Raising My Own Mental Health Awareness: An Open Letter to Myself

Mental health awareness is a worthy endeavor, even if you start with yourself. I’ve personally been contemplating my own mental wellness over the past year, and what I realized as I skimmed through my memories is that I’ve struggled to be kind to myself for a very long time.

To serve as a reminder that I, too, am deserving of kindness and understanding, I composed a letter to myself, writing as one friend to another. I highly recommend this comforting “self-gift,” especially if, like me, you let your mind tell you things that are simply untrue.

An Open Letter to Myself

Dear Krista,

Hi. How are you? Doing better, I hope. But hey, listen, we have to talk.

You’ve been really, really hard on yourself lately. I’ve been watching how you punish yourself for all the little things that go wrong. When you’re upset, you don’t take good care of yourself: You eat crappy food, stop exercising, and stop taking your vitamins. You ignore your basic responsibilities, like cleaning and laundry, and become ashamed as your home becomes more of a mess. Sometimes, you make yourself so miserable that you even close yourself off from your friends and family, and you don’t leave your house.

What’s worse is that when you do all these things, you have such poisonous thoughts about yourself: “I’m not a good friend. I’m fat. I’m lazy. I’m a slob. I’m stupid. I don’t matter. I’m useless.” Such lies! No one else is as hard on you as you are. You’d be horrified if someone said any of these things to another person, so why is it OK to say them to yourself?

My friend, I am writing this to remind you of one simple thing: You are deserving of kindness. I know, it’s a shock, but it’s true! Rather than being your own worst enemy, be the best friend that you could ever want. Let yourself rest, and allow yourself to play, have fun, create, smile, and laugh. It’s perfectly acceptable to think kindly of yourself, have pride in your successes, and reassure and comfort yourself when you fail — just like you would for any friend.

I know you’ve been struggling for a long time to change how negatively you think of your failures and shortcomings. I understand how hard this fight is, and I admire how hard you work to maintain mindfulness, mental wellness, and the pursuit of happiness. Don’t give up now! You’re not alone, no matter what you do or where you are. You have me — for better or for worse. I promise to love you (myself), no matter what the future holds.

Here’s to another year of perseverance, growth, and kindness.

All my love and support,

Me

How’s your own mental health awareness? Are you taking the time to think deeply about your mental well-being? Follow @humankindness on Twitter, and share what you’ve discovered about yourself so far this year!

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