I remember writing a letter to myself on my 20th birthday. It was in my first year of university in my first dorm room. I wrote it in a span of a few days and I’ve considered it a masterpiece. To this day it is a valuable piece of self reflection and encouraging thoughts. I haven’t written anything for my 21st birthday because I was in a very different place in life. But since I’m back to becoming more self aware and I’m investing my time and effort into becoming my best self, I think it’s only appropriate to put together another long and inspiring letter to myself.
I’ve just read the letter I wrote to you 2 years ago. I have to say I did a really good job, it is amazing and it contains absolutely everything I wanted to say to you back then. But it is 11 freaking pages long and it takes about an hour to finish reading. No wonder that you didn’t have the patience to read the entire thing ever again and you forgot to apply the principles that I was talking about into your life. You have a special talent to know a lot of things on a theoretical level, but you somehow usually fail to implement them into your life.
What I’ve learned in the past 2 years is that you tend to be lazy. You tend to become too comfortable with what is and you settle for less than you deserve. You get stuck in a daily routine of going to university, studying to pass exams, working part time jobs and maintaining social life that you forget to take time to talk to yourself and to prioritise your own feelings. You forget what is really important in life and you get lost in the drama of daily struggles that prevent you from seeing the bigger picture.
With this letter I want to remind you of what truly matters. I want to put you back on track so no matter what happens in your life, you will see your priorities and your values clearly and you will act in accordance to them.
The most important question to ask yourself right now is – what is your number one priority in life? Me, being the voice of your true self, I actually know the answer and I want to remind you of it. Do you remember what was your number one goal since you were 12 years old? It was to learn how to love yourself. Your entire life you have struggled with self hate. It is an ongoing theme of your life. I remember when you were just 4 years old and you felt like you don’t deserve any friends and any attention of other people because you aren’t worthy of it, you are deeply flawed and you don’t deserve to be happy. Self hate was deeply rooted within you when you were a child. As you got older you began to ask questions and find ways how to overcome this feeling of unworthiness. You’ve read so many books and followed as many teachers as you could and finally made some progress. But we both know that you haven’t reached your final destination yet.
It is very questionable if there even is such a thing as a final destination. I’ve learned that self love is not a specific goal you reach one day and then you automatically love yourself for the rest of your life. Self love is a moment to moment lifelong practice. You have experienced many moments in your life when you felt like you love yourself. You felt good about your situation in life, you were proud of who you are and you loved everything about the now. But those moments usually lasted only for a little while until they faded away. Soon enough the momentum of usual negative focus took over and you felt crappy about yourself once again. What I wish for you is to learn how to maintain and deliberately choose these mental states in your life so they become your daily reality.
You are now in a place in your life when you know everything about how to love yourself that you need to know. You know exactly how to proceed, you’ve read countless books, articles, even wrote some articles yourself, you’ve seen videos, documentaries, attended workshops… You’ve mastered the theory on how to love yourself. So why is it that most of the time you’re not talking to yourself like you would to someone you love? It’s because you forget to apply what you’ve learned. I get it, you have the self hating beliefs deeply rooted within your subconsciousness. But just because you have some beliefs that say you’re not good enough and that you should be left alone doesn’t mean that they are empirically true. Beliefs are not always true, they are just behavioural patterns that you picked up along the way. All beliefs are in their nature changeable.
It takes a lot of commitment to work on yourself. Nothing ever just comes to you with no effort. You can’t expect to wake up one day and suddenly hold only the beliefs which are beneficial to you. You have to deliberately make time in your day to dive deeply into your subconscious mind and look for the negative beliefs which are shaping your reality to be not how you prefer it to be. You have to put in hard work because otherwise the negative beliefs will stay the same and your reality will remain as undesirable as it is.
This is why I suggest that for the next 365 days you will set aside a specific time in your day to just sit with yourself and feel your emotions. You will become aware of how you feel and you will allow yourself to feel every emotion as it is. You will not fight the feeling, you will not try to escape it or change it. You will simply let it be and hear the message that it brings. When you’re feeling a negative emotion, you can dive deeper into this emotion and look for the belief that is causing you to feel this way. Behind every single negative feeling lies a deeply rooted negative belief. You will be looking for the core belief until you find it. You will be brought back into your childhood to the time you picked up this belief. Then you will see an image of your child self in your head and you’re going to let the child fully experience the feelings that come with the negative belief. You’re going to introduce your adult self to your child self and you’re going to explain to it that there is nothing wrong with it for feeling the way it feels. You’re going to comfort the child and after it felt and accepted the negative emotion you will do everything to take care of this little child. You’re going to provide it with all the love, care and understanding it needs and you will leave the child feeling safe and loved. In this way you will be rewriting your own past and changing the deeply rooted beliefs within you. I guarantee you this practise will change your life. The only thing you need to do is to set aside the time in your day to be completely present with yourself. I promise to you it won’t be time wasted. You have done this exercise a couple times before and you’ve seen firsthand that it has a huge impact on your life and after you’re finished you feel like you can conquer the world. But you have not yet had enough self discipline to make yourself do this on a regular basis so it didn’t have a lasting effect.
The only thing that you need to learn how to love yourself is self control. You need to be willing to prioritise self love above anything else. The only reason why you don’t completely love yourself right now is because you’re behaving according to many different values which are not the ones that matter the most to you. You’re making decisions based on what would make other people happy, not based on what would make you happy. But this is the difference between the people who love themselves and the people who don’t. People who love themselves prioritise their own happiness above anything else. Everything else comes second to that.
The other practise that I want you to implement into your life is Teal Swans 365 days of self love. You’ve heard about this practise a long time ago, decided you’re going to do it, but you never really followed through. That is a shame because this practise is life changing. Basically, what you’re going to do is that you’re going to live your life according to a question “What would someone who loves themselves do?”. You’re going to ask this question right after you wake up until you fall asleep every day of your life for the next 365 days. I suggest you’re going to create a poster with this question and put it somewhere where you can see it all the time. I want you to ask this question whenever you’re facing a decision. You’re going to ask this question even when you’re facing a decision as mundane as “what am I going to eat for breakfast”, “which movie should I watch”, “what should I wear today”, “should I go out or stay in”. You’re going to ask this question when you’re making a more important decision like “should I get a masters degree or go get a job”, “which career choice should I make”, “to which country should I move next”. The purpose of asking this question all the time is to make sure that everything you do is leading you on a path of self love. And you already know how important self love is. Self love is everything you desire to feel, so asking this question all day every day should be your mantra. It will definitely not be easy to live your life this way because many times the self loving option is the hardest one to take. It will be an extremely challenging process but at the end it will be so worth it. It will completely turn your life around and put you on the path in life that you’re supposed to be at.
And the last thing I want you to do on a daily basis for the next 365 days is to choose 1 thing you dislike about yourself and find approval for it. Create a journal in which you’re going to describe your insecurity and then you’re going to come up with a list of reasons why that isn’t a bad thing at all and can even be acceptable. I want you to do this daily and be very creative with it. It is a very good practise because at the end you’ll be left with a journal full of creative ways how something you previously disliked about yourself is actually very likable and not a problem at all.
If you’re able to actually commit to these processes and follow through, I promise you, your life will never be the same again. These three simple exercises seem easy to do, but believe me, after some time it gets challenging. You will forget, you will get lazy, you will want to give up. But even in those times I hope that you’ll keep going because the reward is much better than anything you have ever tasted yet.
Your whole life you kept saying that all you want to do in life is to learn how to truly love yourself. Now is the time to prove that you really mean it. Because you’ve been saying that for years and years now and barely anything has changed. You can’t waste your life sitting around saying you’ll start your practise tomorrow. If you really want it as much as you say you want it, you need to start working for it.
All I ask of you is 100% commitment. You need to commit to this goal. You need to become so invested into building self love as you can. You need to make it your number one priority in life. Everything else has to come second. Asking the question “what would someone who loves themselves do” is your new mantra. Listening to your emotions and learning from them is your daily practise. Deliberately choosing the thoughts which are self loving and looking for all the creative ways you can appreciate yourself is your new ritual. Whether you’re going to be sad or happy or scared, you’re going to be there for yourself, hugging yourself, and being proud of whatever emotion you’re feeling.
To become the best version of yourself, you need to get down on one knee, propose to your decisions, and commit to them for a lifetime. That’s what your decisions deserve – 100 percent. I promise the hustle will be so so worth it in the end.