THE MOST IMPORTANT WORDS OF MY LIFE…
Dear Ones –
Some of you may remember these lines from EAT PRAY LOVE.
These are the words I said to myself (wrote to myself, actually) when I was lonely and scared in the middle of the night in Rome, far away from all who loved me.
This was a practice I had started about a year earlier, when I was in the worst of my depression — to write compassionate and loving letters to myself in a notebook, saying to myself everything I had always wished somebody else would say to me.
Until I learned how to speak to myself this way, I had no chance of peace.
Other people can love you. Other people can comfort you. But other people often come and go. And if you can't soothe and reassure yourself in your darkest, loneliest hour, nobody can.
There were nights when I sat up for hours, writing words like this to myself again and again, through a scrim of tears and waves of panic. And often another (angrier) part of me would scrawl at the bottom of the page: "This is bullshit. I don't believe in you." Then I would patiently begin writing again at the top of the next page, "But I believe in YOU. And I will not leave your side. I will love you and take care of you forever…" On it would go, until I could finally fall asleep.
Then again the next night…and so on.
That's how I walked through my darkest valley.
I will tell you this — there are STILL hard nights sometimes when I take out the old notebook and ask, "Are you still there?"
"I am still here," I will start writing, "I'm not going anywhere. I'm right here with you. I love you and I will take care of you…"
My promise to myself is this: I will walk beside myself for as long as I live, holding my own hand, taking care of the soul with which I have been entrusted.
I will do that always, whether anybody else is in the room with me or not.
You must learn how to tell yourself that you are loved. You must tell yourself this again and again until slowly you learn to believe it. Start writing yourself love letters. It feels weird at first, but keep going. Practice. Practice more. Practice EVEN more. You'll need it someday — or you may need it right now.
Life can be hard, but without your own certain love for your own tenderest self, it is simply impossible.
Be good to you.