A letter to my 8 year old self


You are simply beautiful. You are stunning, and radiant. But darling, you will soon learn that everyone defines beauty differently. You will be taught to strongly believe in one definition, society will force on you another, and all those around you will undeniably have their own classifications. You may scoff when you are told that beauty comes from within, and smirk when they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But this is the truth: beauty has nothing to do with your shell, it is about having the courage, integrity and confidence to be your authentic self.
You will doubt yourself and question how you could ever be considered beautiful without a thigh gap, a six pack or blond hair. You will worry about standing out because you are the tall brunette planted in a garden of ‘normal-sized’ blond girls. You will think you stick out like a sore thumb. Well you do stand out, but not like a sore thumb, more like a tall, magical tree, deeply rooted and full of life. You will get frustrated when boys, and I must emphasize BOYS, aren’t drawn to you immediately because you don’t have bright blond hair, or you aren’t showing enough skin. You will try to deny and hide all the aspects of your being that make you different, but, my love, that is what makes you shine. A wise man once said that to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. Consider yourself accomplished.
People who are supposed to love you, will drag you down. Those who are meant to protect you will sometimes turn a blind eye because it is easier to embrace the false calm, than to stand in the eye of the storm and challenge the forces that create such a monstrous energy. You are good, my girl. You are better than good. You are gold. Seek no other approval other than your own. You are so loved, and you deserve to love yourself. You are bright, you are funny, and you might be the most resilient child I’ve ever known. Your strength will keep you afloat even through the wildest and muddiest undertows.
You will put your trust in people who did not earn it, and they will lead you astray. They are going to make you question your value and cause you to doubt your worth. They will also force you to live up to standards that are inherently impossible to reach. You started at a deficit, child. These people will define you not by who you are, but who they aren’t. They see something in you that makes them uncomfortable deep within themselves. They justify their hateful words, snide remarks, and dirty looks by telling themselves you aren’t enough. You could never have amounted to anything in their eyes, and that’s okay. When someone judges you so harshly, you should never strive for their acceptance. You should detach with love, because they aren’t worthy of your heart.
You will be taught that to measure up you must be aesthetically pleasing to the masses. That you should look like the others and be thin. This is fundamentally wrong. You will be told that if you don’t feel well, physically or emotionally, you should just run it off. They will say that running solves most of life’s problems, especially your ‘weight’ problems. But again, that is merely not the truth. Running away from your problems will never make them go away, you must find the answers within yourself. You will be told a lot of things, sweet girl, but you will never be told this, so let me share with you now. Practicing emotional hygiene is equally as important as physical hygiene. When you are emotionally struggling, honor it. Feel those feelings as deeply as you can, embrace them no matter how negative or positive, and then move on with grace. Do not brush them under the rug, do not push them aside to be dealt with at another time. Things will move a lot faster when you face your vulnerability head on.
Please listen to me when I say that you are not chubby, nor have you ever been chubby. You are going to spend 29 years on this planet before you realize you never were. But even if you are, it doesn’t matter because you will only ever be you. You will only ever be beautiful, inside and out. Chubby and fat are just words people use when they are unhappy with themselves and they don’t understand what self-love is. They were never taught how to be kind to themselves, so they will have difficulty loving you as you are. What is imperative is that you are healthy and happy. What is most important is that you are kind not only to others, but to yourself.
Like the vitality of water to life on this earth, love will feed every fibre of your being. Your heart is so big, so open, that you absorb everything like a sponge, both good and bad. But let me remind you that not everything is your fault, sweetheart. Some things you can’t control, and that’s perfectly okay. You need to let go entirely of the things you have no power over, because that freedom will contribute greatly to your happiness. Happiness is something you are going to search for far and wide, but after a long time of searching from destination to destination, you may realize that you still feel empty. That is because the answer is within you, my child, it has been lying dormant, waiting patiently for your enlightenment.
You will learn that happiness, just like beauty, starts from within, and it always stems from love. You must love yourself, and take care of your being. Nothing is more important than taking care of yourself, in fact, it will make taking care of others that much easier. Please know that self-love does not mean being self-centered and confidence is not a disguise for narcissism. Give yourself a break, and don’t beat yourself up about minor frustrations and temporary setbacks. Life is so much easier when you are nice to yourself. Your value does not lie in the mistakes that you have made, it lies in who you’ve become because of those mistakes. If you can learn from each and every fault, then you can never regret a decision. If you climb out of every valley, stronger and wiser, that mountain air will taste that much sweeter.
Do you remember when you were told that the more you win, and the more you achieve, the better person you are? Forget that and the forget all the people who made you believe in it! One day they will be gone and you will be left with this empty, illogical legacy that will never serve you positively. Trust in who you are, and own it. Don’t let anyone deter you from your natural path of positivity. They will try and bring you down, but they can’t if you don’t pay them any attention. Follow your heart, because undoubtedly it will lead you somewhere great. And keep wearing that heart on your sleeve, because so often people need to be reminded that acceptance and love is only an arms-length away.
Most of all, my sweet girl, I want you to know that you are loved so immensely, not just by those around you, but by your future self. You are worthy of every drop of love that shines on your sunny, gleaming soul. Love big, and love deep.
Your Future Self

About the author:  N. Toth was born and raised in North Vancouver and is 29 years old. She grew up in a family where there was a lot of importance placed on playing sports, being the champion and looking fit. N. played highly competitive sports until she graduated high school, which led to an unbalanced self-worth and self-esteem as it was based on her athletic ability and appearance. This also led to an unhealthy relationship with food for a very long time. For the past few years N. has been living up in Northern BC, working in forestry and loving life being an avid outdoors-woman. However, at the beginning of this year she injured herself and has been unable to work since. All of a sudden, N. found herself stuck spending time with this person she didn’t know.  She didn’t know who she was once her athletic ability was stripped from her. This injury has been a major frustration, but it has also given her a chance to step back, reflect and focus on herself. Upon reflection N. realized she has never loved herself. She had no idea how much easier life could be if she was just nice to herself instead of constantly degrading and belittling herself because of the way she looked, or because she wasn’t winning something. Changing her inner dialogue has also immensely improved her relationship with food. N. now wants to share her love and inspire young girls to be healthy and happy, and most importantly to love themselves.

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