On March 13, 2010 I received a letter in the mail. The letter was from me to me. I had written it about two months prior not knowing it would end up in my mailbox. I vaguely remember writing it during a group session at an inpatient treatment facility in Tuscon, Arizona. I remember thinking the exercise was ridiculous as I struggled to find loving words for myself. My group leader gave me a template to follow and I successfully penned a 3-page letter that became instrumental in my healing.
The letter arrived about a month after I got home from treatment and the timing couldn’t have been better. The concept of loving myself was still pretty foreign and my post-treatment high was beginning to wear off. Being in the “real world” was starting to take its toll on me – until I found the letter in my mailbox.
When you are in a treatment facility for a month, you are completely disconnected from the outside world…making it very easy to focus on nothing but yourself. It wasn’t long after my release into reality that I started to lose the sparkle I had regained. However, seeing loving words in my own handwriting immediately brought me comfort. I was reminded that my happiness depended on me and no one else. That, in order to keep healing and growing I had to nurture the relationship with myself. While reading that letter, I was reconnected with my true self which propelled me further on my journey. I kept that letter in my nightstand and read it periodically over the next few years. I reread it again while writing this blog entry and I am please to say that I have healed what needed to be healed and accomplished all that I had hoped back on January 24, 2010 when I first wrote it.
Writing to yourself is a great exercise because it forces you to step back and look at your life…it forces you to reflect on what is but imagine what could be. It provides a foundation for you to envision your life…it’s a blueprint to work from.
Benefits to Letter Writing:
- Fuels your vision
- Allows you to connect and grow your relationship with your true self
- Reminds you of how far you have come
- Lays out goals and dreams you want to achieve
- Gives you evidence to trust your own judgment
- Helps you to be confident in your decision-making
- Helps clarify what is important to you
- Gives you motivation to keep going
- Is always there for support and guidance
Questions to Consider When Writing:
- What fears are you currently facing that you hope to overcome?
- What do you hope for yourself?
- What do you love about yourself?
- What faith or spiritual guidance can you count on to help you?
- What goals do you want to accomplish if fear wasn’t in the way?
- Why do these goals matter to you?
- How will you remember to count on yourself in the future?
Sample Template for Letter Writing:
Dear Future Self,
I love you because…
I am proud of you because…
I am sad because…
I forgive you for…
I hope that you…
I am thankful for…
I wish for…
I will show my love for you by…
Apps for Writing and Scheduling Letters to Yourself
Future You App
The Future You App allows you to write messages and schedule them but it also allows you to categorize the messages so you can go back and reread them when you need inspiration in that certain category. I have been loving this app because when I need motivation in a certain area, I can bring up something I wrote and count on my own inner self for guidance.
Slow Message App
Slow Message App allows you to send emails to yourself or to someone else. It gives you the option to select future dates or an approximate timeframe, which I think is super fun. I love not knowing when it is going to arrive because it is such a cool surprise to open your email and randomly get an unexpected loving note from yourself. This app is free this month on itunes!
Hi Future Self App
The Hi Future Self App is free and allows you to send messages to yourself in the form of alerts and reminders on your phone. Just write a simple message and schedule it to alert you. It doesn’t use up your SMS and you can send as many messages as you like to yourself or friends. This is a great app for setting intentions, daily reminders, and writing inspirational or loving messages. Some things I remind myself of daily is to, “Move my body”, “Take time to breathe,” and “Reflect what you are thankful for”.
The FutureMe App is 99 cents and gives you the ability to add or take a photo along with your message. This one also requires that the message be sent at least 30 days later from the time the message is written. You can also read past letters and read other public letters that FutureMe users have made available. If you don’t want to spend 99 cents on the app, you can use the website for free at www.futureme.org