A letter thanking the woman who helped you become all you are today. Now, encourage her to focus her time and energy on herself

Open letter

To the woman who never ceases to amaze me,

When I decided to write this letter to you on the occasion of International Women’s Day to express my gratitude for everything you’ve done for me, I thought it would be easy. After all, you’re more than a woman to me; you’ve been a pillar of strength and a guide through stormy weathers. I thought to myself: “Why this will be easy; I owe her so much, just jot down a list.”

But I did not account for the whirlwind of emotions that has left me groping for words as I tried to frame coherent sentences. I suddenly realised how inadequate words are when it comes to telling you how reassuring it feels to have you in my life.

You were there when I was starting out and had nothing to offer but promises. If you saw through me then, you did not let on but guided me through the days of uncertainty. Ridicule would have been disastrous for my low self-esteem back then, and for that bit of support, I must thank you.

When I started working, I forgot that you had your own work problems, terrible bosses to deal with, and your ambitions to fulfil. You didn’t remind me of these either. You believed I could rise in my career and took the pressure off my back with kind words, ready advice and a willing shoulder. It was as if your problems did not exist, only mine did.

Your words gave me the strength to face work challenges and deliver what was expected of me. Even in the toughest times, I’ve encountered in my profession, I have turned to you for solace, and you helped me pick myself up.

When I was hospitalised, you were there, taking care of me and helping my family with all the things that I could not do. You took time off to meet my doctors and ensure I was getting the right treatment at the right time, even though it affected your routine, sleep and rest. But you didn't complain even once.  

Even on a personal level, you have always put me first. You don’t mind spending 3 hours in a theatre watching the movies that I want or taking a trip to someplace that I want to visit, or even eating in a restaurant that I like. Of course, all your sacrifices boost my ego and make me feel great. But this isn’t just some elaborate “Thank You!” Today, I want to say something more: “Stop putting everyone else before you; it’s time you started thinking about yourself.”

You are a gem of a person, who doesn't know how to say 'no' even when you are put at an inconvenience. And while it is an admirable quality, it's not a bad idea to, occasionally put yourself before others' needs and wants. Spend more time doing the things you want to do. And when you don't like something or someone, don't tolerate it; just walk away. Take a weekend and catch up on some 'me time', even if someone else wants you around for them. 

Let's be honest, the lifestyle you are leading is not exactly easy or relaxing. It's okay to take an off from work once in a while (your company won't collapse). Focus on your health, take up that hobby you've always wanted to but for which you "never had the time". Treat yourself to some of the things you haven't - maybe splurge on a new wardrobe or spa treatment. You deserve it, after all. And most importantly, start thinking about your future and planning for it - personally, professionally and financially.

Take the opportunity that International Women’s Day offers in a way that I believe is right: start working towards long-term financial security and goals. You have neglected your own finances for far too long, saying it’s not important. But it is indeed crucial for a woman to be financially secure, as you should be. You’re a strong, confident and brilliant woman, and nothing should ever stand in the way of achieving your hopes and dreams. 

Let me help you with this. My efforts can in no way match all that you’ve done for me, but I will at least be happy in the knowledge that there’s something you’re doing for yourself at last. And for whatever else you need, I’ll do my utmost to be there and help you. After all, it’s the least I could do after all the wonderful things you’ve done for me.



Forever in your debt,