letter #016 | dear younger me: don't give up now. all things are hard before they are easy.

don't give up now.
all things are hard before they are easy.

Letter #016

September 2, 2023

dear younger me,

One of my favorite things about meeting and catching up with people is listening to the nuanced details that make up the problems, dreams, and lives of the person I’m speaking with.

When I hear someone talk about how one benefit of marrying soon meaning they'd no longer have to worry about getting a green card to stay in the States, or what it’s like dealing with a family who has ostracized them because of their sexuality, or yet still, what it’s like at the very beginning of becoming a tattoo artist or social media content creator, it’s incredible to me.

I'm fascinated with learning the subtle details that color in the sketch of what an experience is like, and how oftentimes, it is so much more intricate and detailed than what I imagined.

in today's letter, we'll explore:

  • why connection is protection
  • consistency, grit, & commitment
  • what deciding to do something really means
  • the new dear younger me September series
  • this week's ✨ glimmer gallery ✨
  • dear future me

connection is protection.

In considering people's varied experiences as well as my own, I’ve observed 3 common themes:

  1. We’re all struggling with something.
  2. Oftentimes, there’s some problem in our life that we do not even know where to begin when it comes to understanding it, let alone solving it.
  3. Being in community with others, understanding you’re not alone as you navigate your new experience, can buoy you through your difficult experiences, making it feel possible to stay afloat.

In the words of one of my favorite mental health speakers, Leslie Weirich, connection is protection.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. As I've shared in previous letters, in 2021, my best friend Mitsu lost his battle with bipolar depression.

At the time of his death, we were both still pretty new in our diagnoses of bipolar 1 disorder.

I still think about Mitsu daily and in doing so, often reflect on the concepts of hope and community.

I consider having hope and a sense of community to be vital for us as humans, and I also reflect on how difficult life can become when either of those is missing.

I think about how much I am still learning about this condition and how much my understanding of it and myself has changed since being diagnosed a few years ago.

I wish today that I could just give my friend a hug and tell him that things really do get better. All things are hard before they are easy, and even though I haven't quite reached the "easy" chapter of managing this illness, today, it is worlds easier navigating this condition than it was the year I received my diagnosis.

I share this because no matter what new journey or experience you're embarking on, things are undoubtedly going to be challenging and difficult in the beginning. And the beginning might last for a long time.

But stick with it and keep going. Don't give up.

All things are hard before they are easy.

looking back to Letter #010.

You may remember a few months ago in Letter #010 when I briefly talked about my 60+ lb weight gain.

On March 18, 2023, I weighed in at 201.2 pounds.

I published Letter #010 on March 20, 2023.

In it, I wrote:

“I’m not sure what prompted it, but last week, I decided to step on the scale. The numbers 201.2 lbs reflected back up at me…

I will detail some of the upcoming changes I will be making to return to a healthier weight range in a future letter, but honestly, even planning them out can feel like a daunting task. I guess now, I am in a brief mini-research mode and am eager to hear from anyone else who has struggled with body dysmorphia, weight loss, body changes, or the process of becoming healthier and stronger across multiple wellness dimensions (my ultimate goal).”

What I remember most about that letter was how much embarrassment I felt in the hours after sending it out from having openly shared about something that had been the source of so much shame for the past 4 years.

I also remember feeling scared and pretty defeated thinking about all the times I had tried to lose weight and wound up gaining it back + more.

It’d be nice to say that the very next day after sharing this, I returned to the gym and then lived happily ever after, but as we know, life doesn't usually happen that smoothly.

In reality, I probably still ate at Rally’s and McDonald’s several more times over the next few weeks.

Then, on April 3, 2023, I walked back into the gym.

I didn’t really know what to expect. I went through the workout my trainer had written out for me; I imagine it was awful because of my poor diet and lack of consistent exercise at the time, but today, I don’t even remember that workout.

What I do remember is that on April 3rd, I made a choice. A decision.

And that by April 8th, five days later, I was ready to return to my former ways of eating out, skipping workouts, exercising when I felt like it, etc.

I got ONE text from my coach that served as the catalyst for the changes I’ve made today:

It was a simple follow-up accountability question.

It didn't ask whether I had time to workout or if I felt like completing my workout from the day before.

Prior to receiving that message, I'd had no intention on working out that day. But I told myself after reading that message, that I wanted to learn what it meant to be committed to something.

consistency, grit, & commitment.

Since the week of April 3rd, I have consistently lifted weights at least 3x a week, every week, for 23 weeks straight.

I haven’t missed one workout since April 3rd.

I go on walks 6-7 days a week and will likely make it to daily walks by next month.

I want to make special note here that I have probably restarted my health journey of trying to get fit, lose fat, return to a healthy weight range, etc., no less than 15x in the last few years.

Each time, I would work out and eat healthier for a couple weeks to months before returning to what was familiar and easier.

I would overexercise, undereat and eventually end up gaining back whatever weight I had lost and then some. I cycled through this repeatedly for a minimum of 4 years before reaching the point I’m at today.

This is 100% the most consistent I have ever been in my entire life. I am stronger than I’ve ever been. I’m more mobile. And, to the major disbelief of my younger self, I am much more comfortable with my body and physical appearance now than ever before.

For years, I scoured thousands of Instagram transformation pictures searching for “the key” to how people became consistent along their fitness journeys, or any journey for that matter, in the hopes that I could, one day, do the same.

Tomorrow, I reach 5 months of not missing a single workout, and as it turns out, the main keys I was searching for all along were consistency and grit. Consistency is defined as acting or doing something in the same way over time. (Over time is an important piece to that.)

Grit, as defined by renowned UPenn psychology professor and author Angela Duckworth, is passion and perseverance for long-term goals. Professor Duckworth writes that:

One way to think about grit is to consider what grit isn’t.

Grit isn’t talent. Grit isn’t luck. Grit isn’t how intensely, for the moment, you want something.

There have been so many challenges that I wasn't expecting along this journey and so many times I came close to talking myself out of doing what I had committed to doing because I was tired, busy, not in the mood, or what have you.

It'd be nice to say that things have gotten easier on this journey as they've gone on, but honestly, this 23rd week felt like the hardest one so far. But I got through it and what this journey has brought me spiritually, physically, and mentally has far exceeded the temporary discomforts I have felt along the way.

defining to decide.

Each week, my coach Devyn and I have a video check-in call. On this week’s call, he told me about the etymology, or word origin, of the word decide.

The word decide derives from the Latin word decidere

de- meaning “off” and caedere meaning “to cut”.

To decide essentially means that you’re cutting off any other possibilities outside of your decision.

For example, you’ve decided you’re going to go for a walk tomorrow morning at 8am. When you wake up tomorrow, that means that you are cutting off any other possibility of doing something at 8am except for going on a walk. This would include feeling tired and wanting to stay asleep, not feeling “motivated” to go for a walk (motivation usually follows motivation but we’ll get to that in a future letter), not being able to find your headphones as you get ready for your walk, etc.

To make a decision means to cut off any other possibility outside of what you’ve decided to do.

Simple in theory, more difficult in practice, but powerful when consistently applied.

You just don’t let things get in the way of your decisions.

Is it hard at first?

Of course.

But all things are hard before they are easy.

Stick with it.

Don't give up now.

The overcoming of things we never thought we could do often isn't made possible by a single large effort, but rather, by a series of small wins that take place over a period of time.

Keep going.

All things are hard before they are easy.

introducing...the dear younger me September series

I am constantly reimagining ways to bring you this newsletter in a consistent way that maintains quality. I want to try something new this month by offering you a series!

Each Saturday in September at 9:30pm PST, you will receive at least 1 tip to stay encouraged and consistent during a trying process.

This process can be...anything:

  • Learning to budget or invest
  • Setting personal and professional boundaries
  • Restoring your health and fitness
  • Beginning a new creative pursuit
  • Learning a new skill or job
  • Starting a new business
  • Starting a new relationship
  • Navigating grief (of a person, job, opportunity, relationship, unhealthy habit, etc.)

Within all of these journeys, there are some common themes and obstacles that we tend to face like:

  • making many mistakes, especially in the beginning
  • encountering obstacles we didn't expect
  • figuring out how to remain patient when progress feels slow or nonexistent
  • managing expectations of our progress
  • developing our underlying why for the change we're making
  • improving the way we talk to ourselves throughout the process

Over the next month, we'll be exploring topics like these in the dear younger me letters.

dear future me...

This is a new section to share exciting upcoming dates & events.

September 10th, 2023 marks the 3 year anniversary of my first business, Teach Me Ms. Amahni. 🎉

On September 25th, 2023 at 11am PST, I will be doing my first speaking engagement about being an entrepreneur and minority business owner. I’ll be sharing a lot of the mistakes I’ve made along my journey so that you don’t have to make them on yours!

If you’d like to attend this free virtual event, please register here.

✨ the glimmer gallery. ✨

The glimmer gallery is a weekly collection of moments that made the good times better and the harder times bearable.

Note: Due to technical difficulties, this week's glimmer gallery is shorter than most. It will resume at regular length next week.

Have any thoughts about this letter? Did anything resonate with you?

Just reply to this email to let me know. It makes my day to hear from you and I respond to every message.

Dear Reader,

Thank you so much for your presence and support here. I appreciate you so much and I'll see you next Saturday at 9:30pm PST. Wishing you a relaxing and restorative rest of your weekend.

With love,

Amahni E. Yarber


PO Box 814, Chino Hills, CA 91709
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