How to Write a Letter to Yourself, and 5 Reasons You Should
Have you ever thought back on a past version of yourself and wondered how they’d react to you today? Until someone creates time travel, this won’t be possible, but you do have the chance to experience a tidbit from your history. The medium is surprisingly simple — a letter.
Writing a letter to yourself is an uncomplicated process, and anyone can do it. You can follow the old pen and paper route, or you can use an email service to type up a message and schedule it to hit your inbox at a future date.
If you decide to write a physical letter, try dressing it up with decorations or illustrations — it’ll be a nice surprise to find later on. Whether you choose to read your message in two, five, 10 or 15 years, the amount of time is up to you. Write about your current goals, likes and dislikes, regrets, fears and people you love. Give your future self some advice and see if you followed through.
If you’re still not sold on the idea, check out a few reasons why writing a letter to yourself can be therapeutic.
1. Create Memories
Write a letter during a pivotal moment in your life, like moving to a new city, graduating from college or having a child. When you open it years from now, you’ll be surprised to see how different you were before such a notable change, and you’ll notice how you’ve settled into your life. Are you anxious, angry or saddened by a current event? How do you think you’ll feel when you look back on it in a few years?
Major changes are overwhelming when you look at them from the outside, but once you’re familiar with them, you have the potential to thrive.
2. Encourage Motivation
Penning your dreams helps you bring them to life. Knowing that you’ll reread your letter encourages you to begin working toward your goals so you can accomplish them before that time comes. The satisfaction of your desires matching up with your reality is a unique, enriching feeling. Even if you don’t achieve everything you set out to do, the letter will serve as a reminder that you still have the opportunity to succeed if you try.
Some of the things you currently want can change, and you’ll be able to compare the then-and-now of your motivations. Are your motivations mostly external or internal? Do you think this quality will transform in the future or stay the same?
3. Reflect on the Past
Everything that happens in your life molds you into the person you are now, and having a firsthand account of your personal growth is priceless. You’ll learn to appreciate events both positive and negative because they all combine in structuring your beliefs and values. When people try to bury the past, it usually comes out in another form, and these forms aren’t always pleasant. Cultivating a healthy relationship with yourself means acknowledging your past but knowing when to let it go.
Healthy reflection is crucial to mental wellness — with a letter, you can reminisce for a while and store it away again.
4. Forgive Yourself
Record some of your biggest regrets and fears. In the future, you’ll get to ponder on these vulnerabilities and recognize how you’ve dealt with them since. This exercise gives you a chance to practice forgiving yourself for things you can’t change. Everyone makes mistakes, and some are larger than others, but holding onto them only causes grief. People must understand how to accept the errors they’ve made and learn not to make them again, but this process takes patience.
By being in a better place in the future, you’ll be able to forgive yourself for things that seem major now.
5. Appreciate Where You Are Now
Whether your life turns out almost exactly as you wanted or nothing like it, reading a letter from your past self encourages you to appreciate the time you possess. Life changes in the blink of an eye, and not everyone who writes a letter will be here to read it. When you get to the three, five or 10-year mark, it makes you realize how far you’ve come. You’ll appreciate that you were able to make it to that point.
Write a Meaningful Message
Write a letter to yourself and make sure it means something to you. You’ll thank yourself for the introspection years down the road, and it may inspire you to create another.
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