Friday, February 19, 2010


Normally, this is the sort of thing I'd write in my paper journal, where no one else could ever read it. But this time, I felt compelled to bare my soul and put it out for all the world (or the 11 of you who subscribe to the blog) to read.

Dear Leah:

Stop being so hard on yourself! Yes, it's ok to be sad - you don't need to criticize yourself for feeling that way! Even more than that, you probably don't even need to feel sad! Let's take a look at this, shall we?

How many people are there out there who have told you they miss you and love you since you left? And now, add in the ones you haven't had direct contact with, but that you still know love you.

Now let's face it. Although you have a very large number (are you looking at that list?) of people who love you, and that you love in return, let's be honest here. Some of them are just a teeny-tiny bit critical and judgmental at times. (For example, just now before you corrected it, you spelled "judgmental" with an "e" after the "g" - if you hadn't corrected it, how many of those aforementioned loved ones would have emailed about that?!)

So, remembering that some of those loved ones are a bit judgmental, you can also remember that they love you! And when you look at the size of that list (it's a damn good list!), you have to think they can't all be wrong! If they all love you, even the judgmental ones, there's probably good reason, right? I bet you could even come up with a list of reasons why they love you. Not including because of how you vote, which I (even I!) think is a pretty lame reason to love someone.

Are you perfect? Well, I guess that depends on whether you are one of those "don't be so hard on yourself, nobody's perfect" types or one of those more Buddhist "everyone's perfect because all creation is perfect" types. But really, that's not the point. The point is, you have a few flaws. Who doesn't? According the former philosophy, those flaws don't matter. According to the latter philosophy, those flaws are perfect.

Aside from the flaws, you're pretty ok! Let's take a look at just a few of the relevant factors for today's lesson.

1. You can buy your own food in Spanish, and hand over the appropriate amount of money without staring blankly at the person selling you the food.

2. You can buy a bus ticket in Spanish, and while you might stare blankly at the person selling the ticket when they start issuing instructions, you still end up at the right place.

3. You have not only got great friends and family at home, but made a whole bunch of new ones since arriving in Mexico. (P.S. you might want to consider adding them to the list from above.)

4. You are able to ask for help when you need it. Don't underestimate the value of this trait! It's not weak to ask for help - it's a sign of strength to recognize when you need it!

5. You are able to fend for yourself when you think you need help, but actually don't, and there's no help to be had. This is very important. You are surprisingly resourceful.

6. You have improved your ability to stay focused in meditation from approximately 10 seconds when you first began to up to an hour or sometimes even more on occasion! Ok, yes, the average is probably about 15 minutes, but that's not so bad! If you can overcome the Sesame Street attention span, what can't you accomplish?!

7. You can write a soul-searching, soul-revealing journal entry, and infuse it with humour! That is no mean gift! (Ok, so you might be the only one who appreciates the humour, but who cares?! This is a letter to you anyway!)

8. You are able to appreciate the hard lessons in life, even when they really suck, because you know they make you stronger and wiser and generally better, etc. Sometimes, you can even appreciate those lessons before several years have passed!

9. You are facing a challenge that many people never attempt in their lifetime - the challenge to accept yourself, as you are, no matter what other people think.

10. You can remember up to five or 10 minutes after first thinking and/or writing it that what other people think is - hey, you're pretty ok!

I think a list of 10 things (even if some of them seem a bit contrived) that you can be pleased with is not too shabby. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you have accomplished a whole hell of a lot in the last year, never mind the previous 34 years, and that you ought be incredibly proud of yourself! I'll spare you the list of all those accomplishments, because you already know what they are. But the next time you start being so hard on yourself, I'm going to remind you about how you mustered up the courage to leave your friends, family, job, sell your apartment, your furniture and your worldly belongings to travel in a place where you don't speak the language... etc. You get the point?

So - get on with it already! Stop being so hard on yourself!

I'm just sayin'... give it some thought.


(seriously. love yourself. other people do, how hard can it be?)


  1. Apparently, there are now 12 of you who subscribe. I stand corrected. Actually, I sit corrected, but whatever.

  2. I'm not subscribed but I'm reading!

  3. I signed up for google mail just so I could comment! Make sure you include me in the list of people who think you're awesome.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I love you, Leah. Add ME to the list!!

    As soon as I found out about your trip, I had nothing but immediate thoughts of HOW AWESOME YOU ARE and what a positive thing this trip is for you! Not one doubt in my mind about it or your ability to execute it!

    You're the best!

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