A letter to myself for when I’m wondering if it’s all worth it
1) You love writing
One of the first times you wrote, apart from when you “had” to, was at university.
You’d come back from the Christmas holidays having done something you never wanted anyone to find out about. You were away from your parents and you could indulge every thought. It was the first time you’d explored you.
“Never, ever give up on the search for your maximum potential.”
That was one of the things you wrote, and it’s engraved in your mind, in who you are, still.
You started writing because it was therapy, and then you started writing because you liked writing, and now you write every day because you want mastery.
You love using words you’ve never used before. You love demolishing words and sentences and paragraphs with ruthless pragmatism. You love leading the audience into a pregnant pause. You love to caress, and to strike. You love how poignant a full stop can be. You love the staccato and the legato.
You love writing.
2) It makes you feel alive
You told Hannah at work that writing “consumes” you and makes you feel “alive.”
“I’ve never even heard you talk about a girl like this.”
How can you not do something every day that makes you feel like that? How many people you know do something every day that makes them feel alive?
You like to flow. You like to indulge getting lost. You like to create something out of nothing by giving it you.
You like to go deeper into your mind and into your heart and shine a light for the whole world to see.
Well, maybe one day the whole world will see.
Because you’re alive.
3) You hate some of the other blogs you read
There’s no blood, no vulnerability.
You love reading about other people’s stories. That’s why you love James Altucher’s writing. He was addictively honest.
I’m amused you don’t see his honesty as shocking now.
Maybe that’s how people feel about your writing. Shocked. Addicted.
Give them all of you.
Then give more.
They might need it.
You might need it.
4) That friend’s card
Her card made you cry. It’s nearly making you cry now. It made you cry when you read it out to mum.
She called you an inspiration. Said she wanted to be like you. Said, from the bottom of her heart, thank you.
You made an impression on her and it all came from seeing the best in her and wanting everyone else to see the best in her.
Imagine how many people you could impact through writing.
Hundreds? Thousands? Millions?
Be your own inspiration.
5) Your kids
“Your kids will follow your example, not your advice.”
That’s stuck with me because I believe in it.
I want my kids to see me living the life I want to live and I want them to know I followed my heart to get there.
Imagine having to say to your kids “yeah, I had a dream once… but it was really hard and I gave up because I wasn’t brave enough to fight.”
Do you want to have that conversation?
You can be the sign that following their heart will work.
They’ll be happy, and free, and fulfilled.
Because that’s what you’ll be.
6) You want to live the life you’ve always wanted to live
You can stop pretending you don’t.
Give up pretending. Give into what you deserve.
Lots of people say they want this but they don’t work for it.
They complain they don’t have it and yet they go home and watch TV all night.
Do you want to be that person?
No. You never have. You’ve been that person but that’s not you.
You’re the kind of person who works for what they want so they can have what they want.
You’re the kind of person who won’t settle because settling, for you, is suicide.
7) It’s better than watching TV
Would you rather watch TV for hours, mindlessly, and learn nothing? Or work on your craft, and read, and come up with ideas the future you will thank you for?
There’s a better way to fill the time. You could watch YouTube interviews of successful people, listen to podcasts and audiobooks, read, write more, come up with ideas, work out.
Be silent. Be still.
TV is consumption.
You’re a creator.
8) Loneliness might be your sacrifice
This journey is the most important thing in your life right now.
Loneliness is temptation.
It wants you to chase people who aren’t right for you, it wants to think tears are weakness, it wants you to rely on people besides yourself.
It wants you to stop. It wants you to quit.
It wants to make you happy.
It doesn’t seem like it, especially when the pang seems unstoppable.
But it’s trying. It’s trying so hard and it’s desperately failing.
The loneliness thinks it knows what’s best for you so be kind to it.
But it doesn’t.
9) You’re committed
Anyone who’s ever been great at anything has been committed before they were great.
You’re committed because you want to be great, successful, rich, a master.
It’s ok to want those things. When the love is low those things can lift you.
Like right now. Writing this has been hard. You’ve struggled. You’ve let distractions cloak you and it’s stopped you from gliding into flow.
You could’ve stopped. You could’ve gone home. You could’ve said “it’s ok” and finished later.
Is that commitment?
You don’t have to commit.
That’s why you do.
10) You owe them
Kendrick Lamar said he used to be “selfish” because he only rapped for him and the “homies.”
You started writing because you were curious about yourself, which grew into you enjoying writing, which grew into you loving writing.
That’s what you wrote on your website.
“I write for me.”
If you wrote for you, would you ever publish anything? Would you have your own blog?
You’d just write in your journal and be happy with that.
But… you have an important message to share.
An important reason for being alive, maybe.
You want people to be who they are. Who they really are. All of who they really are.
When you do that, when you practice it every day, you feel whole.
You feel like you. I feel like me.
You wish someone had shared the kinds of stories you share now when you were young. You think it would’ve been powerful because you would’ve realised all those thoughts, all those feelings, all those times you knew you were doing something wrong, all the times you were unhappy… they were all because you weren’t being the Real You.
You would’ve realised it was ok to be you.
When you think back to that little boy, the young you, deep down, deep like the abyss, you knew it was ok to be you. You would’ve been terrified to let go of everyone’s expectations and be who you really were, but I think you knew it was ok.
Now you know what’s more important than being terrified.
Being free, and at peace, and happy.
Originally published at www.matthearnden.com on July 22, 2015.