Wednesday, 19 May 2021

The benefits of writing a letter to your younger self

It’s inevitable that throughout life we will experience both good and bad moments that will create happy memories as well as emotional pain. If you could travel back in time, are there things that you would do differently? How could the more difficult times be made better? Looking back, what advice would you give to yourself with all the life experience you have now?

Why write a letter to your younger self?

There are many reasons why writing a letter to your younger self could benefit you. Perhaps there are old wounds that have never healed properly or past relationships that have affected your mental wellbeing. 

  • Heal pain
  • Forgiveness
  • Gain a better understanding of yourself
  • To become a better version of yourself

As humans, it’s natural for us to feel a wealth of emotions such as anger, sadness, happiness and resentment, but if we don’t deal with our feelings at the time of the event, they can progress into more serious problems. Intense negative emotions can, over time, create anxiety, stress or even depression. Science Daily looked at a study undertaken by UCLA psychologists which revealed that by putting our feelings into words, we can reduce emotional pain.

How to begin writing your letter

You might be wondering how to begin writing a letter to younger self, especially if you are older and have gone through many different life experiences. But your letter doesn’t have to just focus on the negative elements of your past, it can also feature happy moments that have helped shape your character and life in positive ways.

One of the most important parts of writing your letter is to be completely honest, remember that only you will read it, unless, of course, you choose to show it to someone else. Perhaps you might find it easier to start by jotting down some of the most vivid memories from your past. You can then look back at them and remember how they made you feel and what you learnt from them. How did certain events or people affect you as a person and how have they impacted on your life?

Maybe you thought you made a wrong decision but now looking back realised that it actually benefitted you. For example, did you make a career change that you felt was a mistake at the time but eventually it led to something better than you could have ever imagined?

You’ll most likely find that once you start writing, the words will just flow, and you won’t need much encouragement. Of course, your letter will be determined by the personal events and relationships from your unique life.

Some of the things you should remember when writing your letter:
  • Be honest and open about your feelings
  • Talk kindly to yourself and be empathetic
  • Give yourself positive advice that you wish you had known at the time
  • Decide how old your younger self is that you’re addressing
Once you’ve finished your letter, you could either read it straight away or seal it in an envelope to open on a future date. Perhaps you’ll want to write a series of letters to yourself from various ages of your life.

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