The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
One of the most important responsibilities a Jewish person has on Yom Kippur is apologizing. Yom Kippur is one of the High Holidays and the end point of the Ten Days of Awe, which commences with Rosh Hashanah—the New Year. Yom Kippur is a day to ask for forgiveness and to atone for our sins, and Jewish people hold sacred our duty to apologize to those we have wronged in the past year as we go before G-d, who will decide our fate in the upcoming year, during the Ten Days. I’m a person who prefers to apologize as soon as I know I’ve done wrong or hurt someone, but this year as I was reflecting in prayer, I realized that there was one person I haven’t yet apologized to—myself.
So here is my Yom Kippur apology letter to someone who I believe I owe a sincere apology to.
I’m sorry for all the mean things I’ve said to you this past year. You are good enough, you’re not stupid because you don’t understand everything perfectly the second you learn it, and you do deserve the best. You give your all to everything you do: your relationships with others, your school (even on the days when it’s tough—anxiety isn’t an easy hurdle to overcome), the clubs and teams you’ve joined this year. Speaking of which, go you. For as nervous as you get to interact with new people, you signed up for an intramural team and a special club called HER Campus,which you’re actually writing for. It’s scary to put yourself out there, but you did it. And you keep doing it. And you keep giving everything your all. That’s pretty fricken cool.
I’m sorry for criticizing the way that you look. I do that too much. There are so many good things about you. You are beautiful and you are loved, and you are beautiful because of your love, too. There is nothing wrong with your body, and there is so much good inside you that the exterior really isn’t even the best or most important part of you—I know that’s tough to believe sometimes. But with that being said, you are working so hard on getting fitter and faster and building strength and that deserves recognition. The way you’ve shifted your thinking about the gym from a way to lose weight to a way to become stronger signals how far you’ve come from where you started—you just had a personal best mile time last week! You’ve been wearing makeup less, and trying to get more comfortable in your skin, and you’re getting there.
I’m sorry for some of the situations I’ve put you in this year. You deserve good things, and I’m not always the best at making sure that’s what you get. You’ve stayed in places you shouldn’t have for far too long – toxic friendships, uncomfortable family relationships, and unhealthy job environments. I’m sorry. I need to be better at giving you freedom to let go. But I think, although these memories were painful at times, they speak to your optimism and your never ceasing hope that things will get better. You have a tendency to only see the good, even when it negatively impacts you. This is something we can work on together. But the fact that you’ve been through everything you’ve been through and you still care so deeply and remain so optimistic speaks to your inner strength.
I’m sorry I don’t always give you the time or space to figure everything out. You don’t have to have everything figured out either, and I tend to put pressure on you to be on top of everything all the time, but sometimes that time and space is needed just to have time and space. You’re juggling a lot right now and I should be better about understanding that none of it is easy and that sometimes you just need a break every now and then, to care for yourself and take your mind off everything you have going on. You’re a human with emotions, and you deserve to be allowed flexibility to live and exist imperfectly.
And above all, I’m sorry that it’s taken me so long to apologize. This letter is definitely overdue. I’m going to treat you better. I have to. You deserve a love that is at least equal to the love you so frequently give out to others,even those who don’t always deserve it or reciprocate it. So, here’s to a New Year of self-love. You’ve got this—correction—we’ve got this.