Dear Sunshine from the past,
For the past three months, I haven't been able to write letters.
No, it's not that I couldn't physically write them. It's just that I was too scared to even try.
You probably can't even imagine what happened after I sent my last letter about "Poor Mindset." Writing those words made me realize just how deeply I was hurt, and how many aspects of my life were affected by my feelings about money.
But that letter also became the starting point for my healing journey. I won't go into all the details, but trust me when I say that writing that letter was a turning point for me.
So why couldn't I write any more letters? And why did I decide to start writing again?
You are writing for others, right?
In my first letter, I wrote, "I may not be ready to show my true self to the world just yet. But I hope that this will be the catalyst for me to stop being afraid of being vulnerable in front of others."
But was that really the root of my feelings? I don't think so. I think what I really felt was lonely.
I wanted to share my thoughts and feelings with someone, even if I knew that no one might actually read my words. But the problem was, I was too afraid to be honest. I kept hiding behind convoluted language and never really said what I wanted to say.
I think you have the tendency to outline your arguments and logically analyze all your thoughts. Maybe it's because you came from an academic background, or maybe you're worried that people won't be able to relate unless you express yourself a certain way. I totally get it.
But the thing is, people often interpret your words in a completely different way from what you intended. I've experienced this firsthand over the past six months, especially with my letter about "Poor Mindset."
Looking back, that letter was the hardest thing I've ever written. I used language and theories that even I wasn't familiar with, just to justify my emotions and make myself feel understood.
But in the end, it didn't matter. People still had their own interpretations of my words. And that letter wasn't even for me – it was for my mom. Did you realize that?
I wanted to ease my mom's worries about my financial situation, because I know she feels guilty towards my mental health situation. So I took a convoluted approach in my writing.
But you know what happened? Mom was shocked. And seeing her react that way was even more damaging to me than writing a difficult letter in the first place.
I realized then that I couldn't keep writing like that. I had to be honest and straightforward, even if it meant exposing my vulnerabilities. So I took a break from writing letters and focused on creating podcasts and documentaries instead.
Giving all love I received won’t nourish yourself
In February of this year, I had the chance to talk with a coach Jingshu whom I deeply respect. I spoke to her about my poor mindset, but to my surprise, she saw through the surface level of my money mindset and pointed out the wounds hidden underneath.
"I feel like you've been living in fear for a long time."
"You couldn’t receive love from anyone, including your most trusted mother. Your mother's way of showing love is to give you money so that you can live happily, but you've been too scared to spend that money."
"You believe that others like you for a reason, such as being inspired, comforted, or gaining a new perspective. So you've been trying to put on a happy face, trying to uplift others and empathize with their emotions, even with your own mother who loves you unconditionally. You've been prioritizing her feelings over your own."
"I don't know who gave you the name 'Sunshine,' but I think it suits you perfectly. However, you've been trying so hard to spread your positive energy and give away all the love and emotions you receive that you haven't been able to nourish yourself enough."
"Sunshine, it's okay to receive unconditional love from others without fear."
"From now on, walk confidently with your head held high."
She looked at me with deep compassion, watching me cry.
Building genuine relationships starts with loving your true self.
After receiving that message, I've been challenging myself in many ways lately.
As you may realize in the previous letter about "identity crisis," I've been unconsciously putting others before myself and layering my own feelings with what I think others want to hear. That's why I've been expressing myself almost automatically, in a way that fits a certain identification, but it started to feel uncomfortable. It's a typical struggle for Highly Sensitive People.
Eventually, I became scared of all building relationships and thought it was easier to just keep everything to myself, even though it made me feel lonely. I was lying to myself and pretending to be strong because being alone hurt less than getting hurt by others.
But now, I've stopped doing that.
I've been listening to the signals from my heart and body that I've been neglecting, taking breaks when I'm tired, and intentionally practicing not to hold myself for wanting to cry.
Surprisingly, most people in Japan have been kind and accepting of me just the way I am, even when I was scared of how they might perceive me. They accepted the real me and praised my courage.
And now, I've met Japanese people who accepted me warmly for who I truly am, even though I was scared to share my writing in Japanese. I no longer feel anxious or worried.
To live confidently from now on
I want to thank Sunshine from six months ago for having the courage to write a letter, even though it was difficult to read. And I want to thank them for trying to connect with others, even though it was hard. If they hadn't done that, I wouldn't be who I am today, and I wouldn't be able to write this reply.
So let's make a promise to each other. Let's write for ourselves, not for anyone else.
Instead of arming ourselves with complicated words, let's show our naked emotions.
By doing that, we can finally face our true selves.