Do you remember how hard it was when you were a teen? Were you uncertain at times, had low self-esteem or was the world just one confusing blob for you? What do you know NOW that you didn’t know THEN? If you had the chance to write a letter to yourself, what would you say? Oprah Winfrey wrote a letter to her 19-year-old self reflecting about the time she landed a job as a television reporter while in college.
She shared that letter on CBS This Morning. Read the letter below, then write one for yourself…Just my opinion, it would be great therapy!
Dear Beautiful Brown-Skinned Girl,
And I use the word beautiful because I know that’s never a word you would call yourself.
I look into your eyes and see the light and hope of myself.
In this photo you are just about to turn 20, posing outside the television station where you were recently hired as a reporter. You look calm, happy, but I know how scared you are. If I could say anything to you it would be, relax it’s going to be OK girl.
You’re proud of yourself for getting this job, but also uncertain. Uncertain that you’ll be able to manage all of your college classes because you’re still just a sophomore and work a full day’s job doing the news. Even so, your biggest concern right now? How to manage your love life with Bubba. Yes, you are dating someone named Bubba.
On this day you’ve brought him to the station to see where you work, hoping he’ll be proud. He seems less than impressed. The truth is, he’s intimidated. You don’t know this, though, because you see yourself only through his eyes. A lesson you’ll have to learn again and again and again: to see yourself with your own eyes, and to love yourself through your own heart.
You’ve spent too many days and years trying to please other people and be what they wanted you to be. I understand how and why that happened now. You will have to learn that the wounds of your past-being raped at 9 years, molested from the time you were 10 through 14, getting whipped as a young girl by people who said they loved you because you “stepped out of place” and not even being allowed to show any anger or crying afterwards – that damaged your self-esteem. If only now you knew how much. Yet through it all, you managed to hold on to a belief in God and even more importantly – God’s belief in you. That my dear will be your single greatest gift: knowing that there is a power greater than yourself and trusting that force to guide you.
The trajectory of your life changed the day you answered that call from Chris Clark, he was the news director at WLAC-TV. Your response was ignited by the words of your then-favorite Bible verse, remember, Philippians 3:14. You used to say it all the time: “I am pressed to the mark for the prize of the high calling of God.” Knowing there is a high calling is what will sustain and fulfill you.
From where I sit now viewing your journey, there really are very few regrets. Which means a life well lived. Even then you understood that success was a process and that moving with the flow of life and not against it would be your greatest achievement.
You have made me proud.