticism is not very constructive at all; instead of feeling empowered to make changes, we are inspired to belittle our achievements and highlight the flaws to be fixed. Far too often, we receive messages encouraging self-destructive thoughts and limiting mind-sets to reject the rest of who we are in order to be accepted. We have been set up for failure in our quest for success without being consciously aware of it.
Don’t buy the false truths your inner demons try to sell you, because the price you pay will leave you feeling bankrupt.
You are not the things your own mind has bullied you into believing, and I will be damned if I allow you to take another sledgehammer to your ego.
Until you learn to be your own best friend, know I am here and ready to incessantly pester you with constant reminders of why you are one of the most beautiful humans I have ever met and one of my favourite people.
Thank you for listening with an open heart and an open mind. I care for you enough to stand in the way of anyone who is in your way…even if that someone is you. You are worth every bit of the attention I have put into our relationship and deserving of the love you feel deprived of – your own.
One day, you’ll begin to believe it, too. Please let today be that day.