Earlier this week, I very gratefully celebrated another birthday. While I typically give myself a trip to the spa or a designer handbag (um, usually both), this year I opted for something more simple, sacred, and soulful - a love letter.
I've written notes of endearment and encouragement to myself in the past, but it's always felt a little superficial and contrived. So while this practice isn't new to me at all, the process definitely was.
This year, having photos of my younger self nearby kept me more grounded, raw, and real. I kept reminding myself that I was also writing to HER – the doe-eyed, cherub-cheeked little one from whom I couldn’t imagine withholding love, acknowledgement, or affirmation.
As I looked at my little self, I felt ashamed thinking of all the times when those harsh and disparaging words flowed so fast, furious, and easily in the face of mistakes and missteps. Why wasn't I more gentle and more generous?
Of course, I couldn't help but think of my four-year-old daughter nearly every second of the process.
We say the most cruel and destructive things to ourselves that most of us would never utter to another human being, let alone a small child. In so many ways, that seems entirely out of integrity with who we are, or who we're meant to be, as conscious and creative beings.
It began as a love letter to me, from me. But, my deeper hope and wish is that you'll also receive it as a love letter from me, to you. A passion-infused plea that I hope you might consider to be your permission slip to start speaking to yourself with more kindness, compassion, and love each and every day.
Hello, It’s me.
As we’ve just completed another journey around the sun together, I’ve been thinking of you a great deal.
There are a few things I’ve wanted to say for some time, but as I’ve been foraging for the right words, I’ve also been struggling to unearth the courage and conviction to speak these greater truths.
Even now, there’s unease and my skin is prickling with discomfort. As I start to step into the honesty and give shape to my sentiments, my fragile ego is fiercely fighting for her life.
But, here it goes...
I know I've been really, really hard on you over the years. In many ways, I’ve always found it much easier to be critical than to be kind. I've offered condescension in times when compassion was the only reasonable response and I fostered fear in the moments when I should've helped you soften into forgiveness.
As Maya Angelou has said, “When you know better, you do better.” I now know better.
More than anything, I want you to know how much I love that you’ve finally come to realize that your tender heart is not a liability, but rather a mighty force to be reckoned with.
Thank you for seeing that brokenness creates the space for expansion.
Thank you for allowing the fractures and fissures to invite more light in this year.
I’m incredibly grateful you’ve decided to wholeheartedly embrace your freedom. By decreeing love as your conscious first choice in every situation, you’ve called in more wonder to live alongside your liberation. Your growing respect for the fear that lives within you and in others has deepened your capacity for empathy, understanding, and peace.
You are brave. You are lovely. You are enough.
I love how you are leaning into your imperfection as a mother and that you’ve come to embrace parenting as the ultimate privilege. Rest assured that your children know beyond doubt that they are safe, treasured, and respected.
Your dedication to deepening the sacredness of your marriage is beautiful. I love that you continue to nurture the shared understanding that your separateness and autonomy are invaluable to your togetherness. Your steadfast commitment to treat each other as friends and as lovers first and foremost only fortifies and enriches your roles as father and mother.
You are cherished. You are loved. You are significant.
I admire and adore you for actively choosing to shine in all of those moments when you so desperately want to hide. Your willingness to be truly seen will inspire others to do the same.
I love that you are willing to take on the tough stuff and bump up against adversity as a test of your grace, grit, and gumption. Please continue to breathe life into those daring and daunting dreams that are forever dancing through your head.
You are a warrior. You are a creator. You are a light bearer.
Your wanderlust and insatiable taste for rich, new experiences have served you so very well. I love that you try to find magic in the mundane and that you're always searching for the meaning in every moment.
I love how much you know, but it’s your profound understanding of how much you still need to learn that makes my soul sing. Don’t stop reaching for new heights or exploring those depths yet to be discovered. Your commitment to your continuous unfolding is courageous.
You are a seeker. You are a teacher. You are a disciple.
What you lack in patience, dear one, you make up for in persistence. And while you may sometimes stumble from your lack of balance, you swim ever-so-gracefully in the sea of loyalty you’ve poured around those whom you hold as precious.
You are generous. You are intricate. You are devotion.
P.S. I've included one of my favourite pics of you from Mexico. I happen to LOVE this secretly snapped photo, courtesy of your darling little sister, Jana. xoxo