When You’re Feeling Inadequate (A Letter to Myself)

"So please, dear me, be patient. Be patient as I heal, and I learn to love, because no one ever showed me how. I’m learning. Slowly." ~Vironika Tugaleva

Dear Me,

I’ll be honest. Sometimes, it’s just not easy to love you.

Sometimes, it’s not easy to stay through the pain, to cool my desire to just run, run, run as fast as possible away from it all. Sometimes, it’s hard to forgive you. Sometimes, it’s hard to accept you.

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell you that you’re beautiful when my head is bursting with culturally ingrained images of perfection.

But, I try. I’ve been trying. It’s not easy.

And, sometimes, you take each and every one of my criticisms and judgments so closely to heart. It’s like you’re waiting for me to be weak, hormonal, insecure. In some sick way, maybe you want to hear it. Maybe some part of you has just been so used to being put down that when I love you too much for too long… you feel afraid.

I’m afraid too.

I’m afraid that I’m a bully to you sometimes, and you’re my victim, and we’re the same person, so there’s no escape. I’m afraid because I don’t want to hurt you. I’m afraid because, sometimes, I still do.

So, believe me when I say that sometimes… sometimes, it’s not easy for me to love you. But you know something? That’s not your fault. It never was.

You and I, we were raised by two shadows and a television. Alone. Lonely. And I learned to criticize. And you learned to accept it. But here we are, both hurting.

So why, tell me why, does everyone glorify healing from self-judgment, but no one ever stops to think that self-judgment, itself, needs healing? Because it does. I, as the judgmental part of you, need healing too. Because I was meant for math and proofreading and graphic design and all sorts of beautiful analytical tasks. I was never supposed to become this either.

So when I can’t love you, forgive me. I am weak too, you know. And I try. I keep trying. And all my failures at love aren’t your fault, my beautiful reflection, please know that. They’re part of my own journey to heal and become something more than a mean, ugly voice in your head.

I want to be more than just an inner critic. I want to help you build castles in the sky. I want to help you change the world. I don’t want to spend another moment telling you about your thighs, or the spots on your face, or that thing you said to him or her or them.

So please, dear me, be patient. Be patient as I heal, and I learn to love, because no one ever showed me how. I’m learning. Slowly. I hope you can see how far I’ve come.

And I promise you to try my best. Every time. I will do my very best. But I can’t promise you I won’t make mistakes. So next time I’m weak, hormonal, tired, and I start saying that same old crap, please understand that it has nothing to do with you. I’m a parrot of a generational sickness, an emotionally inherited habit of self-loathing. I’m sick. I’m trying to heal.

Please forgive me. And love me. And know that, even when I am too blind to love you, that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it. You do. You are lovable and worthy. Don’t believe anyone who tells you different. Especially not me.

I’m in this for the long haul. I’m not going anywhere. I promise you to keep learning, growing, and doing my best. You deserve that. You really do.

I love you,


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Vironika Tugaleva

Like every human being, Vironika Tugaleva is an ever-changing mystery. At the time of writing this, she was a life coach, digital nomad, and award-winning author of two books (The Love Mindset and The Art of Talking to Yourself). She spent her days writing, dancing, singing, running, doing yoga, going on adventures, and having long conversations. But that was then. Who knows what she's doing now? Keep up on her blog at www.vironika.org.

15 Responses

  1. I delight in, result in I found just what I was looking for.
    You’ve ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have
    a great day. Bye

  2. Well said: it’s all about learning to love yourself. How sad that we learn to feel defective when we’ve been fine all along. Self-compassion is the best healer.

  3. Veronika says:

    Thank you Vironika – your words never fail to give me hope.. because some days, again and again, the self annihilation habit (or whatever it is!) seems impossible to heal. I try all sorts of things to trick that voice into being quiet – laughing at it, ignoring it, telling it to shut the hell up, patiently listening to it, asking it questions… And I guess they all work in some measure at different times… It’s just so life affirming to know that I’m not alone in the struggle. This is your greatest achievement and you are amazing with your dedication to us all.. Thank you <3

    • You’re definitely not alone, Veronika! And I think that part of us isn’t pure evil either. It has a message, usually, but speaks it in garbled tones. Instead of saying “take a nap,” it says “binge eat” (so I’ll feel comatose and take a nap). Instead of “take a break,” it says “you’re doing a horrible job” (so I’ll stop doing that job and take a break. It’s a funny thing, that voice. I think it needs direction, compassion, and patience more anything!

  4. Don Karp says:

    I really like the idea of writing letters to oneself. It’s part of the many techniques for transformative journaling. I’ve proposed workshops on this topic for the two back-to-back conferences in Boston, mid-August: Hearing Voices and Alternatives.

    My dad once told me that he heard I got an “A” on a paper for a course. He asked me why I didn’t get an “A+.”

    • I like the idea too, Don. I’ve done it in the past quite a few times, and it’s been transformative.

      I can relate to your experiences with your dad too. A 98% in my house always yielded a “where’s the other 2%?”!

  5. Ana says:

    Wow, I love this Vironika, thank you. Especially the line ‘So why, tell me why, does everyone glorify healing from self-judgment, but no one ever stops to think that self-judgment, itself, needs healing?’. Once we can accept all these different aspects of ourself, who knows what might happen…. Thanks again. Ana

  6. Tapiwa says:

    This is just powerful and something young men and women of my generation needs. There is this feelingn of being incomplete without loads and loads of heavy make up and yet when He created us He said that it was perfect. And yeah l am working on a book and l quoted one story about yourself on your website. l used it to explain how important it is to leave one’s purpose in life. You are a treasure that the world wants Vironika.

  7. A friend once asked “Why are you so hard on yourself?” Well, I didn’t know that was detrimental. I thought that was normal. But it isn’t, and if your parents “normalized” it, it needs to be reframed as cruelty. Most of us would never direct cruelty at another living being, but think it’s ok to direct it at ourselves.

  8. Devorah says:

    My sister and I recently observed that we were raised to be hard on ourselves, to have high expectations of our performance, to always give 110%. Sometimes we don’t recognize that we’re pushing ourselves unnecessarily hard and causing our own stress.

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