five year time warp

February 21, 2011

Dear 18 year old Chelsey,

I just got back from visiting your old college campus, and I have to say — times have changed. It amazes me how much has happened in your life in the last five years. You are continually blessed beyond belief to have family and friends that love and support you in all your endeavors. When I went back to those places you called home for so long, so many memories came flooding back immediately. The sights, the smells, the carefree lifestyle — believe me, you’ll miss them (but not too much).

When you left for college, you were scared — and right about now, you’re still having a hard time finding your place in your new surroundings. Give it time — you’ll end up loving every minute. The four years you are spending at college is worth every student loan you will be paying off for the next 10 years (although your husband begs to differ).

I cannot stress enough right now how you need to go out and live every moment to the fullest. Your boyfriend will still love you even if you don’t make it home every other weekend. I also give you permission to make choices you perhaps would never have made if you were living under your parents’ roof. The independence you are gaining, and the lessons you are learning are far more valuable than “playing it safe” every second of your life.

Somewhere along the road, you’re going to lose the love of your life — and your spirit — almost simultaneously. You won’t see it now, but it’s for the best. It is going to make you stronger in the end, even if it takes years to regain your spirit. You are going to experience many dark days and wonder how others can’t see the pain in your eyes. I never thought that you were that good at hiding your emotions, but I know you were broken for a long time. Staying busy and working yourself to the ground will only hide the emptiness for so long. The days that you finally look in the mirror and face who you have become will be a slap in the face. I know you won’t recognize yourself — but I still love you.

Don’t doubt the hard decisions you have made, even when other scoff at your choices. Throughout this period of your life, you are more than likely going to hit rock bottom before you can start to pick the pieces up again. It will take time — we all know Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t worry, when your pieces are being picked back up, he will be one of the the missing links. Rest assured, you’re going to marry that boy (even though I know you knew it all long — you’re so stubborn.).

Although you fought her at the time, you will soon know that Mom was (always) right. The second you took God out of your focus, the rest of your world crumbled. Keep your eyes on Him.

There are days now that I wish you would have respected and loved yourself more, trusted yourself more. There is only one you — and yes, you’re beautiful just the way you are. Smile more, laugh often, tell everyone you love them, and ask for help when you need it (that’s always been a downfall of yours). You couldn’t be more perfect (even though you don’t believe it yourself most days).  I am so glad you’re the only me there will ever be.

Love,

Me

Question: If you had to go back 5 years in your life, what would you tell yourself?

{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

britchickruns February 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Love it.
I would tell myself not to sweat the small things – GCSEs? They’re insignificant! The nasty girls at school – well, you’ll have left them behind in 2yrs time anyway, so just grin and bear it. I think when we’re younger, even the smallest things seem like a huge deal..oh the power of hindsight :)

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cleaneatingchelsey February 21, 2011 at 6:43 pm

So so true!

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Nadine February 21, 2011 at 6:04 pm

I would say,enjoy your time in Montreal, it will only be for 2 years,and not to quit the gym, it may have been pricy, but it’s so much more work to loose weight! And stop eating wheat, your a celiac.

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cleaneatingchelsey February 21, 2011 at 6:44 pm

HAHAH I love the celiac comment.

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katshealthcorner February 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm

ENJOY LIFE! Take pleasure in the precious moments that seem to dash past.

Hehe, your pictures are too funny. :)

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Gina February 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Love this! Reminds me of the country song, “Letter to Me” by Brad Paisley.

I think I have a few more years before I would go back and write a letter to myself. But I’m drafting as I go :)

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Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama February 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm

You are so young! :-) 5 years ago was one of the happiest years if my life-I would remind myself to savor every moment.

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cleaneatingchelsey February 21, 2011 at 6:44 pm

I am. :)

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Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama February 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm

That should say OF my life. Darn iPad. :-)

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Liz @ Blog is the New Black February 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Great post- great way of reflecting on how much things change and looking back with a fresh perspective!

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Cross Country Couple February 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm

My advice to the me of five years ago… you will do amazing things, be grateful for who you are/what you’ve done/how you were raised, threats that you’ll leave your boyfriend if he doesn’t propose by your ten year anniversary are empty- he will lead you to great places and you are better because of him, plus you are in too much of a rush to settle down anyway.

Great post! I found it via the Life tag on worpress’ popular tags. Its funny how much we thought we knew then, and how much we think we know now. Happy blogging and thanks for sharing!

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cleaneatingchelsey February 21, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Thank you – and what great advice to yourself!

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Sarah @ goingongoals February 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm

wow, soo much changes in five years. I would probably tell myself that things happen for a reason!

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Ayla February 21, 2011 at 6:41 pm

That was wonderful, Chelsey. :)

I think I would tell myself to lighten up a bit. Relax. Stop being miserable, admit I had a problem (ED) and started living life to the max.

Since I can’t give that advice to my younger self I suppose I might as well give it to my present self. ;)

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Lauren February 21, 2011 at 6:49 pm

This is such a great post and a great question. I would tell myself to slow down and enjoy it all while it lasts because I’ll never get those years back.

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Jennifer February 21, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Grad school will be challenging but not nearly as scary as you think. And, always remember why you decided to study the subject you are studying. When you forget that, all of the struggles and difficulties really, really seem insurmountable. It’ll take time, but you will finally find people who understand you and with whom you can connect.

Great post Chelsey!

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fitnessnfoodiegirl February 21, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Wow great post! 5 years ago I would have told myself many of the same things that you mentioned in your letter. Mom is ALWAYS right, things will work out ok, you can pick yourself back up, you will get into college, but first and fore most don’t ever take your eyes of god, he holds you together.

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Parita@myinnershakti February 21, 2011 at 7:24 pm

I would tell myself to enjoy the present moment and not worry about the future so much. And that everything works out (for a reason). The old me needed to hear that! :)

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runyogarepeat February 21, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Ah, I just laugh to think about how I used to be in high school. I would tell my 16 year old self to stop obsessing over those 2 boys and to be more outgoing. Also, don’t post every single ridiculous photo from sleepovers on facebook – oh I mean myspace, in those days.

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lindsay February 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm

oh gosh, this is a totaly wake up call for me. 5 years ago i was 23rs old, which makes me closer to 30 now!!! WHOA! I would tell myself to let go and let God guide your way. And to BREATHE!!
p.s.
you 2 are just a perfect couple. Lovely!

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Colleen @ The Lunchbox Diaries February 21, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Oh my gosh, this post was such so creative – and so well written! If I could go back 5 years from now, I’d be 18 as well. I’d tell myself that things always work out as they should, so stop spending so much time sweating the small stuff :)

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Emily @ One Sweet Vegan February 21, 2011 at 7:52 pm

This brought tears to my eyes! Love this–”The second you took God out of your focus, the rest of your world crumbled. Keep your eyes on Him.”
I see my almost-17-year-old step-daughter struggling so much and I can’t wait to see where she ends up in a few years and what kind of person she’ll be.
If I could tell myself 5 years ago anything it would be to “hold on because I’m in for a bumpy ride, but God will bring me through the heartache and things will get better”. :-)

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cleaneatingchelsey February 22, 2011 at 5:40 am

I’m sorry your daughter is sturggling so much – she’ll be fine in the end. Growing up is tough.

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Michelle February 21, 2011 at 8:17 pm

I really love this post.

I would tell my 5-year-younger self to let go and live a little. I spent all four years of college working, working, and working to pay my way through school. Now, I just wish I would have taken out an extra loan and enjoyed myself more.

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thefitacademic February 21, 2011 at 8:55 pm

I’d say to take it slow & enjoy the ride! I wouldn’t do a thing differently!

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Katie February 21, 2011 at 9:03 pm

You know? I can’t think of a single thing I’d tell myself to do differently. I guess that’s a good thing?

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cleaneatingchelsey February 22, 2011 at 5:40 am

That is awesome!

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Meaghan February 21, 2011 at 9:05 pm

my 5 year younger self would be 18 too, and I would have to tell myself to ask for help and that it isn’t my job to fix everything . It is going to be a very, very bumpy ride but I will come out stronger because of it. And not to be so damn shy!

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cleaneatingchelsey February 22, 2011 at 5:41 am

That is such good advice! So many times I want to fix other people’s problems!

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christina February 21, 2011 at 9:21 pm

this is so sweet! i would tell myself to never stay with boys who treated me like crap!

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Katy @ A Healthy Shot February 21, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Great post Chelsey! I’d say pretty much everything you did… Enjoy every minute of the ride :)

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Freshman February 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm

LOVED this post!

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Katy (The Singing Runner) February 21, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Love love LOVE this post! Some of the things you brought up definitely hit home for me.
I would tell myself to not take people’s comments so seriously and to be your own person!

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cleaneatingchelsey February 22, 2011 at 5:41 am

Totally agree!

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fashionfitnessfoodie February 21, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Love this – I would tell myself to enjoy every second with my loved ones! I took so much for granted and I missed out on a lot of important things… I’ll never get those times back and its one of my biggest regrets! I would’ve also never let my ex boyfriend run my life… I’m strong and independent now but it took too long to become that way!

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Trisha February 21, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Not to be super cheesey…buuttt this post made me tear up a bit. It was beautiful! To think about 5 years ago and what i would tell myself, i think it would all center around remembering to love myself, love God, love my family, and love the life i’ve been given. if i can do those 4 things, everything else works out just fine :)

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cleaneatingchelsey February 22, 2011 at 5:41 am

:) Cheese away!

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charmcghie February 21, 2011 at 10:05 pm

This is amazingly written. I’d definitely tell myself to lighten up a bit – you don’t always have to be so tough, especially on yourself. And, you will meet the love of your life when you’re not looking…so stop looking! Oh, and take a lesson on style? lol

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diaryofahealthnut February 21, 2011 at 10:25 pm

I would tell my 14-year-old self that starving myself will not make me happy. That I’m looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places. That I need to stop stressing over every little thing and just enjoy my teenage years. Now that they’re almost over, I realize how much I gave up, how much passed me by while I withered away in my sadness and self-doubt.

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cleaneatingchelsey February 22, 2011 at 5:42 am

So true! I’m glad you’ve realized it at 19!!

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Jae February 21, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Dear Jae,
You’re finally in high school! But, sadly, it wont be the best years of your life. You’ll spend your time being ripped to shreds by the fickle nature of people/soon-t0-be former best friends, go through MANY all nighters in the quest to go to a great college, and the eating disorder/many different diets which will consume you off and on for the next four years. Youll be jealous of those who have overcome it, but rest assured, you will have the strength to throw it off too. You will discover healthy living blogs and become healthy as a result. You’ll also meet the friends of a lifetime in junior year in your precalculus class. So Jae, everything isnt without hope. Live your life, and I cant wait to see what happens in the next five!

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cleaneatingchelsey February 22, 2011 at 5:42 am

So amazing Jae – sounds like you’ve been through a lot!

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whatkateiscooking February 21, 2011 at 10:47 pm

I wish I could tell myself to respect my parents and take school seriously. I so regret both of those things!

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Lauren February 21, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Wow, I was 16 five years ago! I would tell myself to savor every.single.minute. with my best friends and to choose them over that toxic relationship :(

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Sweet Tooth Runner February 22, 2011 at 3:11 am

Aww Chelsey you’re amazing, you know that? I especially relate to the bit about God- the moment I cut him out of my life, everything went black. But now I’m so happy generally because I love Him and so I love life! :D I just wish I had been able to tell myself that 5 years ago…

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snackgirlgoeshealthy February 22, 2011 at 3:56 am

This is beautiful girl, I almost cried there a few times! haha.

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Amanda @ AmandaRunsNY February 22, 2011 at 6:21 am

Your letter is beautiful and very real. I really appreciate the honesty.

There is just so much. First, I would probably tell myself to stop eating meat and drinking beer already! But I probably wouldn’t want to do that yet, and then I would tell myself how smart and capable I am and stop doubting myself every time someone disagrees with me.

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Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun February 22, 2011 at 6:31 am

I would tell myself not to be afraid to meet that guy your friend wants you to…he will become your husband.

Also, to stop restricting food because that’s the only way you will give up binging.

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scatterbrainjane February 22, 2011 at 6:36 am

This is a great post- I just bought a book about writing letters to your younger self and what you would say. This post reminded me of that, I loved it! :)

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movesnmunchies February 22, 2011 at 7:11 am

such an amazing post and a great idea!! i need this because these are things i say to myself everyday and i need to stop! the biggest thing i need to tell myself (cuz it still applies) is to JUST RELAX… enjoy life

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin February 22, 2011 at 7:45 am

Wouldn’t it be amazing if in high school/college we had an older version of us as a mentor? :P I would tell my 16 year old self to stop letting my insecurities get in the way of living my life!

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cleaneatingchelsey February 22, 2011 at 7:51 am

That WOULD be amazing – however, I am not sure I would have listened anyways.

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Jenny February 22, 2011 at 8:26 am

Good idea to do this and acknowledge to yourself your battles:)
Love it!

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Christina February 22, 2011 at 9:37 am

Love this idea. I think about this kind of stuff all the time.

Five years ago I was 19! So weird. It feels like centuries ago. I’d tell myself that life is only going to get better. I had just got engaged and my parents thought I was too young to get married, but I knew I was ready. I’d want to tell myself that they would eventually be on board and supportive- in their own ways. And to get ready for a big move…but then again, how can you really prepare yourself to move thousands of miles away?

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missymiller February 22, 2011 at 9:44 am

That was very touching….I almost got weepy. I don’t like to think of you during that dark period…but I guess it was “meant to be” and maybe you two would not be as strong today without it, it sounds like you – for one- did a lot of personal growing during that period.

I’d tell the five-year-ago Missy that “tomorrow never ever comes” because I am forever waiting to start tomorrow.

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Katelyn February 22, 2011 at 9:54 am

Aweee love, this made me tear up! I am heading off to college in the fall, and I am so excited but so nervous at the same time. I can’t wait to embark on my life, and try to remember to believe in myself and love myself through every good (and every bad) decision <3

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kate@ahealthypassion February 22, 2011 at 9:58 am

what a great post, I wish I would have known what I know now as a freshman in college its amazing how much you grow in 5 years.

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dani February 22, 2011 at 10:27 am

I adore this!

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Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit February 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm

This is such an amazing idea! I love it! My letter would no doubt be much much longer than yours. I feel a blog post coming on… thanks for sharing your story with us, Chelsey :)

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megan @ the oatmeal diaries February 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm

That last paragraph was perfectly said. :)
Lovingg the old photos too!!

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janae@hungryrunnergirl.com February 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm

WOW!! This was truly touching and girl you are incredibly gorgeous!!! I would tell myself to enjoy every second too because there will never be a time again in your life that you can be so selfish and independent. LOVED this post!

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eatinglikeahorse February 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm

What a lovely post :-)
I don’t think it’d be worth me telling my old self anything – because I’m as stubborn now as I was then and I doubt I’d have listened!
Hope you’re ok? x

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Amanda Marie February 22, 2011 at 5:19 pm

I would tell myself that having a boyfriend isn’t the most important thing in the world, and to not stay with someone if they aren’t everything I want them to be. There are plenty of people to meet in the future!

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unbelloaperitivo February 22, 2011 at 6:05 pm

This is really beautiful!

I would tell myself that things weren’t going to out the perfect way you’d thought, but that I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Times ahead will be rough, but you’ll grow so much as a person and cement two incredible relationships. Hang in there!

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runningwithsass February 22, 2011 at 6:11 pm

LOVE this post, its so great and so true. I loved college but def made my fair share of mistakes and learned a LOT!

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Kate February 22, 2011 at 7:17 pm

I just started reading your blog and I love it! This post reminds me of things that I have just gone through in the past two years. Life isn’t always daisies and smiles, its tough at times! Struggles make us stronger and help us learn about ourselves. So thank you for writing such an inspiration letter. Your words have truly touched me as well as other readers.

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Lisa (Dishes of Mrs. Fish) February 22, 2011 at 8:28 pm

1. I loved this post.
2. I would tell my 22-year-old self:
- Relax. You’ll find a teaching job. One you love.
- That boy you’re crushing on. You’ll date him. He’ll break your heart. But as a result, you’ll do so many amazing things he said you couldn’t. Like run a marathon for instance. Then when you’re content in being alone and in God’s love for you. You’ll meet your husband, all because of the grandparents of one of our most beloved students.
- Keep on eating right. You’ll lose those 50 pounds. Plus gain so much more, a healthier life.

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thetwentyfifthyear February 23, 2011 at 12:44 am

Um, were we the same girl in college?

Girl, I love this. So true, real, raw and honest. Everything I love about blogging.

“The second you took God out of your focus, the rest of your world crumbled. Keep your eyes on Him.” <— I am learning that now. It's a tough lesson, but one worth struggling through to learn.

You are amazing and insightful! Never lose that :)

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Christin@purplebirdblog February 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Both of those pictures are sooooo funny!! :D

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kim @ girlevolving February 23, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Chelsey, I’m in love with your blog! So glad I found it!

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Lauren February 24, 2011 at 7:47 am

This is awesome, I have often written letters to my younger (and older) selves, it’s a great way to keep some personal perspective, and your letter today was a joy to read.

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Nicole @ Of Cookies & Carrots February 24, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Chelsea this was absolutely beautiful. Thank you so, so much for sharing it.
I have a hard time remembering exactly where I was 5 years ago… but I guess something I’ve been needing to hear for years is to simply love myself the way I am, and to really work on building that relationship with myself.
And that giving up is not worth it.

thanks again for this, it was amazing.
<3
n

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Danielle Marie February 28, 2011 at 11:00 am

This was amazing Chelsey! In the midst of a horrible break up – I find myself feeling lied to, manipulated, used and ultimately hurt on so many levels & at times I feel grave indifference. I lost my father in October and now this, another loss (although I know its 100%for better it sucks).

Five years ago I was battling an ED and as with anything its also difficult not to fall back into old patterns when disaster strikes – which is something i am being supermindful now more than ever. I would absolutely tell myself to love me more because there was nothing wrong with me then (and there is nothing wrong with me now).

Thank you for this post. Now is a good time for me to acknowledge how far I have come & keep me motivated to stay on the right track.

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cleaneatingchelsey February 28, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Wow – it sounds like you’ve been through A LOT! But it sounds like your journey is bringing you to wonderful places!

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