I find it incredibly hard to see myself through the eyes of the people around me. Too often, I throw myself into other people's shoes and make their issues my own. I offer them my sincerest advice and use sentences like, "If I were you..." and so forth. The strange part is that if I truly were me in their situation, I would not be gentle with my words.

When thinking about this, I decided that it was time to write myself a letter with the perspective of talking to my best friend. Because, at the end of the day, we are all we have. You are the only person you will be with 24/7 for, quite literally, the rest of eternity. And It's time we start treating ourselves better.

Dear Best Friend,

I understand where you're coming from, but hear me out. Okay? No responses, no talking, just listen to me. I've been quiet for too long.

I want nothing more in this world than for you to see yourself through my eyes. I want you to be able to look into the mirror and smile- and I mean really smile- for the simple acknowledgment that you are a beautiful human being. I want you to love yourself even half as much as I love you. I understand that it's hard. Discouraging. Uncomfortable. But here's the thing: I am not asking you to be comfortable. Nothing ever happens inside of your comfort zone, much less becoming the very best version of yourself.

You have to fall in love with yourself before you can fall in love with the world. You must feel content with yourself. Safe, confident, and pleased. It's going to take a hell of a long time, but please believe me when I say that it is worth every single second. Every single heartbreak. Every single tear that is shed.

If a parent wants their child to grow up to like carrots, they are supposed to feed them to their baby early on. Some things are an acquired taste. The same can be said for developing a love for yourself. Little spoonfuls at a time will do at the beginning, but the goal is to want to shovel it into your mouth when you're older. You're going to want to have it at three in the morning, an odd craving that people might not understand. It should be like ice-cream on waffles. Not everyone will understand why you like it, or why you want it, but it's something that is unique to your taste buds. It's something that will make people remember you.

Go to the store. Invest in whatever you think will help you crave that spoonful of love for yourself. It doesn't have to be much. Don't overwhelm yourself. Do you think your parents went out and bought thirty cans of pureed baby carrots and expected their infant to gulp them down in a few hours?

No.

It takes time, so be patient with yourself.

Watch other people and notice the way they view themselves. Pay attention to the way they look at themselves in the mirror while they are washing their hands in a public restroom. Are they sheepish? Do their eyes dart up for just a second, making sure not to stare too long at their own reflection? Or do they linger for just a moment longer, admiring their imperfections and taking into account their individuality?

Take notes. Meditate. Learn to feel things, and I mean really feel.

Imagine where the carrots come from. How they were harvested. Who handled them, shipped them, tended to them. Think about how they got all the way into that spoon and into your mouth, one small bite at a time.

Then consider this: how you got to where you are today is no coincidence or lucky alignment of the stars. Who you are is a specialty. Who you have become and will become is something to be cherished, not to be timid about.

Loving yourself may be an acquired taste that takes time, but it is a taste that you will adore eventually, nonetheless.

Loving yourself should make you feel on fire. Because girl, you are fire: powerful, radiant, and brilliantly glowing. You are capable of moving universes larger than you could ever imagine. To put my love for you into perspective, you could accomplish all of that if you viewed yourself just half as great as I do.

If you want to change, then you have to start with confidence. If you have to fake it at first, then fake it. Make yourself uncomfortable.

Somewhere, somehow, you'll begin to develop the lense that allows you to see clearly for the first time in your life. It will be like grazing your hand over grass while feeling sunshine on your face for the very first time. It will be like seeing color when you have been living in black and white.

And for the first time in your life, you will feel perfectly imperfect.

Love, the girl you dodge eye contact within the mirror