Mental Health

A Letter of Self-Compassion

Parenthood and Eating Disorder Recovery | Libero Magazine 4
I ask myself, what could I say to myself as the wise, confident woman I know I can be -- speaking to the white-blonde, chubby-cheeked, tie-dye-shirted child I used to be and sometimes still am? My mom always said “be your own best friend.” So here we go...

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Self-compassion is something I am learning. Sometimes I pretend nothing is wrong when inside I’m boiling with anger because my co-workers don’t think exactly the way I think or behave the way I want them to behave. Or my heart is aching because I saw a photo on Facebook of him and a girl who is not Laura MacKinnon and then I made up a story about how he has never ever liked me and lied to me the whole time we’ve been seeing each other. Jeez. Didn’t he read the dating contract? This action clearly violates number 53b.

All joking aside, I’ve done this more frequently than I care to admit.

This doesn’t work. At all. Not only am I hurting myself, I am hurting all the people around me who I miss out on knowing and sharing experiences with because I’m too busy saying nasty things to myself or about other people in my head.

So I ask myself, what could I say to myself as the wise, confident woman I know I can be — speaking to the white-blonde, chubby-cheeked, tie-dye-shirted child I used to be and sometimes still am? My mom always said, “be your own best friend.” So here we go…

This is my self-compassion letter to myself:

Dear Laura,

It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be upset. It’s okay to mess up.

Things won’t always go your way. You will like plenty of people who won’t like you and it doesn’t mean anything about you and your worth as a human being. You will fall in love with someone who is completely unavailable. You will try to convince yourself over and over again you shouldn’t like him and you still will. People will say hurtful things to you. They’ll tell you that you’re scary and ugly and please know these things have nothing to do with you. Nothing, absolutely nothing.

You will fail sometimes. You’ll be embarrassed, you’ll say the wrong thing, you’ll stutter during the interview of your dream job, you’ll cry in front of your calculus professor, you’ll put all of your heart and soul into something and your teacher and then later your boss will obliterate it in red marks.

This is life. There are ups and downs and dips and spins and fast parts and slow parts. Sometimes you will feel like throwing up. Sometimes you will feel like crawling under the covers and never coming out. You’ll have moments where you will feel absolutely lost, abandoned, and alone. Be with the pain but don’t get stuck in it. Know deep in your heart that you have everything you need. No one else can give it to you and if you expect them to, you’re in for a rough ride. However, if you ask with kindness, you will usually get what you ask for. You are never alone. You are strong and you will get through everything. In fact, you will thrive. Nothing can mess with you unless you let it.

My advice to you is to play full out. Go after what you want with a vengeance. Allow yourself to be vibrant and alive, to savour the moments when you are so excited you can’t sleep, to love deeply and passionately, to give yourself fully and generously to what’s important to you.

You are a wonderful, unique, beautiful, valuable, specimen of a human being. You have a lot to contribute and don’t ever let the voice in your head tell you anything else. There is nothing out there in the world that will get you out of the game as quickly as the voice in your head. Be on the hunt for it. The second the whisper starts up, shut it down. Honor yourself enough to live in the world of what’s really possible, not the limitations you impose on yourself.

With love and gratitude,


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