Have you ever left something unsaid or lost an opportunity to tell someone how you really felt? Or maybe it was it too difficult to tell someone how you really felt. We’ve all been there.
A powerful tool that can help ease your pent-up anger, pain, or frustration is simply writing a self care letter. You can write a letter that you never send, rip into shreds, or even burn after writing it. Therapeutic letter writing can be helpful for oh so many reasons.
What are self care letters?
Self care letters are simply letters you write to yourself, or others, that allow you to process through your feelings.
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 without any inhibitions, how you truly feel about someone or a situation.
For example, 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 a reflection of me. I am happier and better off without you.”
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.
Self care love letters:
One type is a self care love letter to yourself, where you express positive affirmations like “I am enough. I love myself deeply”. The intention behind this type letter is to build up your mood, 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, and allows us to reflect on how we can develop our personal relationship with ourselves further.
Letters to let go:
Another type of letter is letting go of negative emotions you’re holding on to. This could be anger, hurt, sadness, grief, or anything you’re feeling. Maybe this letter is addressed to you, or someone else, but the goal of this type of letter is get it all out, so you can move on.
It’s alright to get angry in your letters – be as angry as you can, as this might allow you to get the thoughts out of your head and to take some action with them. If you’re feeling calm and centered enough, 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.” Writing a letter to yourself as a form of self care is something that requires honesty with yourself, allowing yourself to fully feel how you feel, without reservations.
How do I write a self care letter?
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.
To help you work through difficult emotions, 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.