Please help me with this letter... I want to make sure it's just right before I give it to my friend. ANY advice or input is appreciated. "I realize I’ve not had enough patience or understanding with you. I’ve taken things so personally & gotten frustrated with you & for all of this, I am truly very sorry... I understand you’ve been in a world of hurt & you don’t seem to know how to deal with it. You do seem to be withdrawn & I don’t like to see you like that. I feel you’ve started to become reclusive again or even like a stranger. Just like you, I have “emotionally disconnected” parents. We’ve talked about this before. It’s a seemingly unshakeable cycle. I understand shutting down or withdrawing feels safe to you, but it’s a self-destructive way of coping with things. I feel like you’ve been walking under a dark cloud for so long simply because you’re accustomed to the rain, then you wonder why you don’t have an umbrella. Putting up a wall or shutting down is not a solution. It’s a temporary fix- a band-aid to a wound so to speak. I truly understand why you feel the need to protect yourself. I understand it’s important to keep a guard up, but it needs to come with a filter. Maintaining a constant self-preservation mode will never allow you to blossom or thrive… I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but I‘ve always felt I’ve had a distorted intuition. I’ve struggled with “Do I have a right to feel this way or am I being irrational- right or wrong, yes or no?…” And this is probably why I seem all over the place sometimes. Nevertheless, I am learning & I’m beginning to accept things as they are. I am beginning to accept myself as well. There are times when I don’t feel good enough, but I know that I AM! You need to do the same for yourself. Know that you ARE good enough! This is not about me, but I feel like if you’re able to relate to anything, it may help you. I’ve played a gambling game for so long. My mind has always raced with thoughts of whether something or someone was good enough (as in good or bad) & whether or not I could trust people, or even myself. My mind is always racing. Period. Sometimes I get mad because I unnecessarily overwhelm myself. I’ve learned to eventually shake it off or laugh about it & work at moving forward. I’ve learned to step back & realize that sometimes, you’ve just got to let things be. It is difficult, but it’s the only thing that works for me. I don’t always know when to do this, but I realize the importance of it. Anyway, back to “the gamble”… I’ve taken gambles & ended up hurt, but I’ve also taken gambles & learned that good things & good people await. We just have to search & find them. I’ve realized that playing it safe forever will never allow me to experience the good. The same applies to you… It takes courage & it takes risk. But I do feel that it’s worth the struggle or negotiation…I understand your fear of the unknown & I know it feels safe clinging to the only things you‘ve known. You’ve said you’ve never had any real friends & that you aren’t sure how to be a good friend. I don’t know if that’s a coping mechanism or if you truly believe that. But you do NOT have to settle for that S. I’ve always believed you’re better than that. You are worth more than you give yourself credit for. I know what it feels like to be constantly judged. I wasn’t taught the skills to cope with things that happened to me or the feelings I was left with. I was never even allowed to have feelings. But you & I both have the right to feel what we feel. Recognition is a huge stepping stone. Once upon a time, Dr. N diagnosed me with “post traumatic stress“. I was shocked & I questioned him. He simply said, “Your childhood.“ It made me realized even more about myself. I realized just how much I had blocked out, and I did it for so long. Ultimately, it was a coping mechanism. It worked at the time, but it never made anything go away. I try to deal with things day by day. It’s not easy, but it is worth the fight to be in a better place than before. I’m learning the skills to work through things now & move forward. A lot of change has come from within, but I’ve learned to let go of the fear of searching for help or accepting support. I know this all may sound completely absurd to you, but I feel like if you could allow yourself to start with one step out of your comfort zone, you may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome… I didn’t ask to be raised in a judgemental or disconnected environment, but I was. However, I’ve taken the initiative to change my reactions & beliefs. I don’t know what changed, but one day I finally decided to break the self destructive cycle and habits that I had learned from my parents. I guess the time came for me when the risk it took to remain tightly closed in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to begin to bloom. I decided to fight what was killing me inside. I knew I had nothing to lose, so I reached out for anyone who was willing to take my hand. And people did… I was prepared to run at the first sign of dishonesty or hurt, but I gave it a shot. I’ve come to realize there are nonjudgmental, trustworthy, forgiving, sincere, and good-natured people. I realized that I was unintentionally pushing good people away & I foolishly allowed “bad” or unhealthy people into my life. The unhealthy people “showed” me that hiding behind drugs or rebellious behavior would make it all better. Again, it was a self-destructive cycle. I allowed the bad into my life. It didn’t just happen. The good people I’ve allowed in my life have shown me how to have faith in myself & strive for better. They’ve shown me what it’s like to know & feel trust, unconditional love, support, friendship, & “goodness”. I have begun to be true to myself & allow myself to deal with things. Change is sometimes frightening, but for me, it isn’t nearly as scary as it was a few years ago. I’ve worked at freeing myself from my burdens & allowing myself to become more open. It’s not an instantaneous process. It takes baby steps. I am far from perfect. I have bad days, just like everyone else. I can be vulnerable. However, I’ve learned that it’s unhealthy to internalize hurt or stress because it will eventually come out as anger & will result in feeling sick or even bitter. At least for me, it does… Life is simply a journey. No one is able to learn or grow if they only settle for what they know. Like any learning experience, it is a process. You have to crawl before you walk and walk before you run freely. You’re not expected to be an open book or wear your heart on your sleeve, but you don’t have to be rock strong all the time either. No one has a heart made of steel. People like to put on that façade. Hurt is a basic human instinct & it‘s OK. You may feel that many people have expected you to be perfect, but as you know, there’s no such thing as perfection. I believe there’s beauty in imperfection. I know what it feels like to be in an environment where nothing you do ever seems good enough. You ARE good enough, S. I am sorry if you’ve felt that I’ve ever implied you’re “not good enough“. You are good enough to me & I‘ve never felt otherwise. I’ve never expected you to be perfect. How could I ever expect you to be when I’m definitely far from it? I want the “hurt feelings” & nonsense between us to be behind us. I feel like we’ve been butting heads because we’re both sensitive and/or defensive. You need to allow yourself to feel good enough. Being open or unguarded isn’t as scary as it may seem. It is an opportunity to grow, to release the bad, & receive the good. There are always going to be people who disappoint us or hurt us, but I feel that when the good times outweigh the bad, it makes the effort worthwhile. It’s not a natural instinct for us to know if people are deliberate or intentional, but the choices are to either hang on (be there unconditionally) or move on. I’ve found that trying to stay in limbo is the hardest thing. The process begins with a little give & take for yourself. You seem to be afraid to open up or break through, but I believe you have the courage to do so! I feel like you’ve been hurt so much that you don’t know how to recognize what’s good or who’s genuine or trustworthy. I feel like all you’ve seen is the bad, but you need to give yourself the opportunity to learn how to recognize the good. You have nothing to be ashamed of or fearful of. You are compassionate. You are courageous. You are strong. You are worthy of love. You are worthy of good people & good things. You are worthy of happiness. I have faith in you & I believe in the best life has to offer you. You are worthy of support, but you have to believe in yourself first. I feel like you’ve had an “It’s not worth it” mentality for so long. (Full name), you need to believe YOU are worth it. I know this sounds so cliché but you have to weed through the bad to get to the good. Dig through the dirt to get to the gold, even if you think it‘s not enough… It may be difficult, but at least it would be a start- and a start IS enough! …Going from hurt to healing is not instantaneous. Remember it’s a process. You and I are each beautifully unique. We may deal with things differently, but I feel like there is a common ground. We all stumble but it’s crucial that we immediately attempt to pick ourselves back up. It’s important to fight for what you believe in. I know that you know these things. Give yourself more credit. Give yourself a chance, S. Do not give up. People who have hurt you or hindered you do NOT define you. What people think about you does not define you. Have faith in yourself. Be patient, yet persistent. Most importantly, always love yourself for who you are & let things fall into place as they may. “The Serenity Prayer: God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference…” I love you always, S, & I‘m always here."