The backs of a woman and man walking outside

“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 selves.

Dear 19-year-old me,

I want you to get up out of your dorm room bed and stand in front of the mirror. I know you’ve looked at this reflection time after time and memorized the landscape of all your attributes. You’ve captured the negative thoughts that boys have said to you in the past, and now, they sound like your own. You’ve compared yourself to all the girls they dated before you, after you and even while they were still with you. 

Take a deep breath now, and close your eyes. Just focus on the words I’m about to tell you. You are going to fall in love, and I know you’re not prepared. You’re about to find someone who will love you more than you thought possible.

The way he looks at you, it’s like you’re the star in every teenage romantic comedy. He sees you. I mean really sees you. He loves every part of you, especially your heart. He wants to be better because of you.

This probably sounds terrifying. It is, but it’s a good kind of terrifying. Now, open your eyes. Do you see yourself as someone worthy of that love? Because you are.

Do you see yourself as someone worthy of that love? Because you are.

You are not tainted by your past. You are a beautiful human who deserves to experience love—the most magical emotion, noun and verb that exists. You’ve been living like a morphed butterfly, one whose wings have been charred black. However, you’re slowly going to change to that of a muted monarch, your hidden self resurfacing.

I know you’re going to try to fight it. You’re going to tell yourself that it’s too good to be true. I want you to open your heart, and enjoy this rare moment in your life. The love you longed for throughout high school—that you decided to finally give up on—is about to smack you in the face. I want you to be open to feeling again, to let someone know you.

He’s going to love how weird you are. The things about you that other boys rejected, this man will fall in love with. I know you’re not in a place to allow someone in, but you’re about to be treated how you were meant to back when you went on your first date. 

The things about you that other boys rejected, this man will fall in love with.

This man will not disrespect you, stand you up or cheat on you. He’s not perfect. No one is, but he’s the kind of man who will talk through the hard times and won’t give up.

I know you’ve turned your back on marriage, but I’m asking you to look at yourself in the mirror, stand up straight, and let love in. It’s not going to be predictable. Release control, open your wings and soar on the wind it creates.

Let it invade your world completely. If you do, it will take you to many breathtaking destinations, push you beyond your limits and bring more purpose to your life than you’d envisioned even in your wildest dreams. Your love together is worth the risk. 

Do you remember your first love? What advice would you give to your younger self?

Image via Chris and Sarah Rhoads of We Are the Rhoads, Darling Issue No. 7

1 comment

  1. Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts, it was very appreciated! All people are so different and it is always interesting for me to read another person’s thoughts about such an experience. If I were 19 now, I would write to myself that the most important thing is to first learn to love myself, and only then I will normally be able to love someone. But since I didn’t do that, then I didn’t understand it yet. But now I don’t think it was a mistake, it was an experience that I now have and I know it. Thanks for such a beautiful article!

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