Dear self,

This is going to sound strange, but you can stop acting like you’re waiting for your invitation to arrive. You’re already here, and you don’t have to earn your place in this world. All you have to do is occupy it.

You don’t have to prove yourself by having the best body, whatever that is. You have a body, but that is not who you are. It’s what you’re in. You travel in a car; you are not the car. Your worth is not determined by the question of whether your body is desired by other bodies or it fits into the right clothes or it is healthy and strong or it conforms to societal norms. Your body holds you like a beloved. That’s what it’s for.

You don’t have to prove yourself by having the best stuff. You’ll never have enough stuff and you’ll always have too much of it. The value of a thing is not related to how much you paid for it or how much other people would pay for it or how many other people have it or want it. We are thing collectors. Even the most enlightened of us do not move through this life thingless. Things and stuff are temporary tools of existence, to be enjoyed and utilized. Perhaps photographed and posted on Instagram. But they do not define you or anyone else.

You don’t have to prove yourself by not caring about stuff. See above.

You don’t have to prove yourself by being humble. You are an amazing randomly assembled collection of molecules. You do not have to pretend otherwise.

You don’t have to prove yourself by being loud. You decide which way to turn the volume on your personal broadcasting system. You matter, no matter what.

You don’t have to prove yourself by being smart or funny or kind or beautiful or strong. You are greater than the sum of your qualities. And not one of them is required to justify your presence on this planet.

You don’t have to prove yourself by depriving yourself of comfort. You do not acquire virtue by denying yourself any more than you gain it by indulging yourself. This applies to food, rest, emotional support, and fuzzy blankies.

You don’t have to prove yourself by working harder than anyone else. You’re not here to win everyone’s approval or to get the best report card. You are here, period. Do what you do, with as much integrity as possible, and stop worrying so much about your neighbor’s test paper.

You don’t have to prove yourself by liking or not liking the thing that everyone else likes. Your job is to figure out what lights up every corner of your spiritual secret clubhouse and pursue that joy. Whatever that may be, whether or not anyone else gets it. Have you been around someone who is radiant with purpose and delight? It might be volunteering in a homeless shelter or it might be Harry Potter books. Doesn’t matter. All of it matters. That’s the point.

All you ever have to do is be yourself, and if you don’t know who that is yet, that’s okay, too. There is no stopwatch; you aren’t being timed. There are no wrong answers in this multiple-choice life, just different lessons. You have nothing to prove.



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