Who is the one person most unlikely to receive a letter from you? Yourself?
Ever wondered, why people write letters to themselves? Or what could possibly be written in a self letter? Or why somebody would engage in a seemingly “waste of time” activity? If the answer is yes, then this article is definitely for you.
Now for people who know what it is, have you written one? Yes? Congratulations, you have one more technique in your kitty to be Zen like!! No? Then maybe you should try it. It works for many!
Now, what is it anyway?
Self-letter is writing a letter to yourself.
(Am sure that was not very helpful !!). Basically it’s a time bound letter you write about yourself for yourself.
Sounds fatuous isn’t it? As fatuous as watching the sunrise, enjoying a good view or laughing your heart out, but totally worth it. If you have nobody but yourself to motivate yourself, then this definitely is worth a try.
Why do it?
- For clarity: All of us have been/are victims of confusion. These are times of, a galore of choices and the more choices you have the more confused you get. Writing a self-letter can clarify some things up for you. If nothing else you’ll get to see things from a different perspective.
- For help in Decision Making: From time to time, we all undergo something called as the Decision paralysis. We block our own decisions. Most of us normal folks unintentionally depend on others for our decisions. We rarely consult ourselves on the best course of action. We ask the opinions of everybody who is anybody to us and finally take decisions based on whichever opinion is convenient to us. When things go wrong we go to great lengths convincing ourselves that it was not our fault. Self-letters can help you avoid skirting the important process of deciding things for and by yourself.
Self-letter is not an end in itself. It is just another time-tested tool like journals, notes, diaries and so on.
How to do it?
“I cannot write daily. I can note down important events but that’s the limit to my journaling capabilities.” Many of us belong to this category. Self-letter is an easy in between option.
You can write two types of Self-letter.
- A letter to your younger self: I did not understand this concept for a long time. i.e. till I grew up. Grown-ups face problems and they need tools to handle these problems. Writing letters to your younger self is a great way to let go off your emotional baggage, to handle and release your residual feelings about any of the events or people from your early days. It is also a good way to remember good things from your past, to count your blessings, to be happy and to take heart in whatever is happening in your current life.
- A letter to your older self: You write this letter for, as you would have guessed, to motivate yourself, to help you look forward, to give you hope, courage and so on. You can also write self-letters to remind you of goals and aspirations. The key to writing self-letter to your older self is that, you must read it after a gap of minimum 2-3 years, maximum is any number of years.(Remember, it’s a letter for yourself hence it is obvious the maximum number must be a reasonable number :))
These days it’s easier to write a self-email than letter. You have many apps and sites on the net that will help you write self-emails and deliver it to you at a future date. No hassle of forgetting all about it, provided you check the same email account you gave them, in the first place. I have not tried any of them yet , but will soon put up a list of good ones as soon as I try.
What to write?
Self-letters are very personal. You can write anything you want. If you are writing to your younger self , you can begin by detailing the events that happened at a specific age and proceed from there. If you are writing for your older self you can list down your goals and aspirations.
Ultimately it’s a very personal choice as to what you would like to tell your younger or older self. This is as personal as it gets and you don’t really have to fret about the language.
So go for it, write away and do let me know how your experience was. You be the judge of whether it is a waste of precious time or an useful self-analysis tool.
(Photo Courtesy: Flickr)