An illustration of a woman's frame

“Letters to My Younger Self” is a series focused on wisdom and self-awareness. Just as you write letters to a friend to encourage and uplift them, here is the advice we would go back and tell our younger selves.

Dear 22-year-old me,

(or should I say: dear 22-year-old body?)

First of all, I would like to apologize. It has always been easy to see you as something you are not, and to treat you accordingly. Vehicle. Burden. Enemy.

It has always been easy to see you as something you are not, and to treat you accordingly. Vehicle. Burden. Enemy.

That’s not fair. In the past, you have been confronted with challenges, and you have found a way to overcome them all. I will let you in on a secret: everything you’ve been through up until now has been child’s play.

Before you freak out, I will let you in on another secret: you will get stronger every day. Even if sometimes it feels like you’re not, you are. It doesn’t mean you will never get beat down (oh, you will), but you will find a way to cultivate resilience, time and again.

I am writing to you now to tell you, you will be OK. For this particular purpose, I am talking to you as if we are two separate entities—bound to a life together.

However, in fact, we are not separate at all, are we? You are me and I am you. Let’s just say that this—talking to “you” instead of “me” contributes to the conversation. Why? Because it’s so much easier to listen to someone else, than it is to listen to yourself.

You are me and I am you.

Rest assured that by now I have learned a thing or two about us. I have found that nothing good comes from our long-distance relationship. No, we need to be close together in order for us to work.

It’s funny how you can feel so very conscious of your body (say, when you’re unhappy with it), and yet, feel so distanced from it at the same time.

The final and most important secret I have to share with you is this: the duality of body and mind is a myth. It’s not serving us, not in the least. I promise that this obvious, yet often hidden truth will slap us in the face soon enough. Sometimes, we forget, but we find ways to remind ourselves.

In the years to come, you will learn that the times when you feel your best are when we are in sync and truly connected. We are not strangers. On the contrary, you are the closest to home I will ever get. I will learn to decorate you not because you need embellishments to be beautiful, but because you are beautiful and worthy of good things.

There will come a time when I can say this out loud and feel confident at the same time. You and I will feel OK in our own skin. But most importantly, I will learn to see you as everything you are and to treat you accordingly. Temple. Kingdom. Friend.

Was there a specific area you struggled to have confidence in? What advice would you give to your younger self?

Image via Heidi Hundseth Hart

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