A Letter to Yourself
It has been a long couple of weeks. You’ve been working fourteen hours a day, Saturdays, too, trying to get a proposal out the door. Your boss, Gunther, seems perfectly oblivious to the amount of time you’re putting in and the engineers whose stilted prose you’re editing into a polished document want to argue about every change. You’ve been slipping out of work at 5:00 three days a week so you can go to Jeremy’s soccer practice then going back afterwards. When you tried to give him a little help from the sidelines … Pass the ball, Jer, don’t dribble so much … he gave you one of his looks then pouted for the rest of practice. When your wife, Suzie, said, He’s had a long day. Go easy on him, you snapped at her. Today, you went off to work without a goodbye from either one of them and Gunther’s waiting in your office with a list of mandatory suggestions for your proposal. If someone doesn’t appreciate you soon, you may do something worse than snap at your wife. So, let me ask you. Who knows better how hard you’ve been working or all the extra things you’ve been doing to make this proposal a winner? Who knows how exhausting it is to go to that soccer field then trudge back into work at night? Who knows exactly what you need to hear? It ain’t Gunther, that’s for sure, although he usually comes through at raise time. And once she gets over being mad, Suzie will probably apologize and say something like, I know you’re working hard … but it’s not enough. Nope. Only one person knows exactly what to say. It’s time for A Letter to Yourself.
The writing website, Writing Through Life, suggests writing letters to yourself as an effective means of journaling. In an article titled, Journal Writing Tips: Writing a Letter to Yourself, Amber Starfire offers several suggestions:
- Write a letter to yourself to be opened 6 months from today. In that letter, address all your current worries and concerns.
- Pretend that you are in the future, old and wise. Now write a letter from that old, wise you to the present you. What advice does the wise you have for the you of today?
- Write a letter to yourself about things — memorable and funny — that you want to remember in the future. Write that letter as if you are telling a friend about these things. Date it to be read 2-5 years in the future.
Those are great ideas but you need something NOW. So, as the old song says, Sit right down and write yourself a letter. Start it, Dear Bud. Use your own name, of course. Say, I know you’ve been working really hard, especially working with your colleagues to make their inputs read like English. I know Gunther’s an ass sometimes. I know how difficult these proposals are and appreciate how hard you work to make them winners. You’re a really good Dad to take the time to go to Jemery’s practice and Suzie really loves you. She’s working hard, too. I just want you to know you’re appreciated. Then comes the finishing touch … Love, Bud. Yeah, use your own name.
Now, don’t just leave it in a journal. As a minimum, email it to yourself. If you want, you can go to futureme.org and write an email to yourself and set the date and time you want it delivered. I like that. Better yet, write it out longhand … maybe on nice stationary (do they make that anymore?) and put it in an envelope. Put a stamp on it and mail it to yourself. As Amber Starfire says, You’ll be amazed at how wonderful it is to receive a letter from yourself in the mail.
Try it. It works.