Letter writing is a powerful modality. Some of my most treasured memories have been hand-written letters from loved ones. Even though the writer may no longer be physically present after death, their words of wisdom are alive in their writings.
I realize that the art of letter writing is considered a “lost art”. Within the last five years, 37% of Americans haven’t written-a-personal-letter-on-paper and half of Americans haven’t received a personal letter.
Can you believe that 14% of Americans have never received a personal letter?
Consider writing a personal letter to yourself! You may be asking yourself, why would I do that? What would be the purpose of the letter? There are many uses of letter writing, especially in therapy such as grief/ loss work.
One activity to try is writing a letter to your younger self.
Writing a letter to your younger self can help work through “stuck points” in therapy and begin to work towards healing a part of your inner self.
Since letter writing can trigger powerful emotions, this may be something to discuss with your therapist before attempting on your own.
Begin by addressing yourself.
Show kindness and compassion to your younger self. Consider what you have experienced. What might you need to hear? Reflect on the experiences of your younger self. Consider how they have shaped the current version of yourself.
Acknowledge and name significant emotions you have experienced. Pain and heartache are big ones in the context of relationship. Fear, possibly regret is another big one in the context of big life decisions. Share lessons you have learned, insight you have gained, and any advice you would like to give. Don’t be afraid to be honest and vulnerable with yourself. While there may have been things that you wish you would have known back then or wish were different, things have already happened the way that they did. Perhaps your placed too much value in what others thought. Maybe your circumstances growing up were less than ideal. Traumatizing experiences impact the lens in which you view yourself. Remind yourself that you are worthy of being loved. Don’t doubt your self-worth. You are strong and resilient! Let yourself know all the qualities that you admire. Share with yourself how proud you are.
You get to choose the ending of your story.
Written By : Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC
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