In pursuit of self-love, inner peace, and true happiness, one must undergo various trials and tribulations. You meditate, you exercise, cook, read, sleep. And sometimes, we cry, we break things, we scream, we give up.
It’s all part of the circle of life, our life cycle. There are many points in our lives that we’d rather forget. I know that I have some memories that I would rather dismiss; of events, of people, of outcomes.
And there are times that I hope to never forget—the day I got my GCSE results, the day I got my email saying that I was accepted to be a writer for the Teen Magazine, the day my 4th article got published. Moments like these—no one would ever want to forget. To write to oneself is a difficult task—what to say, where to begin.
But I've been writing letters to myself for the past 2 years and I’m somewhat of an expert. Let us embark on the journey together. You can choose what to do with these steps.
You can choose to follow a few, any or all of them. Or you may choose to follow none of them at all. These are just some guidelines that I've followed to help me document my achievements and craft the pathway toward my future. I hope this can help you in some way too.
1. Love Yourself
That's a big task, probably the biggest of all. Often, much makes us question our identities, our self-worth, our abilities. But life has taught me one thing—once you love yourself, you’re practically 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 yourself. Your sole priority should be grow as an individual. That’s not to say that I have entirely mastered the art of self-love (I still have a long way to go) but if anything can make life more beautiful for you, it’s loving yourself.
2) Start with the present.
Look at where you are and how far you’ve come. Think of all the successes, triumphs, failures, experiences and lessons you’ve encountered and acknowledge what they’ve brought to your life. Be thankful for growth.
Because the most important about maturing is not who you were, but rather who you choose to be going forward. Past you may have made many mistakes--that’s inevitable, it’s human. But present you, future you—who are they going to be? Highlight that in everything you write.
3) Learn to be able to close chapters of the past.
Sometimes, there’s the need to start afresh. We all have various chapters of our lives, and at some point, those chapters must come to a close. So hanging onto experiences, hurt, people—it's not always worth it.
Sometimes, it’s not fair to yourself to keep stringing people along, so if it’s someone you need to let go of, do it. Do it for yourself and for your future peace. Likewise with experiences.
Sometimes, it just hurts so much because you wish you could go back and do it again. But you can’t. Rather than hanging onto the pain that it caused, take with you the lesson that you learnt in pursuit of becoming a better person. With the conclusion of an old chapter, comes the dawn of another.
4) Look towards the future.
Think about where you want to go, what your aspirations for academics, careers and relationships are. Because the consideration of where you are and where you seek to go allows you to craft a plan of action, write about it and hold yourself to account if you don't follow it. You figure out where you are currently as well as how and who’ll help you get there.
The future is scary, terrifying even and the concept of embarking into the unknown would be scary for anyone. I’m scared of the future. I’m scared of change.
I’m scared of growing up. But that doesn’t mean I'm going to run away from the future and not try. That is what true failure is.
Until then, I'll continue to strive for all that I want. And you should too. My mum always tells me that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself an whilst it’s a tad cliché, it doesn’t dismiss the validity of the statement.
So why not take that risk? Worst case scenario, things don’t go to plan, but at least you’ve tried. Better than wondering what if. If you've learnt something, then it’s never a failure, I promise.
Sometimes, we overthink simple tasks like this. Most of the time, if you just get started, it will flow naturally. Make a start—however you wish to start it. And write.
6) Take your time.
Such is an important task as it documents the milestones encountered throughout your time in life. It’s not worth rushing. As is anything in life.
As my mum also says, slow and steady wins the race. Whilst not always literally true, you can definitely appreciate the sentiment. (Quality over quantity).
7) Once complete, re-read your letter.
Appreciate the quality of writing you produced. Acknowledge and be proud of how far you’ve come. Absorb how far you have left to go. And let yourself know that you can do it.
8) Remember when you’re going to open the letter and be prepared to write another.
Upon opening the letter, reminisce about when you were writing and assess within yourself how far you’ve come. Answer honestly—have all your targets been achieved? Have you done what you said you would?
And what do you want to work towards in the future? Make a note of it in the next letter you write.
At first, it may seem a rather daunting task, but with time it gets easier. So, keep writing to yourself. Or at least document your successes, progressions, experiences, lessons.
So that over the next few days, weeks, months, years, we can acknowledge how far we’ve come. And so that we can appreciate how far you’ve come. We all deserve to be celebrated. And most of all, by ourselves.