People who wrote themselves an uplifting letter every day for a week got a boost in spirits for up to six months afterward, according to a study in The Journal of Positive Psychology. *Shape Magazine 2.2011
I sat quietly on the steps this morning while waiting for Chloe’s bus to arrive. I watched her and Miles play out of the corner of my eye as I read my SHAPE magazine. I dogear magazine pages that have something I like in them and then later rip them out to collect. I keep them in a pile for inspiration later.
It wasn’t that long ago that I was an unhappy sophomore in college. For many days of that year I would say that I hated myself. I disliked my body. I disliked my situation in life. I wasn’t motivated. I smoked. I had social anxiety. I drank alone. I was overweight.
Some days I try to put that year out of my mind. I try to forget about the bad moments so they don’t bring me down and make me sad all over again. Other times I like to think of them and use them as motivation and fuel to push me farther and faster.
I don’t wake up every day and love myself. I am trying hard to become the person I want to be on the inside and outside. Every day I get closer. Though I do know my life is not like a marathon. There is no finish line in sight. I won’t magically hit a point in my life and just say okay – no more learning, no more running, no more becoming a better person. I’m a work in progress and I like that.
Chloe’s bus arrived and I held her sweet little hand as we walked outside. She got on the bus and for some reason picked a different seat than she has sat in every single day since she started riding the bus. I gave her a hug and she started to cry. Where is my mouse? I can’t go without my mouse? I quickly explained the bus had to leave and she could have the mouse when she got home from school. She has never needed the mouse before. Why today? Maybe it was the new seat? Maybe it was something else, but it broke my heart.
I got off that bus, ran inside, found that mouse, and took off sprinting out the front door. I would catch the bus at the cross street that I knew it had to get to next. I beat it. I waited for it to come, flagged it down, and got on the bus to give my girl her mouse.
I stood there after it left. OUT OF BREATH. It occurred to me in that moment that my running had literally saved the day of my 4 year old. When I got back inside I saw my magazine and had an idea.
I would create an email address to myself. A Dear DTB. I would write myself motivating emails whenever I saw fit.
I hope these emails will help me become a better person, mother, wife, friend and runner. I will use them to remind myself that I am worth it.
Here was my first email this morning to myself:
Dear DTB ~
This morning your strong legs and lungs helped keep Chloe happy. She got on the bus and realized she had forgotten her little mouse inside. She started to cry, but I quickly explained that the bus had to leave. As I waved goodbye to her I could see the tears in her eyes. As the bus pulled away I ran as quickly as I could into the house, found the mouse and took off out the door. I ran as quick as I could to the end of the street where I knew her bus would pass by. I arrived before the bus, flagged it down and hopped on to give her the mouse.
If you were an overweight out of shape mom, it would have never occurred to you to “run” her toy to her.
Your dedication to fitness not only makes you better but improves the lives of your children.
I love you