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This week I was reminded about one of the practices of one of my favorite speakers/authors Elizabeth Gilbert. When she appeared on the Oprah show discussing her book, Eat Pray Love, she talks about writing a love letter to herself from the perspective of a dear friend (in the spirit of we talk nicer to our dear friends then we do to ourselves). She engaged in this practice when she was feeling particularly anxious and stressed, specifically during her divorce.
First off, a small rant that when I am feeling anxious and stressed and I stop and breathe and say out loud the messages that I am hammering myself with I am constantly amazed!! If we don’t stop and breathe and listen, Fear Monger messages just play there on and on like our personal negative record player (or iPod if I am going to be hip). When they go unchecked, they are brutal and relentless and can do serious damage to our goals, dreams, and passions. They keep us safely stuck. And 99% of the time they are based on nothing, irrational beliefs that are there to protect me against old wounds (many that have since been healed) and past tapes of relationships long gone. So regardless of engaging in the letter writing, pay attention to when you are feeling particularly anxious, unfocused, angry and notice what is quietly playing there. End of rant.
So writing a letter to yourself. I admit it sounds hokey and I also admit I have given this assignment to clients only to be met with a blank stare or a “yeah, great idea” knowing they will never complete it. But it is an amazing exercise in self-love. To talk to yourself in the voice of a friend is so foreign to us and so welcomed. When we are going through a transition, feeling stuck and scared, the fear mongers can be relentless. So it is important to remind ourselves in a loving, caring voice that yes, it will be ok, you are a lot stronger than you think, you are a dynamic, caring insightful human being. When I am feeling particularly scared, and the fear monger is taking up WAY too much space in my mind, I will pull out a piece of paper. On one side I will write everything the fear monger is saying just to get it out of my mind. On the other side, I will write what a dear friend would say to me. I write a few sentences or a long letter. I write loving, caring supportive words. I remind myself that no I am not all the things my fear monger is telling me and yes I am capable of more than I ever thought possible.
So today I encourage you to write a love letter to yourself. Even if the fear monger isn’t coming living rent free in your head, write it any way we always need to give ourselves more love and appreciation.