We are all unique, authentic, our life story is individual to us. If you could go back in time and be there for a younger you, give them advice, offering compassion and empathy, or share something with your future self from what you have learnt and experienced and hopes for the future would you? Writing a letter to yourself can be a great way to heal painful memories, and give yourself something positive to strive towards. It is like a time capsule.
If we don’t know who we are or where we come from, then how can we know where we are going or what we want? Writing a letter to your self can be very healing, can put life experiences into perspective and give them a value. The letter can show us what our true desires are, what we wish for ourselves.
Look at your experiences, through the lens of curiosity, what have you learnt? give your positive and negative experiences value, rather than rejecting them. Acknowledge what has got you to this point, what tools or resources did you use? Appreciate those who have helped you, those who haven’t.
Writing to your future self can be like writing your own life script, how you want your life to be, rather than what other people expect your life to be. It is challenging, it can feel painful, and yet liberating at the same time. You may find, through writing to yourself you are able to see your authentic, true self, your hidden wishes and dreams.
Letter to my future self
Why write a letter to your future self?
- measure goals
- notice between the past and the future
- shows us what really matters to us, our desires, our values
- is a time capsule
- reflections lead to reflexivity – movement towards what we want to change
Letter to your past self
Why write a letter to your past self?
- to gain clarity
- to gain closure
- to heal pain
- forgive yourself and others
- inner peace
Ideas for what to include for both past and future letters to yourself:
- be honest
- be caring and compassionate
- choose an age you want to write to and stick to it
- try to keep the themes short
- tell yourself something you wish someone had told you back then, or what you would like to know in the future
- refer to your self as ‘you’
- include life lessons, what have you learnt?
- have gratitude, what are you grateful for?
- identify what is important to you and why it matters
- how do you take care of yourself?
- what do you want to remember?
- what do you want to add/exclude from your life?
- goal setting
- acknowledge achievements
Think about themes – family, friends, work, relationships, spiritual paths, health, career, etc.
Prompts for both past and future self:
I want you to….
Why I am writing to you….
I hope …. (the future treats you kindly, it all works out, you have loved and lived hard, you have picked up your broken pieces…)
I appreciate ….
Desires and dreams …..
I don’t want you to forget …..
I want you to know that …..
I am thankful for …….
These are just a few to give you an idea, you may find other ways of writing the letter and thats great! there are no set rules. There are lots of interesting articles, images and examples of both past and future letters to self online.
What you will need for this activity:
- Pen, paper and envelope
Take time to write it, pay attention to detail. This is your letter, your future. Some people find that their letter appears to be a poem, that is great, whatever you feel drawn to, there are no wrong answers.
Pop your letter in an envelope, seal it and date the front – when you would like to open it and read it. Alternatively, there are websites where you can store letters and have them emailed to you on the future date that you set.
If you try this activity, please remember to be kind and compassionate to yourself. Now, breath, pause, reflect, pick up the pen and write.