Write a Letter (To Yourself!)

There’s a beautiful practice I want to introduce today: writing yourself a letter. I learned about it a few years ago and it’s stuck with me ever since. If it sounds silly or strange, I encourage you to keep reading. You don’t have to be an eloquent wordsmith or an experienced writer. All you need is a little motivation, a blank slate, and an open mind.

You might be wondering, what could I possibly have to write to myself? There’s no shortage of messages we send ourselves, but often we do so in a way that’s not very helpful. Think about your first thoughts upon waking. What type of foundation do they lay for your day ahead? What about when you’re driving and your mind starts to wander? Our minds are often abuzz with activity, and it can be hard to filter out the messages that guide us in the right direction from those that lead us into a cycle of self-deprecation or habitual responding.

When you sit down to compose a letter to yourself, you’re naturally more deliberate in your self-dialogue. Writing allows you to tap into a part of yourself that is not as accessible via thinking or talking aloud. Imagine it as tuning into your deepest and wisest self, one with unlimited potential.

Maybe words aren’t your thing, and the thought of putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard with nothing but a blank page before you seems intimidating. (If doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom, or standing on your head for 5 hours sounds more appealing, I’m talking to you.) You don’t have to be a skilled writer to benefit from this practice. It’s not about how smoothly your sentences flow from one to another or how extensive your vocabulary is to draw from. It’s about communicating with yourself in a way that lets you honor who you are while celebrating the highest self that you can be.

You may choose to write to your present self, your past self, or your future self. You may choose to write to the parts of yourself that you struggle with or the parts that you adore. You may choose to write a letter that you’ll read every day or one that you’ll only pull out at certain times — when you need a confidence boost, when you’ve had a bad day, or when you can’t sleep.

There are no set rules. You need only write from a place of inner truth. Letter writing can help you:

Clarify your thoughts and feelings around an important decision

Identify your goals and values

Recognize where you’re being hard on yourself

Celebrate your strengths

Let go of past hurts

Shed light on how you’ve grown

Confront your fears

Embrace your shortcomings

Energize your body, mind, and spirit

Handwriting your letter is preferable as it often reduces the tendency to edit and self-censor that can be tempting when you’re sitting at a keyboard. You can always type it up afterward if you prefer this format, but I find sitting down to write it first eases some of the formality.

I hope you give this practice a try. If it sounds like something you wouldn’t ordinarily do, use it as an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone! If you have questions or feel stuck, get in touch. I’d love to hear what your experience was like and how it’s helped you. Put that pen to paper and soak in your wise words.