Speaking out about his struggles in the emotional open letter shared on Monday didn’t come easy to Justin Bieber, but the singer is hoping to “channel that guilt in the right way,” a religious source close to the singer tells PEOPLE.
“He is torn up about his past,” the insider says. “He feels a lot of guilt, because he knows he was a young, stupid kid. But what he’s trying to do — what we’re trying to help him do — is to channel that guilt in the right way.”
“He needs to be open and honest about his past, because it’s a way to heal,” the source explains, adding that Bieber, 25, wants to “help other people learn from his mistakes.”
“He feels like he made these mistakes for a reason, and that he can serve as an example of what not to do.”
The source shares that it took Bieber “a long time” to write the lengthy post and it was something that he wanted to do on his own. “He just wanted to get it right.”
“No one told him to post that message. He decided to do it himself. It took him about a week,” the source says. “He did have a couple people look it over before he posted it.”
Nonetheless, the Grammy Award winner has no regrets.
“He’s not embarrassed about sharing his heart. He’s embarrassed at some of his behavior in the past, but he’s not embarrassed to talk about it if it will help people,” the source adds.
In the vulnerable post, Bieber, who has been candid about his mental health struggles in the past, explained how from the time he was a teen, he was constantly praised with his fame — something he credited to his downward spiral.
“I went from a 13-year-old boy from a small town to being praised left and right by the world, with millions saying how much they loved me and how great I was,” he shared. “You hear these things enough as a young boy and you actually start believing it.”
The “Love Yourself” singer said the fame also hurt his personal growth, as he never learned the true meaning of responsibility and was never able to develop skills beyond his music career.
“Everyone did everything for me, so I never even learned the fundamentals of responsibility,” he explained. “By this point, I was 18 with no skills in the real world, with millions of dollars and access to whatever I wanted.”
“This is a very scary concept for anyone,” Bieber continued. “By 20, I made every bad decision you could have thought of and went from one of the most loved and adored people in the world to the most ridiculed, judged, and hated person in the world.”
He then revealed that the unmanageable “ups and downs” from being a live performer caused him to start relying on “heavy drugs” by the time he turned 19. The star said he also “abused all of [his] relationships” and became “disrespectful to women.”
“I became resentful… and angry,” he wrote. “I became distant to everyone who loved me, and I was hiding behind, a shell of a person that I had become. I felt like I could never turn it around.”
Bieber said he found comfort and support in a group of people, including his wife Hailey Baldwin, who “encourage him to keep going.”
After recounting his past mistakes and dark times, he encouraged those reading his note to always be kind to one another and to spread love.
“All this to say even when the odds are against you keep fighting,” he concluded. “BE KIND TODAY>BE BOLD TODAY AND LOVE PEOPLE TODAY NOT BY YOUR STANDARDS BUT BY GOD’S PERFECT UNFAILING LOVE.”
Several of his famous friends have since sent words of encouragement his way.
“Friends from the beginning, here until the end!” Miley Cyrus commented. “🖤 you.”
Meanwhile, Khloé Kardashian wrote, “❤️❤️❤️❤️ This is beautiful!! Thank you!! We are so proud of you!! I needed this! God bless you always 🙏🏽.”
Singer Sean Kingston similarly revealed that Bieber’s story was something he needed to hear.
“Wow thank u for the testimony.. I sure needed this 🙌🙌 God bless u forever my lil brother 🙌💚,” the singer, who collaborated with Bieber on “Eenie Meenie” back in 2010, wrote.