A letter to my seventeen year old self

Today, I feel called to share a letter I wrote to my seventeen year old self. 

Reflecting on the end of this decade, I was thinking about where I was ten years ago. I was seventeen. I was a mess. I was barely managing to keep it all together in my first year of university. My anxiety was creeping up and taking over, and things were starting to get rocky in my first serious relationship. All in all, I was feeling pretty messed up. 

So I wrote that girl a letter. I find writing letters to younger versions of ourselves can be a very healing process. It can help us to acknowledge that those parts, and in turn those old wounds, still exist within us. And it can help us care for those younger parts. I wrote about that more on this post here if you want the full scoop along with some journal prompts to explore this for yourself. 

But today, I am sharing my letter with you. It’s raw. It’s real. It’s uncensored word for word what flowed from my pen and into my journal a few days ago. I share with the hopes it will serve as a model for how you can also begin to engage with a younger self from a place of kindness and compassion. 

Perhaps you are still in a place of struggle, and reading my words will feel hollow. They might not resonate with where you are right now. That is okay. Wherever you are at in your journey, I do believe that you have made strides, progress, and forward movement in some way. Maybe it feels like you have gone one step forward, and then two steps back, but try to see it all as progress in some way. And write from that perspective, acknowledging the good with the bad, and finding the golden flecks of dust amidst the sharp rugged stones. 

As always with my offerings, take what feels good and helps, and leave the rest. 

Here’s the letter:

Dear seventeen year old me,

Right now you are in your first year of university. You are struggling. You are scared. You are overwhelmed. Your mental health is so bad you have anxiety and panic attacks almost every day and all the stress building up in your body has led you to act and react in ways you are not proud of. You feel so fucked up right now and so scared you won’t be able to hold it all together. And here is the thing. You will. You will get to the other side. And I love you. 

The worst part of your struggle with mental health hasn’t hit you yet. And it will soon. The next several years will be really hard. There will be heart break and loss and dark times and you’ll be so afraid it won’t get better. But it will. It will take a long time. A decade from now you’ll still have really rough days, but you’ll do the work and you’ll be happy. 

You’ll launch a successful career in one field and then realize you actually have these incredible gives to offer the world and you’ll become a therapist instead. 

You’ll invite so many people in to your life, and say goodbye to many of them. Some will stick around, and you’ll be deeply saddened about those who don’t. It will actually be years before you meet the most important people to you. 

So many things will seem like they are the end of the world, but they won’t be. Nothing ever really is. And you’ll realize you wouldn’t change any of the heartache and pain because all of it paved the path that brought you right to the life that you were meant to live. It brought you to a beautiful, unconditional, bold and patient love. It brought you to a career that you created for yourself out of the shards of your own healing. And it brought you to a life that is perfectly imperfect. 

I love you. And I know none of this seems clear or believable to you now. But you don’t have to worry. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other and keep doing the next right thing. 

It could have gone a million different ways. But out of all the possible alternate realities, you found your way to this one. The view from here is breathtaking and I am so proud of you. 

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