Periodically I read this letter and wonder who needs to hear encouraging words. This is a long one…but take only what YOU need.
I have been thinking about who you are. You are smart; you are beautiful; you are kind and generous (btw, no one is 100% on this); you are clever and have a good sense of humor; and you desire to have purpose and meaning in your life.
If you walked through your days wearing a sign around your neck with this list you would become aware of who tears away pieces of your self. Then you might hand them a pieces of your sign, letting them know that their words or actions harmed you. If you actually did this exercise, even just mentally, for a day, you would to begin to recognize those who “tear” away your sense of self and to know when a relationship leaves you feeling “less than”.
Knowledge and awareness is such a strong tool. When you begin to walk with this self-awareness and recognize what is happening, you are able choose your path. If a friend or lover is worth it to you, you can choose to become less and less. But I don’t think you’ll follow that path so easily again.
You know who you are and are capable of holding that knowledge within you. As you become stronger you will realize that NO ONE can tear at your sense of self without you allowing it. Step by step you will move back into confidence.
The path to self-assurance is slow and winding. You will sometimes lose ground. But the mistakes you make help you understand when relationships are not healthy and fulfilling. Even in the throes of great passion and new exhilarating love, you will feel the niggling doubts become certainties: “He shouldn’t say that to me;” “she isn’t really that supportive as a friend”; “I don’t have REAL fun when I am with him;” “I am constantly doing more in this relationship that he/she is doing…is that what I want”?
You deserve good things! Although no relationship is without irritations, fights, distance, disappointments ,and even hurt and sorrow, these should not be prevailing themes.
Someday you will be surrounded with a group of nurturing friends, both male and female, who are worthy of your confidences, supportive in your life, holding you in your times of sorrow and joyful with you in your triumphs. But the assembling of this garden of friends will be slow and painstaking. You will probably pick one flower at a time and may have to weed some out through the years.
You will meet the man who will like you and love you and enjoy you for the person you are. And you will love, respect and admire him. But you may have to kiss a lot of frogs…
Ah, you say, “All that is well and good, Grammy, but what about now?”
I love you, my dear, and I see that black cloud of rejection that is hanging with you now. It is easy to question yourself about whether you were good enough, whether you could have done something different, etc., etc.. There is no shortcut through this pain. One breath at a time, you will make it through.
There is an almost irresistible urge to try to recreate and restore the relationship. This urge can sometimes overwhelms your knowledge that this is all for the best. That has to do with wanting, desiring, yearning for the perfect love that you tried to create. Because you put so much of yourself into it, it may have seemed perfect to you many times. That dream of what could have been and should have been can cause a lot of pain when you face what really was.
This is human and natural. When we try to “make up” our lives, we feel as if we are failures if it doesn’t come out the way we planned. We don’t believe the relationship failed…we failed! Crazy isn’t it? But don’t you think it is true? That it is hard to forgive ourselves for the time, energy and pieces of ourselves that we sacrificed for a make-believe world?
Let it go, my love. Forgive yourself for being young, loving and hopeful. Forgive yourself for making the same mistake that has been made by many, many women on their road to being themselves. As you look around at the women in your family and circle of adult relationships you can know that most of them have gone through a similar experience… we lived through it and we are stronger and more selective!
Welcome to womanhood!
Don’t let this discourage you from laying yourself bare in relationships. Those lovers who are worthy of you will reciprocate in kind. We can’t have truly loving and rewarding relationships without giving of ourselves. It is better to be vulnerable, to be the person you want to be, and have some missteps; than to guard yourself throughout your life and thus shut out great love.
Remember when I asked you about having a bottom line for yourself? Here is the beginning of one for you. Change it as you want and need…just make sure to have one.
A man who loves you as you are,
A man who gives as much as he takes,
A man who is willing to move into the relationship as it grows,
A smart man,
A man who acknowledges his feelings,
A man who can be admired and respected,
A man who admires and respects you.
When you are questioning yourself I hope you will re-read the first paragraph of this letter. Who you are is just right! You will gain wisdom as you move through life, but you are ENOUGH now and always.
I love you dearly.
May 30, 2009
This is incredible. I am 18 myself, and my grandma passed away when I was 13. Lately I have been missing her immensely, as I have battled with the doubts mentioned in this post, and yearn for her wisdom and advice. Thank you for the reassurance.
I’m so glad this means something to you.
Totally enjoyed reading your letters. What a gift you are giving to your children and anyone who sees them. One way to live on, isn’t it. That’s what has bothered me about death of our family and friends – they have so much knowledge and experience that seems to have gone with them for the most part. I love this concept – we can share these things and they will be around for anyone who runs across them. I feel a little better now about death – just a little:)
I wish that I could write like that.
What a wonderful compliment. I think you do…you just choose different subjects.