If you wrote a letter to your past, present or future self, what would it say? Would it be a positive message, or something negative?
What would you say to your 17 year old self?
What kind of advice or warnings would you tell yourself?
What about your present self?
If you were on the outside looking in, what would you say?
What would you tell your future self?
What would you want your future self to look back on?
This writing activity is much harder than it sounds because it requires a level of thinking we don’t often utilize. We’re always quick to help others by offering up suggestions or advice, but it’s hard to think about ways to help ourselves.
Writing letters to yourself is a great way to put things into perspective. If you look at yourself and your problems from an outside view, things are often not as bad as they seem. And, the advice you’d give yourself would hopefully be as good (or better) as the information you’d give someone else.
Writing letters to yourself is much different than writing in a journal. A journal simply documents your current thoughts and feelings. A letter allows you to directly address specific points in more formal manner.
Write to yourself as if you’re writing to your best friend.
You can say things to your best friend (good and bad) you wouldn’t say to strangers. Use this to your advantage by telling yourself what you really think. If you have to be harsh, go ahead! Sometimes that’s what it takes to get a point across.
Offer up the best advice you can!
Hopefully you know what’s best for you, right?
The hardest part of all this is probably reading the letter after you write it. It might present some things you hadn’t thought of. Once you realize what’s been written, what happens next? Will you follow through with the advice you’ve been given?
Look at life from a different perspective.
I hate the old cliche “think outside the box”, but it’s true. When you’ve got a multitude of issues you’re trying to fight through, you’re stuck in a box. The only way to seek any valid reasoning is to put yourself outside of the situation and reflect on what’s inside.
Think of a situation when you were having a hard time, or a time when you were trying to make a decision about something. Did you get some outside help? Were you given advice? Did it make you feel better?
You can do these things yourself.
There are times when you do need outside help, but why not start with yourself? You’re a resource that’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you do write the letters, follow through with your advice. Rather than letting things fester, work through your problems. Set goals. Make things happen.
The first step to changing yourself is figuring out what you want to change.
Marty is a Kansas City based writer and entertainer.
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