I have been going through a lot of changes lately, including a career change and moving into a new apartment. While moving, I stumbled across a letter I wrote to myself my freshman year of college. During orientation, we were told to write these letters to our future selves with our hopes and dreams and then my college would hold onto them and then send them to us after we graduated.
The one piece that resonated with me from my letter was that I ended it saying that, “I hope that when I read this letter, I have learned to love myself and have grown as a person”.
It is pretty crazy to me that I knew back then how badly I wanted self-love, but I had no idea how to do it. I was never really shown. So instead of trying, I ran into the next 5 to 6 years of self-hate and pain. I knew back then how badly I wanted it, but because self-hate became my norm, I tried my best to please toxic people, in a desperate attempt to feel love.
But then when I finally started to work on myself and figure out what self-love looked like for me, with the assistance of my therapist, I finally accomplished what 18 year old Ivy wanted so badly for herself. It didn’t happen when I graduated college, like I thought, but it happened. And it was beautiful when it happened. And that is what matters. I am so grateful for the journey to be where I am today, loving myself as I am.
If you had a plan of when you would finally love yourself, it’s okay if you aren’t quite there yet. There are still a lot of days that I struggle with loving myself. Be patient with yourself. It might not be tomorrow or next week, but when it happens, it will be the most beautiful realization that you are exactly who you are supposed to be, that who you are is amazing, and that your imperfections make you that much more beautiful.
Self-love is not an overnight process. It takes time, it takes work, it takes patience and dedication. But once you know what it feels like, even on those days or weeks when self-love seems far away, you will always be able to come back home to yourself. Because you will know you are worthy of coming back.
Today, I am reminding myself that I can come home to myself. I have been so stressed with so many life changes and some unknowns, that I have forgotten that I am worthy of self-love.
So to remind myself, I am doing what my college encouraged us to do from day 1: write a short letter to myself. So my letter to myself today is this:
Dear Ivy, I hope you always remember how wildly beautiful you are. And on those days that you forget, I hope you always remember you have the strength to come back, forgive yourself and try again.
Try it for yourself. Be patient with yourself. It’s okay if it takes time. But the time that it takes will be worth it, simply because you are worth it.