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If you need a reminder of how strong you are, try this self-love letter writing exercise

Posted by
Megan Murray
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This guided self-love exercise will help you remember everything you’ve achieved in the last decade. 

Self-love doesn’t come easily to all of us. In fact, it can be bloody hard and for many (with maybe the exception of Lizzo) treating ourselves with the love, care and empathy that we deserve is a lifetime battle.

The more this topic is discussed on platforms such as social media, the more the taboo is broken down but also, it provides an opportunity to learn from each other with techniques that can help us incorporate self-love and care into our lives more.

A fantastic example of this is a post from counsellor, coach and trauma therapist Kelsey Mech, which was shared by Jameela Jamil’s body positive account I Weigh, and beautifully illustrates how a letter writing exercise can remind us of our strengths and achievements.

Kelsey posted an image of an open notebook, showing two pages with instructions on how to write letters to your younger self for self-healing. The first letter addresses your child self while the second is to the person you were a decade ago. 

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Essentially the idea of both letters is to help you on a journey of self-healing. The first does this by exploring what was missing from your childhood and then provide you with that much-needed love, understanding or attention now.

Kelsey explains this, writing: “I often get my clients to write a letter to their child self, whenever they were feeling most neglected or hurting as a kid. While not the same as receiving the love they should have had at the time, retroactively offering that care and compassion can be helpful in the healing process.

“Perhaps you experienced neglect as a child, didn’t receive the love you deserved, or you grew up surrounded by harmful messages and narratives. Whatever those old wounds may be, you still carry that younger child self with you today.

“There may be a part of you that still feels defined by those old pains. Writing a letter to that part of you, offering them the love they deserved at the time, can help you to reconnect to that inner child and help it to heal and integrate more fully into your adult self now.”

This may be a difficult subject to face, and the kind of thing that you just don’t know how to start. So it’s helpful and reassuring that Kelsey gives some guidance on how to shape the letter, with steps to move through when writing it.

She recommends that you start by asking what your younger self needs to hear, before more specifically thinking about what love, care or messages did you need that wasn’t provided and to offer that now? In the ultimate act of compassion, Kelsey asks that you tell your younger self that you can see how they are hurting and then remind them that you are here for them now. 

Although our childhood years are incredibly important and formative, it’s also important to remind yourself of how far you’ve come as an adult by looking back to where you were 10 years ago, and think about all the ways you’ve changed and improved. Would the person you were 10 years ago be pleased to know you got the job you have now? Or be excited to know how many friends they will make over the next decade? All of these things can help us deal with feelings of imposter syndrome and to appreciate ourselves more, too.

If you want to try writing a letter to yourself 10 years ago, follow these steps:

  • What does that version of you need to know?
  • What have you survived or accomplished since then?
  • What has changed?
  • What storms have you weathered?
  • What have you learned?
  • How have you grown?
  • What are you proud of?

The idea has had lots of positive feedback on social media so far, with many I Weigh followers agreeing what a beneficial exercise this can be.

“Letter writing really does work – can highly recommend,” commented one follower.

Another agreed: “Just reading through those questions brought up so many thoughts and feelings. I can’t wait to sit down and write these letters.”

January certainly seems to be a time that many of us feel inspired to make the most of the 12 months ahead, and what could be more important in doing this than investing in yourself?

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Images: Getty / Instagram 

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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