First of all, I just want to start off by saying how proud I am of you. Man, you did it. I honestly can’t believe it. A few years ago, I didn’t think you would even get to this point. But here you are.

You’re a lot stronger than I imagined. You’ve definitely exceeded my expectations of you. I didn’t ever imagine you to be this... independent. Courageous. Outgoing. You have amazed me. The things I have seen you take on, with confidence resting on your shoulder and a spirit of hope and love in your heart, amaze me. You have already been through so much. Every situation that life has thrown at you, you have handled with grace, class, and understanding. You have learned to breathe and think everything through, before taking a jump to something untrue. You have grown. You have learned.

Most importantly, and the greatest lesson I think you have learned, is to love yourself first. Thinking back to how you used to be, I never imagined that you would be this confident in yourself as you are today. You use to be a shy little girl, hiding behind glasses and a small voice that never spoke up and was never heard. Until one day, that shell cracked. And out came a bright and budding and independent bad ass of a girl who didn’t stand for people walking all over her like she was some welcome mat. Because she wasn’t. She realized that she was smart and caring and deserved someone to see the beauty in her like she was slowly starting to see in herself.

It makes me smile, to be able to recognize the change that I see in you. It reminds me that you have changed, you have grown, and you have become someone incredible. It makes me smile to see you cherish yourself and your self worth enough to walk away from anyone who isn’t adding to your happiness. And it makes me smile that you are finally starting to look yourself in the mirror and say “You’re beautiful” to yourself and mean it. You are finally starting to love your flaws, like your legs or your stomach or your toes. Or your tendency to make things awkward when you’re nervous. Or how you care too much because now you are starting to see it less as a curse and more as a blessing. You are finally putting yourself first and loving yourself and that is amazing.

I beg you, please don’t let anyone bring you down. Don’t let go of the confidence you have perched on your shoulder, don’t let years and years of hard work be all for nothing. Believe in yourself. Love yourself, hard. You’ve got this.