For You, After You’ve Finally Learned To Love Yourself

I’ve spent years berating you, enumerating all the ways you would never be enough — strong enough, intelligent enough, ambitious enough, soft-hearted enough, beautiful enough. But despite my harsh words, I am grateful for all that you are and all that you will become.

I’m grateful for your strength. You worry that you are weak, inherently frail and delicate, but you’ve weathered the harshest storms with grace and poise. You’ve carried yourself through trauma and strife crying and wavering, but persisting through each obstacle with an airy smile and a tenacious spirit. You have the impeccable talent of rising from the most heartbreaking defeats as if healing were easy, as if you are no longer in pain, and I’m grateful for your tenacity when you long to fall apart.

I’m grateful for your intelligence. You treat yourself as though you are an impostor, but your magnificent mind reflects your wellspring of potential. You know the world profoundly and deeply, satiating your inquisitive thirst for answers at every turn. You understand others’ deepest plights, forging connections that transcend the mundane and cross the realm of true emotion. You know yourself honestly and authentically, lending your heart to a rare wisdom that showcases your wealth of gifts, and I’m grateful for your ability to forge impenetrable bonds with all who know you.

I’m grateful for your ambition. You strive to reach the stars, letting your latent wellspring of self-belief shine through, even as you doubt your capabilities. You refuse to let the world smother your hopes, steadfastly wearing your dreams like a crown, a prized possession no one can rob from you. You fill your heart with wild dreams, fantasies that readily spill out of your soul as you follow them with your most powerful weapon: action.

I’m grateful for your soft heart. You embrace everyone you come to know, wrapping loved ones in your arms as they cry, accepting every word as friends and strangers alike recount the secrets that haunt them. You dedicate your world, your sparse time, your finite energy, your limited resources to those you love, passionately giving pieces of your soul away, smiling as you provide warmth, love, and support to those who need it most. You feel every emotion deep within your soul, providing a wellspring of empathy for the distraught and disenfranchised, the lost and lonely.

I’m grateful for your beauty. Your radiant smile beams warmth and love, inviting the world into your heart as your lips widen in exuberance. Your melodious laugh floats through the air, catapulting streams of joy everywhere you turn. Your heart is pure and precious, a river of deep love and care for all you meet, and I’m grateful for your tenderness and empathy, a true exemplar of your beautiful soul.

I’ve agonized over your shortcomings, fighting against you with every breath, recounting all the ways you would fail to measure up. But you are an unquellable force in this life, a miraculous beacon of resilience, wisdom, and empathy for all you encounter. You are, and always will be enough, and I’m eternally grateful for the lifetime of love we’ll share from this day on.

Lives for red lipstick, high heels, 80’s pop, cats, and Oxford commas.

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