In the pursuit of self-love, inner peace and true happiness, one has to undergo various trials and tribulations. You meditate, you exercise, you cook, you read, you sleep. And sometimes we cry, we break things, we scream, we give up. It’s all part of the circle of life, our cycle of life. There are many moments in our lives that we prefer to forget. I know I have memories I’d rather put aside; events, people, results. And there are times I hope I never forget – the day I got my GCSE results, the day I got my email saying I was accepted as a writer for Teen Magazine, the day when my 4th article was published. Moments like these, no one would ever want to forget. Writing to yourself is a difficult task – what to say, where to start. But I’ve been writing letters to myself for two years and I’m a bit of an expert. Let’s embark on the journey together. You can choose what to do with these steps. You can choose to follow some, all or some of them. Or you can choose not to follow any of them at all. These are just a few guidelines I followed to help me document my accomplishments and chart a course for my future. Hope this can help you in some way too.
1. Love yourself
This is a big task, probably the most important of all. Often, many make us question our identities, our self-esteem, our abilities. But life has taught me one thing: once you love yourself, you’re pretty much invincible. Many things will serve as obstacles to our inner peace: from people to situations, but if anything should remain constant, it’s your unwavering sense of self-love and belief. The reality of the world is that no one loves you or prioritizes you like you do. Your only priority should be to grow as an individual. That’s not to say I’ve fully mastered the art of self-love (I still have a long way to go) but if there’s anything that can make life better for you, it’s to love yourself.
2) Start with the present.
Look where you are and how far you’ve come. Think about all the successes, triumphs, failures, experiences and lessons you have had and acknowledge what they have brought to your life. Be grateful for the growth. Because what matters most in maturing is not who you were, but rather who you choose to be in the future. In the past, you may have made many mistakes – it’s inevitable, it’s human. But you present, you future, who will they be? Emphasize this in everything you write.
3) Learn to be able to close the chapters of the past.
Sometimes you have to start over. We all have different chapters in our lives, and at some point those chapters have to end. So clinging to experiences, wounds, people, it’s not always worth it. Sometimes it’s not fair for you to keep chaining people up, so if it’s someone you need to let go, do it. Do it for yourself and for your future peace. Likewise with experiences. Sometimes it hurts so much because you wish you could go back and start over. But you can’t. Rather than clinging to the pain it caused, take with you the lesson you learned while striving to become a better person. With the conclusion of one old chapter, comes the dawn of another.
4) Look to the future.
Think about where you want to go, your academic, career and relationship aspirations. Because reviewing where you are and where you’re looking to go allows you to come up with a plan of action, write about it, and hold yourself accountable if you don’t follow it. You determine where you are now and how and who will help you get there. The future is scary, terrifying even, and the concept of stepping into the unknown would scare anyone. I’m afraid of the future. I’m afraid of change. I’m afraid to grow up. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to run away from the future and not try. This is the real failure. Until then, I will continue to fight for whatever I want. And you should too. My mother always tells me that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself and while it’s a bit cliché, it doesn’t dismiss the validity of the statement. So why not take that risk? In the worst case, things don’t go as planned, but at least you tried. Better than wondering what if. If you’ve learned something, it’s never a failure, I promise.
Sometimes we overthink simple tasks like this. Most of the time, if you are just starting out, it will happen naturally. Start how you want to start. And write.
6) Take your time.
It is an important task because it documents the milestones you have reached throughout your life. It’s not worth rushing. Like everything in life. As my mother also says, slow and steady wins the race. Although it’s not always literally true, you can definitely appreciate the sentiment. (Quality rather than quantity).
7) When finished, proofread your letter.
Appreciate the quality of writing you have produced. Acknowledge and be proud of how far you’ve come. Absorb the path you have yet to travel. And let yourself know you can do it.
8) Remember when you are going to open the letter and prepare to write another one.
As you open the letter, think back to when you were writing and assess in yourself how far you have come. Answer honestly: have all your goals been achieved? Did you do what you said you would do? And what do you want to work towards in the future? Write it down in the next letter you write.
At first, it may seem like a rather daunting task, but over time, it becomes easier. So keep writing to you. Or at least document your successes, progress, experiences, lessons. So that over the next few days, weeks, months, years, we can recognize how far we have come. And so that we can appreciate how far we have come. We all deserve to be celebrated. And above all, by ourselves.