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My Breakthrough Moment: Writing a Letter to My Younger Self
If you’ve ever sat down to write a letter when you’re mad or upset, you know the experience can be cathartic. It’s the same when you address the letter to yourself — your younger self.
Don’t let the past control your present. If you hold onto things that upset you — even something you’ve done to yourself — it can create a cloud of negativity that follows you around for years.
Instead, face the past head-on with a letter to your younger self, just like mine below.
A Letter to My Younger Self
You’re a full-fledged adult now, can you believe it? At 15, you wanted the years to fly by. Now, I just wish they would slow down.
It’s not all bad. Being an adult, and all of the freedom that comes with it, is even better than you imagined. The ability to make a pizza at 3 a.m. without mom asking what you’re doing. Heading off on road trips with your husband. Setting your own schedule to do what you want, when you want. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
There are some things I wish you would have done differently, though. If only you had known then what you know now. That’s why I’m writing to you!
You don’t know it yet, but after you graduated and moved out of mom and dad’s, you struggled to find my place in the world. You bounced from dead-end job to dead-end job. You felt unsatisfied with life. Then, when you started blogging, you finally felt a sense of satisfaction — accomplishment. It took a long time to get there, though.
Be serious about school. It may not seem like a big deal now, but it will later. Listen to your teachers, strive for good grades, study for the SATs and get into a good college. It will make things easier, I promise. Education is how you challenge your thinking and become a better person.
It was in college that you learned more about meat production. It’s where you decided to give up eating meat. It’s been a great decision, and you feel healthier every day for having done so.
I don’t hold my past decisions against myself — don’t worry, you can keep the bacon for now — but I wish there were some other things I had known. Maybe if you would have changed majors, you would have been a little happier? (We both know you love writing poetry, but were too afraid to do anything about it!)
Now, you have a career you love and write poetry as much as you like – just not professionally. Who knows, maybe you’ll get there!
Though you probably should have done some things differently (i.e. branched out more and joined a few clubs and organizations), you’re right where you need to be now.
Don’t give up, even when you feel like you should. Life gets a whole lot better.
How to write your own letter
If you want to write a letter, you may not know where to start. To get a sense of what you want to get out of the letter, start with a simple goal. Maybe you want use the letter as a topic for a college essay. If this is the case, jot down some key areas you wish to address in your letter to get an idea of what points to talk about.
You may not even know what you want from the letter, and that’s okay, too. Just write!
I wanted to confront my mistakes, so I wrote about what bothered me, what I wish I had done, and where I ended up in life.
Doing this felt sort of like a diary, but because I directed the letter towards a more naïve, younger version of myself, it was easier than I thought.
After writing my letter, I felt a sense of clarity like never before. Almost like my life flashed before my eyes, though less dramatic.
The process meant I had to be honest with myself. What’s the point of writing a letter made for someone else to read? Dig out the heavy stuff.
Who can you get personal with, if not yourself?
If you plan to write your own letter, it’s crucial to detect self-deception — when you lie to yourself.
It can be easy to believe your own lies
We all want to paint ourselves and our past actions in the best light, even when it’s far from the truth. However, real growth comes from brutal honesty. Here’s how writing your letter will open things up for you: