Dear Self, Thank You
I was able to catch up with a really good friend the other day. It was really nice sharing bits and pieces of my life with her and hearing how her life in grad school was going. We're often each other's biggest cheerleaders, never failing to recognize, appreciate, and point out the strong qualities we each possess to one another. After she explained that she was going through some particularly difficult experiences and seemed to be losing some of her old spirit, I challenged her to do something: Write a thank you letter to yourself.
At first, as I expected it would, the challenge seemed odd to her. She didn't quite know what she would thank herself for, but I encouraged her to take some time and think about it.
Don't we all deserve to be thanked for something? What about being thanked by our own selves? Shouldn't we value ourselves enough to give us credit when we deserve it--even for something miniscule? Sometimes it's all too simple to seek affirmation from worldly things, from experiences, and from other people, but I would argue that it's just as important to affirm ourselves from time to time.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving and of More Love Letters, I thought I should take my own advice and write my own thank you letter to myself. It's not meant to be narcissistic or self-serving, but rather an exercise to appreciate one's self-worth. And let me tell you, it was uncomfortable, awkward, and more challenging than I expected, but I am so glad I did it . . .
Normally I begin thank you notes with a direct: Thank you ____ for the generous ____. Or I'm so grateful that you were able to come to _____. Naturally, this is a bit of a different letter, so I'm not really sure where this will take me by the end. So here goes.
Marissa, you've been working really really hard for the past two months. Actually for the past several years, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. When everything came crashing down, you had a choice. Thank you for choosing to fight. Thank you for choosing to swim instead of sink. Thank you for waking up every day and making the choice to make it a better day than the last.
Thank you for being willing to admit your failures, your shortcomings, and your lack of judgment at times. You've always been stubborn and afraid of failure, but by speaking them aloud, you've been able to grow so much more. Thank you for being so bloody ambitious that you're still able to find the spirit and energy to open every door of possibility you can.
Thank you for not settling. At least not yet. Thank you for having the courage to look a little longer, push a little harder. I sincerely hope it pays off--and I think it will. Thanks for dreaming big and actually believing that you are destined for something amazing. It's nice to know that cynicism hasn't taken over your positive and beautiful spirit.
Oh my goodness, thank you for blogging. It is actually one of the BEST things you've ever done. Your decision to blog and to keep blogging has made my life so much happier and fulfilled. Thank you for reaching out to new people, for not caring what people think of your selfies, for writing consistently, for sharing a piece of your soul on the internet for the world to see, if they want to. I can't wait to see where this takes you.
If there is one thing I could point out that has been so helpful, it would be your faith. Thank you for trusting God, for remaining hopeful despite all obstacles, for trying very hard to accept a new path in life.
There are so many other little things I could thank you for, but I will leave it at this. Just know that I have nothing but gratitude for the woman you are and will continue to be.
What would your thank you letter to yourself say? Share in the comments below if you feel compelled!