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To the Teenage Girl Who Self-Harms Because She Doesn't Think She's Worthy

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Article updated August 19, 2019.

Dear 13-year-old self, 

I know you’re struggling right now. I know you don’t find yourself worthy of love, or support, or even kindness, but I’m writing you today to tell you one thing and one thing only. 

It does get better.

A lot happened to you, and I need you to realize you didn’t deserve it. I also need you to realize the things that have happened to you and the people who have hurt you, do not and never will define you. You are so beautiful, you are so strong and you are a survivor. 

I want you to know we did rise from the ashes, and my name is Phoenix because of it. I want you to know the move you are so unsure of was exactly what we needed to begin healing. I want you to know that as I write this to you, we are over 3,000 days clean of self-harm. All the tears and all the pain was worth it. I promise. 

split image of the offer then and now

Now, to the real point of this letter. 

I want you to know you are worthy of everything you think you aren’t. You are worthy of love, support, kindness, friendship and understanding. You are worthy of having a group of people surround you with love always, and let me tell you, the people I have in my life were well worth the wait. You are worthy of life; you always were and you always will be. You are worthy of recovery, and you will recover. I can’t promise there won’t be bad days, but I love being alive and every day is another step towards recovery, for both of us. You are worthy of coming out, being able to be who you are and being accepted for who you are. Coming out was just as scary as you thought, but no one freaked out on you. Everyone in our life now accepted us with open arms. You are worthy of having good friendships and relationships. You are so worthy of everything, and you will realize that one day. 

I don’t blame you for feeling the way you do. What we survived was extraordinarily hard to cope with and recover from, but we did do it. We have an amazing support system from friends to family, and I know they would have loved 13-year-old you.

But for now, please just know that what while what you’re feeling is valid, it doesn’t last forever. I did find happiness within myself and I did eventually gain this large amount of self-love and self-acceptance. Cutting all our hair off definitely helped. 

Please know I love you, and I’m not mad at you for feeling the way you feel. 

Please also know you are always going to worthy.


Your 21-year-old self

If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to your teenaged self when you were struggling to accept your differences. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: April 12, 2016
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