When I was seventeen, I wrote a heartfelt letter to myself to open on my eighteenth birthday. I recapped the events that unfolded during the year; the relationships I have strengthened, the friendships that have fallen out, the things I have come to accept and then the struggle of letting things go. I wrote down the fears and excitement of starting university, and how I thought things would unfold in the year to come.
I’ve carried this tradition every year since then. Some years the letters were five pages long; other times, they were three paragraphs. What doesn’t change is the hope that ends in every letter.
“I hope you have found what you were looking for.”
“I hope you crossed off things in your bucket list.”
“I hope this year was much better for you.”
The letters were always kind and loving, and it made me realize all the ways I didn’t talk to myself the other days of the year. Most times, I was cruel, unkind, and hard on myself.
We have daily conversations with ourselves, and it’s about becoming aware of those conversations and how to talk to your future self to change your life.
1. Use Writing as a Tool
Writing is an underrated tool. There’s a shift in power when you write things down, and also a way to purging your stream of consciousness.
We accumulate so many thoughts from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. Sometimes these thoughts turn into pent up frustrations or emotions that carry on to the next morning.
Here are some ways to use writing as a tool as a way to carry healthy conversations with your future self:
Write Letters to Your Future Self
Writing a letter to your future self is a way to paint and imagine the life you want. You fill these letters with hopes, dreams, and goals that you want to achieve. In order to do this, you must first let go of any restrictions you are facing in the present and truly believe the sky is the limit. This is a chance to look at your future self and determine who that person is.
The letter can be written to be opened in five years, a year, or even in a “case of emergency” – during those moments when you need a little reminder.
Remember to be honest and don’t hold back.
Write a Letter from Your Past-Self
I once asked myself, “What Would My Thirteen-Year-Old Self Say to Me Now?” It was a chance to switch perceptions go back to the moment I was most hopeful for my future. It was the moment when every dream was reachable and nothing in life was going to stop me from living my best life.
Sometimes, we need to go back to that inner child and look at the world from rose colored lenses. The older we become, the easier we let our own reality dictate your dreams and even take the steering wheel.
Write a letter to yourself from that inner child that still exists within you – that child who don’t want you to give up.
Write a List of Books and Authors You like Now
Keep a list of all your favorite passages from books and words of wisdom from your go-to authors. There’s a reason why we are drawn to certain texts, books, and worlds found between the pages. Let this list unleash your creativity and stir different emotions from within.
2. Find These 3 Types of People
A wise man had once told me to always have these 3 types of people in my life – a mentor, a colleague, and a mentee.
Find a Mentor
Having a great mentor can impact your life and your future self in unimaginable ways. But before you start your journey to finding a mentor, you must first get clear on what your goals are and what a good mentor looks like. It doesn’t only come down to the chemistry of the relationship, but also sharing personal values and finding someone willing to teach and offer you advice.
Find someone who is living the lifestyle you want and have accomplished the goals you want to achieve.
Find a Colleague
In addition to a mentor, you must have someone who is walking alongside with you on your journey; this person can be someone you can relate to, someone who is facing the same difficulties, or someone who shares a similar vision. Where would Harry Potter be without his friends Hermione and Ron? Would high school have been bareable if Cory Matthews didn’t have Shawn or Topanga?
Life isn’t meant to go about alone but in the company of others. Find a partner or a group who will push you and help you navigate the triumphs and trials of your journey.
Find a Mentee
Learning is a two-way street, and there is always an opportunity to learn from others – even from those who may be much younger or less experienced. Having a mentee is just as important as having a mentor and a colleague.
What is the point of carrying all the information in the world if there is no one to pass the knowledge to? By becoming a mentor yourself, you have the opportunity to see certain situations or circumstances from a different perspective. You learn to be compassionate by listening and supporting, all which can help you change the way you speak to your future self.
3. Role Play
Switch to a different role you play and you may perceive things differently.
Ask Yourself: What Would Your Future Self Do?
Our actions today matter and affect how we will be tomorrow and the day after. Ask yourself what your future self would do on a typical Tuesday? Here are some promoting questions:
- What did you have for breakfast this morning?
- Where are you working, and how do you feel about it?
- What book did you finish reading?
- What shampoo and conditioner are you using?
The little things like visualizing a shampoo brand or a book can help you paint a clearer picture while adding in a bit of character. By doing this, this visualization for yourself starts to feel more real.
Role Play as Your Archetype
If you haven’t yet taken the 16 Personalities test, now may be a great time to. The test is composed of several questions that determine your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Once the test is completed it will show you which of the 16 archetypes you may be based on your answers – Extrovert/Introvert, Sensors/Intuitives, Thinkers/Feelers, Judgers/Perceivers.
For example, I am an ENFP, also known as the Campaigner. I also share the same archetype as Robert Downey Jr. and Will Smith – two actors I admire for their quick wit and vibrant energy. One way to talk to your future self is looking deeper into your archetype and see if these qualities resonate with you. Then ask yourself, how you are currently portraying this archetype and what qualities do you admire in those who also share your archetype.