Do you remember these lyrics? “I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter …” It’s an old song (written in 1935) and it has been made popular again in nearly every decade since then, most recently by Paul McCartney in 2012. You may have heard it.

These lyrics came to me as I thought about what I’d like to share with you today. It’s a very powerful practice. I recently learned of a new twist on this practice and it’s now a part of my program. I feel guided to share it with you so you can experience the dramatic benefits that can come from writing yourself a letter.

3 steps to making a big shift

I’ll explain what it’s all about then, you can come back and reread this when you can carve out a little time for yourself — 30 minutes would be a good start and you may not even need all that.

This is a 3-part exercise. Here’s how it works:

1 graphicWhat is your biggest failure?

I want you to think about something in your life that you feel you failed at. Yup … I said “failed.” I know this can feel really bad to think about but, trust me … you’re gonna feel bad—then you’re gonna feel better. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about this situation — only that you feel you could have done a much better job. You may feel disappointed in yourself about this thing that you did. It could be related to a financial decision, a relationship choice or something that happened at work—or anything else. This is your story. It’s something you wish had turned out differently. Now take about 10 minutes to write about that situation in as much detail as you can. What happened? Be specific. Most importantly, write about how you felt when it was happening and after it was over. What was the outcome? How did that make you feel? Set a timer for yourself, or just let it flow till there’s nothing more to say.

2 graphicWhat lessons did you learn?

After you’ve captured all you want to, take another 10 minutes (or whatever you need) to list all of the lessons you learned from this situation. What has it taught you to do differently in the future? What did you learn about yourself? Did you notice any life values that may have been compromised in this situation? How can you honor those in the future? Write as many lessons as you can think of.

3 graphicWrite yourself a letter

The last part, and this is the most powerful one, is to sit down and write a letter to you. Here are the guidelines: there is no judgment, come from a loving and compassionate place, be forgiving and grateful for the lessons. Write from your heart. What would your former self like to hear from your wiser self? Be kind. You’ve lived and learned. You did the best you could and you can now forgive yourself. Take as much time as you have words in your heart to write.

 

The benefits of loving letters

Be kind to yourself — Writing loving letters to yourself is one of the most compassionate things you can do, especially when those letters come from a place of kindness.  Every time something happens and you wish you had acted differently, take a few moments to examine the situation, identify the lessons you learned and forgivingly write yourself a letter.

Revisit them often — Keep these letters in a safe place where you can come back to them.  This practice can cause some of the most powerful and transformative shifts I have seen in my clients.  I know this is true because, those shifts have happened for me, too.  And I get “goosies” every time I see the same thing happen for others.

So, now that you know how this works, schedule a good time for you to get into the groove of this exercise.  You may even like to print and reread this post to remind you of the questions to ask yourself.

 

Get yourself ready for the shift

When it’s the right time for you, get to a quiet place where you can limit your interruptions. Turn off your phone. Fix a favorite beverage. Take out your journal or a pad of paper and a pen or pencil. Now, sit somewhere comfortably to write a letter to you.

Take a few deep breaths. Relax. Are you ready to start?

Be open and honest with yourself … no one has to read your letter unless you want them to read it. This is a private “shift” zone.

 

Sending you warm {{{hugs}}} … till next time.
Maria Signature
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