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Emotions are difficult to process for most people. It can be hard to understand how you truly feel, regardless of whether your emotions are towards other people, towards yourself, or towards situations and events.
Writing a self-care letter is a therapeutic technique that is helpful in processing emotions and easing pent-up anger, pain, or frustration. Throughout this blog, we’ll explain how self-care letters work, the different types of letters that people commonly write, and a few helpful tips to get started.
What are self-care letters?
Self-care letters are simply letters you write to yourself, or others, that allow you to process your feelings. Similar to writing in a diary, the intention behind these letters is to get your feelings out of your head and down on paper. The type of letter, and what you do with it after you write it is entirely up to you. You can save your letters, write a letter that you never send, rip it into shreds, or even burn it after writing it.
The process of writing is quite different from thinking or talking. It’s a slower process, that allows you to engage your emotions as you think through and helps you bring together your thoughts. It’s especially cathartic because it allows you to share how you truly feel about someone or a situation without any inhibitions.
What types of letters can I write?
There are many types of self-care letters, and no wrong type of letter to write. We all experience many types of emotions and go through many different experiences. Some days you might need to release some pent-up negative feelings, while other days, you want to focus on healing and positivity. Writing a letter to yourself as a form of self-care is something that requires honesty, allowing yourself to fully feel how you feel, without reservations.
Here are a few popular types of letters to write:
Self-care love letters:
Write a love letter to yourself, where you express positive affirmations like “I am enough. I love myself deeply”. The intention behind this type of letter is to build up your mood, and self-compassion, and appreciate the things you’ve done and the life you’ve lived. This type of letter is excellent for those who struggle with being kind to themselves. It allows us to reflect on how we can develop our personal self-care and confidence in who we are.
Letters to let go:
Write a letter to let go of negative emotions. This could be anger, hurt, sadness, grief, or anything else you’re holding onto. Maybe this letter is addressed to yourself, or someone else, but the goal of this type of letter is to get it all out, so you can move on. Emotions play a key role in this type of letter.
If you’re angry, be as angry as you can, as this might allow you to get the thoughts out of your head and take action with them. For example, in writing a letter to your ex-partner who might have hurt you, you might write: “You ended our relationship in the worst way possible. How could you just drop out of my life, with no explanation, leaving me to guess what went wrong? I know that I deserved better than that, so what you did is a reflection of you, and your cowardice, not me. I am happier and better off without you.”
If you’re feeling calm and centered, you can write a response to your letters that soothes you, for example. “I am so sorry that I let you down, I just did not have the courage, to be honest with you, you know I have never been good at communicating. You did deserve better. I hope you can forgive me.”
Letters to your future self:
Write a letter addressed to your future self. Speak to your future self as you would speak to a close friend. Explain to yourself where you’re at in life, the things that you’re going through, and any other hopes and wishes for where you’ll be in the future when they read this letter again.
This type of letter can put a lot of things into perspective and show what’s truly important in your life. Whether you decide to save the letter for your future self or not, the wishes you have for your future can help you evaluate and process your current feelings and situations.
How do I write a self-care letter?
Here are some simple rules to follow if you decide to use this powerful healing tool:
- Find a quiet space to do your writing.
- Make sure your letters are kept in a private place, or destroy them in a safe manner after writing them.
- Make sure you give yourself time to calm and recentre yourself after letter writing. One way to do this is by spending a few minutes doing some deep breathing, for example, inhale for 4 and exhale for 4.
You may need to write several letters to the same person or around the same situation as your thoughts unfold and as your healing process goes on, which is a sign that you are making progress.
We’re here to help
If you’re having trouble writing letters or working through difficult emotions, we’re here to help. Focus Mental Wellness has many qualified and compassionate therapists who are able to offer a variety of solutions via video, phone, and even text therapy.