Love Letter to Latina First-Gen Eldest Daughters

First-gen Latinas often overlook the importance of self-love because they've been expected to prioritize the needs of others

Love letter latina daughters

Photo: Pexels/ Hassan OUAJBIR

As first-generation Latinas we often overlook the importance of showing ourselves love, particularly because we’ve often been expected to prioritize the needs of others. This rings especially true for my fellow eldest daughters of immigrants. I want to remind you of your inherent worthiness of love, especially self-love. This letter is dedicated to all the independent chingonas who are exhausted from shouldering every burden alone, being their own sole advocate, having to choose between merely surviving and truly thriving, and of hearing, “mi hija es muy independiente.”

Querida Chingona,

I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on your journey. Thinking about the heavy burdens you have been carrying, the pressures and responsibilities you may have felt. You had to grow up quickly, set your dreams aside, prioritize others’ needs before yourself, and relying solely on your strength when all you desired was the carefreeness of childhood, free from worries. I am writing to you, not just as a therapist, but as someone who deeply admires the fuerza inherent in first-generation chingonas like yourself. I wish you could see yourself through my eyes. I have admired you for so long, and I am unsure that you view yourself as I do. I see immense beauty in you, in your outward appearance, what you consider your flaws and in your spirit. Your resilience, determination, work ethic, and bravery astound me. Your resourcefulness and ability to adapt to new environments is unmatched.

However, it pains me to see the sacrifices and selflessness demanded of you, the obligations and responsibilities you’ve had to carry. These sacrifices have led to a focus solely on the goal, blurring your ability to recognize your own magnificence or enjoy the fruits of your labor. Even when you attain some level of success, it might still not feel sufficient. I wish you realized how exceptionally rare and remarkable you are. How incredibly powerful your story is. You are a trailblazer, navigating challenges that many cannot fathom. Being the first in your family to graduate from college, start your own business, seek therapy, or provide for your family is a monumental responsibility. Your journey is a testament not only to your personal strength but also a beacon of hope and a source of pride for our comunidad and future generations. You are the manifestation of our ancestors’ wildest dreams.

Eres magia! Your story is incredibly powerful. I want you to know that your feelings are valid and understood. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed by the expectations placed upon you, both from within and from those around you. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help, to take a moment for yourself, and to acknowledge both your achievements and your struggles. I also want you to know that I have big dreams and wishes for you, but not in the way that you are expecting. I wish for you to have more moments of softness and rest. Rest from your inner critic, from the “shoulds” and “have tos,” and rest from the pressures of doing it all by yourself. You also deserve to be free from guilt in those moment of peace. Lastly, I wish for you to remember that you are not alone.

We often hear, ‘it takes a village,’ yet we rarely embrace its true meaning in our lives. Remember, your path lights the way for others. Your courage, your resilience, and your journey remind us of the beauty and strength found in togetherness and shared vulnerabilities. Let this be a reminder that you are never alone. When you embrace help you honor the collective spirit that ties us, acknowledging that our journeys are interconnected and enriched through mutual support.

Thank you for being a source of inspiration and for reminding us of the power of resilience and hope. May you continue to move forward with the same courage and determination that has brought you this far.

Con Muchísimo Amor,

Dr. Lisette

Dr. Lisette Sanchez is a bilingual licensed psychologist and founder of Calathea Wellness, a virtual practice providing individual therapy in California. She has a passion for working with BIPOC folxs and first-generation professionals.

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