Dear Stranger,

I realize that you have already been through many trials and tribulations, and that you have done all that you can to heal yourself. You are ready to give yourself a second chance at life and love. I understand that you are apprehensive because second chances mean that you are allowing yourself to be hurt again. That your newly healed heart, still cracked and bruised, will have to subject itself to the possibility of pain again. I know that a second chance means returning to life and putting yourself back in the same situations that hurt you to begin with. But this time, you will be different. Better equipped to deal with those situations. You will have learned to set boundaries. You will know that sometimes people don’t hurt you with intent, and at other times they act out of malice. This time you will understand that you are in control of your own emotions, but not those of others, and because of that you will be strong enough to enforce the boundaries you have set and walk away.

 I need you to know this: because you are now aware of how you used to feel, you will not make the same mistakes twice you learned from them. You now know not to disrespect yourself like that ever again. You know that you have raised your standards by learning how to cope. That you have educated yourself, and cultivated a genuine respect for the person you are and for the person you would ultimately like to be or anticipating to be. I understand that you were brave enough to begin to love yourself again, despite your flaws, and that you have also come to accept that those flaws are what make you completely unique from others. I see that you have put effort into forgiving yourself, even if you weren’t quite ready to do it just yet because strength comes in forgiving yourself. I have seen you come through your suffering, letting go of the weight that pulled you down for so long, rebuilding yourself. That took strength and courage, and I am proud of you so be proud of yourself too. I want you to know that you deserve this second chance. I see you, still suffering from time to time, and I know you sometimes feel that life isn’t fair. That your second chance, earned through so much effort, should be filled only with positivity and light. I want you to know that I am here to help you through those moments and to guide you through your second chance.

Remember: while giving yourself a second chance, you need to ask others to do the same. I know it is embarrassing but its important for you to cut out all that is negative and toxic in your life. I want you to continue to see yourself differently. As the strong, confident person who deserves this second chance. Set a good example for yourself. To remind yourself, and in doing so you understand that recovery is brave and takes more strength than most are capable of. You do not deserve to go back to what you were living through. Where you are right now, even if it is still tough and raw, is exactly where you should be. I want you to know that you deserve this better kind of love. This realistic love that has enabled you to love yourself unconditionally. That you deserve the words of kindness you are speaking to yourself, and that those who love you, those who really care, will speak those words of kindness too. I know that the terror of your heart being violently crushed is still fresh in your mind. That the war which had raged in your mind for so many years still produces casualties.

I too tried desperately to crawl back into the familiar, away from my second chance. But I also knew that the familiar would mean pain. That the work I had put in would mean nothing, and that the confidence I had built as a fortified wall against the negativity of the world would come crashing down. So, I reached out in the same way that I want you to. When it feels like the void is sucking you in, when you feel that the war may begin again in your mind, when you speak words of hatred about yourself instead of words of love, please reach out and trust me. When your boundaries begin to blur, when your mind begins to ache, and you doubt whether you deserve a second chance, trust me. Take the leap. Embrace your second chance. Trust me. If you start embracing your own second chance, maybe at some point in the future you will be able to love yourself again. ( Ashish Begracha, 2016)

Sending you never-ending love,