A Letter of Love: Letter to My Younger Self
Dear newer Michelle,
STOP. Pause. Please take the time to really listen to what I have to share. Sit down in a quiet spot, in the sun in the backyard, in your favorite chair. Take a deep breath. Ensure you will be afforded peace and quiet so that you really absorb what I am saying and take self-inventory. This letter is a letter of love that I want you to take to heart.
You have a strong desire to be a caregiver—a drive and a passion. You are a helper, and that is a fantastic attribute. At times that is how you identify yourself: a doer, a giver, essentially a helper, as Mr. Rogers would say. Being any helper can be part of who you are but don’t let it be who you are. If you let it become who you are, you will lose yourself.
Time on Earth is elusive, it can go by quickly, and slowly, and nothing is promised. We all run out of time yet we really don’t talk about or plan for it. Time is a gift. It sounds cliché but it is the truth. Don’t toss your gift aside, enjoy it. Enjoy it with your loved ones, say what you mean, and use it carefully.
You are WORTH investing in yourself; give to yourself. You have to take care of yourself so that you can continue to take care of others. You are emotionally intelligent and can feel what others do. Take the time to feel YOUR feelings; they are just as valuable. Express yourself; you do not have to edit who you are. Not everyone is going to like what you say or do but you are not in control of their reactions, so honor your energy and light. Take the time to foster your creativity—create, express yourself, and enjoy. Take the time to be mindful and grateful. Be curious. Ask all the questions. It is okay; you don’t have to hide or be quiet. Take up space.
Your body is a vessel, its job is to help you get around and function, and hold your light. Your vessel is yours only. Love and appreciate your vessel! Don’t compare yourself to others; your light shines just as bright. Celebrate yourself and what you can do—be grateful, and again be mindful.
Stop apologizing. You are human. You are going to make mistakes; this is how you learn. “I’m sorry,” will not matter if you say it often; use it sparingly.
Life is not about tasks, money, productivity, or possessions. As a helper, you are going to make that your life’s work, but you have to set boundaries. You have to say “no” and put yourself first. You can’t save the world. Remember, no matter what an employer does or says, you are replaceable but your time isn’t.
Life is about love. Love can hurt, but it’s worth the pain. Keep your heart and mind open, even if you experience pain; I promise you it’s worth the risk. Seeing the pain helps you appreciate the joy even more.
Use the beautiful things. Don’t save that “nice” dress for a special occasion; wear it grab a coffee, or use those fancy napkins while enjoying your favorite pizza. Life is too short and unpredictable to be saving things for later.
Please most of all, don’t rush. Slow down. Enjoy that cup of coffee, your breakfast, the car drive to the grocery store with the windows down, and even that simple morning shower before work. These are moments to be treasured.
The updated version,