Lily Collin's letter from her book Unfiltered reminds us all 'that we deserve to be treated with kindness and respect’
A note to self:
I know I find it really difficult to love me sometimes, but I vow to always try my best. There are days when I feel like I’m not good enough, strong enough, just simply not enough. Those days are some of the hardest. They test the weakest parts of me and trigger doubt, distress, and pain. But, more importantly, they are the days that build up my inner strength and define my true sense of self. No matter what I’ve endured in the past, what I’ve put myself through, or what others have done to me—I have the ability and the will to move forward. I will not give up. I will not undervalue or underestimate my capabilities.
I can’t look to someone else to be my everything or rely on them to make me feel whole. I am whole just as I am. I am defined, not by my life experiences, but by how I let them affect me and how I handle myself in each situation. Just because someone treats me badly doesn’t mean that I am a bad person or unworthy. It definitely doesn’t mean I must treat myself the same way. I know I’ve felt abandoned, ashamed, and let down. I know I’ve been hurt. I also know I’ve hurt myself to draw my attention away from the pain inflicted on me by others. But that doesn’t help anything. It doesn’t change the other person and it certainly doesn’t change what happened. I need to open my eyes and let the light in. I know the darkness can become all too comfortable and normal. I begin to expect it. But it doesn’t have to be so. And, at the same time, I must acknowledge that the darkness is important because I can’t know what the light feels like without it. It isn’t all bad.
I deserve happiness. I deserve to be loved just as I love others. I deserve everything
When someone else casts their darkness on me, I can use it to learn and to grow. I shouldn’t dwell on the things they said to me or the way they made me feel. Those words were not true. They were not kind. And I deserve to be spoken to only with kindness. My worth is not defined by their actions because their actions are not a reflection of my worth. Those actions say much more about who they are than who I am. When I love, I love hard. And I won’t let someone trample over my heart. I won’t convince myself that they were, and still are, the only person who will ever love me. That’s not love. That’s not how love is supposed to feel. But there is someone out there who will show me what real, honest love is. They will respect and accept me for me and won’t make me feel less than. In order to find that person and truly let them in, first I must believe in myself and know my own value. It’s not selfish to want these things nor is it selfish to think them. I deserve happiness. I deserve to be loved just as I love others. I deserve everything. I must forgive myself for being in some of the situations I’ve been in. For staying. For putting up with less than I deserve. There is no shame in what I went through. Forgiving myself is just as important as forgiving others. But now I know. Now I know I deserve to be the happiest, most fulfilled version of myself that I can possibly be. And I promise to use my experiences to continue to grow, heal, and expand my life. It starts with me. In order to accept the love I deserve from someone else, I must truly believe that I am worthy of it. And I am. And I’ll never let anyone tell me differently. I value myself. I respect myself. I appreciate myself. I accept myself. I love myself.
Always and forever.
Find out more about the author
In this groundbreaking debut essay collection, featuring never-before-seen photos, actress Lily Collins—star of Mortal Instruments and Rules Don’t Apply—is opening a poignant, honest conversation about the things young women struggle with: body image, self-confidence, relationships, family, dating and so much more.
For the first time ever, Lily shares her life and her own deepest secrets, proving that every single one of us experiences pain and heartbreak. We all understand what it’s like to live in the light and in the dark. For Lily, it’s about making it through to the other side, where you love what you see in the mirror and where you embrace yourself just as you are. She's learned that all it takes is one person standing up and saying something for everyone else to realise they’re not alone.
By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Lily’s honest voice will inspire you to be who you are and say what you feel. It’s time to claim your voice! It’s time to live your life unfiltered.