An illustration of a blonde woman with her hair in a top bun and tied with a bow

Dear 20-year-old me,

Give yourself some grace. You do not have to act like you’re OK. Your heart’s been through so much this year.

Take the time to heal slowly. The grunt work will pay off. Don’t suppress the hurt, and don’t feel embarrassed. You’re going to ache. I mean really, physically ache.

I know your mind, body and soul feel heavy. I know you miss him, but it’ll fade with time. The piercing pain will dim to a dull ache and, then, shape into insecurity, but don’t sit in it too long.

The piercing pain will dim to a dull ache and, then, shape into insecurity, but don’t sit in it too long.

Do your hair and makeup every day. You’ll feel brighter, trust me. Red lipstick makes everyone feel bold. The discomfort will fade, and your confidence will return. 

Maybe you’re not ready to receive this message, but, when you are, it’s here waiting for you.

You will grasp forgiveness someday. Forgive him. Forgive yourself. Don’t stress your confusion because when the dust settles you’ll see clearly. You’ll understand that the relationship served its purpose.

The best piece of advice I can give you is to avoid comparison. This isn’t about him or anyone else. It’s your journey and self-discovery process.

Your joy was misplaced. It’ll take you a while to find it, but, trust me, it’s coming. You’ll strengthen your empathy and connect to others with similar experiences. You’ll create new joys and discover God’s plan is so much sweeter than your own.

Lean on your friends. They want to support you. Make sure to thank them excessively because they’re going to carry you through the next year.

Cling to music. Embrace its solace. 

Start saying “yes” to more things. The rest of your college career will be filled with refreshing experiences if you’ll just show up. Don’t let the heartbreak close you off. You are surrounded by beautiful hearts and gorgeous minds. Use this time to learn. Use this time to craft yourself. 

Don’t let the heartbreak close you off…Use this time to learn. Use this time to craft yourself. 

Practice growing gratitude. God will gift you with beautiful friends to guide you. Don’t be afraid to just look up. The right people and opportunities will find you once your heart is open to receive them.

Joy, hope and freedom are coming.

Love,
Your future self

Do you remember your first heartbreak? What advice would you give to your younger yourself?

Image via Emily Fages, Darling Issue No. 12

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