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A Letter to a Friend who Thinks They’re Failing

Dear friend,

First, let me tell you that I love you. Let me tell you that I think you are absolutely incredible in every way. I think you are one of the smartest, funniest, most capable people I know. I could not be prouder to call you my friend.

I know you are disappointed right now. I know that thing happened that you didn’t want to happen and now you're just sitting around asking yourself, why did that happen?

I don’t have any answers for you. I can’t tell you it’s fair because it isn’t. Good people don’t deserve bad circumstances. But every good person I know has fallen victim to them at some point.

I want you to think of someone you admire. I want you to think of someone you think is a very good person or a very successful person or a very happy and kind and loving person. Do you think they haven’t had their fill of disappointments too? Do you think they haven’t stared at the ceiling until 4 in the morning wondering, why me?

Friend, I promise you, they have. At some point or another, we have all allowed ourselves a moment of self-pity or self-loathing. We have all been irritated at the injustice of a situation. We have all sat in questioning silence wondering how something so bad could happen to someone who does their best to be good.

And friend, you are good. I know you’re disappointed. I know things aren’t easy right now. But a setback does not define your worth. An obstacle does not tell you who you are. Loneliness does not equal worthlessness and friend, you are justified in whatever you are feeling right now.

Let yourself be angry. Or hurt. Or confused. Or disappointed. Or sad. Or broken. Or whatever else you need to feel. That is valid. That is important.

But friend, do not give up. Do not unlace your shoes before the race has commenced. You are allowed to feel whatever negative emotion you are experiencing, but you are not allowed to give up. I know you better than to think you are going to give up like this.

When life takes out our knees and sends us stumbling, we have two options. We crash into the dirt and spend the rest of our lives picking grass out of our hair and cleaning the cuts on our knees or we look up from the ground and take off with a new momentum. It takes courage to stand up and keep running. But I’ve always known you to be brave.

I can’t change the situation. I can’t make anything better. And truthfully, I don’t think I would if I could. This isn’t ideal, of course, but you will figure it out. I’m asking you to have a little faith right now.

If I’ve learned one thing in the past year and a half it is this: every job rejection, every awful apartment, every piece of bad advice, and every slammed door led me to where I am right now: sitting at a desk I picked up off the street, typing this letter to you. Have there been scorching moments of pain and disappointment and hurt? Absolutely. Would I trade them for anything? Absolutely not.

Every scar and every setback and every horrible moment has become a patchwork in my story. I am embroidered in heartache and happiness and trauma and triumph.

It’s hard to see the full picture when all you can see is the perceived failure that lies in front of you, but I promise you, there is more than this moment.

Things aren’t easy. Nobody really promised they would be. Things aren’t fair. I definitely didn’t promise that. But you have to keep trying. You have to keep working hard. I can promise this, though: you are going to be okay.

Love always,


Love always always always,


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