An illustration of a young girl with rosy cheeks and a t-shirt with a heart on it

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 ourselves.

Dear tough girl,

You feel things. Despite the number of times you make a defiant face to others, declaring that no one can break your heart, you feel things.

“My heart is a rock,” is basically your catchphrase right now. You use it every time you start to feel sad. You feel sad a lot. 

Just so you know, you were never telling these things to other people but to yourself, in an attempt to try to squelch the feelings you do have. As we both know, at the moment, you can’t deal with them. 

Your “catchphrase” is more of a mantra you try to get stuck in your mind like gum on the bottom of a shoe, even though you won’t admit it for another five years.

You shouldn’t be so focused on the tough girl image you’ve so cleverly cultivated. Change is natural, and everyone goes through it. Yes, even you. Being stuck in your ways will only make you lose out on the experiences you want to have.

You shouldn’t be so focused on the tough girl image you’ve so cleverly cultivated.

I know you are lonely. You were always lonely. I know you believe friendships have an expiration date. This isn’t because people don’t want to be your friend but because you don’t ever allow anyone to get too close.

You will eventually find people who accept you just the way you are. So much so that they will be able to distinguish between when you are just coping and when you are being the real you.

Good news, you will eventually become the prodigy child you always wished you were, all by your efforts and in the comfort of your house. You will find yourself on a completely different path than you could have ever imagined, but you will find yourself in it. You will be happy with it. 

You will eventually have to work on your mind. The career you built for yourself will feel like the only thing left to show when you start to question your self-worth. Yet, you are so much more than that. You are a bright, young girl with many talents who simply needs time to heal. 

You are a bright, young girl with many talents who simply needs time to heal. 

I know the world has never been kind to you, and the way you are now is a result of that. Right now, you are angry, resentful, sad and fearful, but you will eventually be able to let go of this narrative, along with the weight you have been carrying on your shoulders. You will be able to move forward.

You can do it. I believe in you.

All my best,
Your future self

Have you ever had a hard time stuffing emotions? Why it is so important to acknowledge and process feelings?

Image via Karolina Kierat, Darling Issue No. 21

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