Have you heard the song Dear Younger Me be Mercy Me? You can listen here.
I do realize that Mercy Me did not come up with this concept. I have read letters to the “younger me” on various sites and blogs. It’s a good concept because if we knew then what we knew now, we would do a lot of things differently. Or so we think.
But would we?
I’m not so sure, because life is a journey. All the things that we have experienced, no matter how horribly wrong things might have gone, or even how incredibly awesome they may have been, well, those things make us the people we are today. All of those experiences.
That song, Dear Younger Me, gets me every time.
So I decided to write a letter to the younger me. I may or may not use things that directly happened to me personally.
Dear Younger Me,
I stand in amazement as I write this letter to you. I am amazed that you are still here, standing strong, but not alone, getting out of the bed everyday, doing it all again.
Dear 10 year old me. It’s not your fault. You were never meant to carry that alone. Friends are fallible people. It’s a lesson you learned early on, or maybe you didn’t, because you kept expecting your best friend to treat you how you wanted to be treated, how you treated her. I’m sorry it didn’t turn out that way, but it’s okay now. You are exactly where God wants you to be and those experiences as a 10 year old little girl, well they helped shape you into the person you are today.
Dear 12 year old me. It’s not your fault. You did nothing to deserve to be bullied or sexually harnessed and abused. You were innocent. You neither asked to be touched inappropriately by those who should have known better, nor wanted it. And while I’m at it, drop the guilt about the no talk rule you were abiding by. You were just trying to survive, doing the best you could do with the knowledge you had. Forgive yourself, and forgive the perpetrators, as hard as that may seem. It’s for your peace of mind, not theirs.
Dear 14 year old me. Wow, your first boyfriend! It’s not your fault. Nobody taught you how to have a healthy relationship with the opposite sex. Things like that weren’t discussed in your day. If truth be told, they’re not always discussed in this day either. It’s just the way things are. We expect our kids to intuitively know these things. They can’t and they don’t. You couldn’t have known your first boyfriend had another girlfriend the whole time he was with you. He went to a different school. So did she. You’re worthy of loyalty and love. You were then. You are now.
Dear 16 year old me. You did good, all things considering. You couldn’t have known that the things that were going on in your life at the time, and the lives of those you loved, would cause you to make decisions you would one day regret. You couldn’t know what you didn’t know. It will make life easier in the long run if you let it go now.
Dear 20 year old me. You’re in love! It’s for real this time. It’s the commitment-for-life kind of love. You look back now and think: “If only I had known”, but that’s the whole point of this letter. You didn’t. You weren’t designed to do life alone. You were created to be a part of a team, many teams in fact, because we need each other. And there’s no more intimate team than that of a spouse.
Unless it isn’t.
And if you find yourself in that lonely marriage, the one where you and your spouse just don’t connect, the fighting, the dysfunction, the money issues, the abuse, the infidelity, the alcoholism, the drug addiction, the sex addiction, the gambling addiction and on and on and on. It’s not your fault. Those things that affected you greatly, actually had nothing to do with you. It’s true that you had a part to play and true too, that it’s so very important to own your part, but for here, for this purpose, please know that you are worthy.
You ARE enough.
You didn’t deserve the treatment you received.
You aren’t stupid.
You aren’t ugly.
You aren’t a loser.
You aren’t any of these things.
You aren’t defined by life’s experiences or the actions of others.
You are valuable.
You are unique.
You are infinitely beautiful.
You are loved.
Dear younger me, You have a lifetime of experience you carry with you. Some are good, many are not. But from where I sit, all things considering, it’s amazing that you are where you are today. Those things that have hurt you the most, are the things that you have been gifted with to help other people.
The messes of your life can become the messages you have to reach out to those who find themselves in those familiar places you have visited. What an amazing opportunity you have been given.
It’s the 12th step in AA’s 12 Step Program: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics (and all those with issues), and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.
Dear younger me, you were never meant to do life alone. You made mistakes along the way, but you haven’t let them stop you from living and being engaged in life.
And that…that’s a very good thing indeed.