Dear Gillian: Letter From the Future You

I read a very special letter today; a letter that I wrote to my future self quite some time ago. In this letter, I remind myself to give myself permission and freedom. I remind myself just how far I have come.
I remind myself of the gratitude I owe and the appreciation and acknowledgement that I deserve.
I remind myself that there is power and wisdom in welcoming the unsaid, the vulnerable, the uncomfortable with love and without judgement.
I remind myself to stay humble, connected, empowered and empowering.

The current state of the world we find ourselves in is rather ‘interesting’ right now to say the least. There are so many possibilities, so many uncertainties, so many reasons for celebration and so much potential for fear.

As I observe the uncertainty within myself and in the world around me, I find comfort, certainty and wisdom in this letter from the past that feels so wonderfully relevant to me today, yet lay forgotten in my drawer. Not because I can predict the future and have all the answers ready, but because I connect back to what is most important for me. It grounds me and brings me back to who I am, what I need to keep my eyes open and focused and reminds me of my ability to find the learning in times of vulnerability and fear.

My invitation to you is to write a letter in the next week to your post COVID-19 self; you in 6 months from now. Write as you would to motivate a very dear friend or family member.

You can begin your letter like this: Date: 6 months from today

My dear ‘your name’,

You have come so far since COVID-19 became a global reality. (Give appreciation and space for what you have achieved, learned, realised etc.)

I was particularly impressed by how you / by your…

Now continue your letter of appreciation to your future self. Here are some ideas:

  • Place yourself in the future looking back on all the challenges you overcame and the insights and learning that happened for you during this time as if they are behind you.
  • Tell the story of what ‘has’ happened to you on all levels by the date on your letter.
  • You can add specific challenges and successes you encountered, although I am especially interested in the person you will have become by then. Some ideas include:
    • What has been allowed to change, shine and grow?
    • What did you discover about yourself, partnerships and life in general that helped you?
    • What changed in your old narrative, beliefs, patterns, expectations and outcomes?
    • Where were you particularly courageous?
    • What did you stop or start or start doing more or less of?
    • What is particularly different about the various parts of your life now?
    • Who are you particularly grateful to?
    • Which areas of your life are you now happier, more successful or more confident in?
    • What has improved about your relationships?
    • What, about who you are now, has positively influenced others and how?

It’s time to take a trip forwards in time, get creative and really feel your positive attitude to coming out of ‘lockdown’ in a better place than you went in. It will take time, creativity and positivity to write, but keep your thoughts to coming out of this with more than you went in.

When I wrote my letter, I gave it to a friend in a stamped, addressed envelope and asked them to post it to me 6 months later. I was genuinely surprised and delighted to receive it. I’d almost forgotten all about it! That isn’t so easy right now, but there are some websites that offer exactly this service-who would’ve thought it?! I haven’t tried them myself, but I have it on good authority that FutureMe and This Next Year will send your message back to you at a given point in the future. Check it out and let me know how it works. Perhaps you know of other services out there? Please share them if so.

kubler-ross-model

I shared the Kübler-Ross Grief (or Change) Curve in my last blog, ‘May You Live in Interesting Times’, and a colleague of mine pointed out that the last column should include ‘Gratitude’ as we all feel some form of appreciation for the lessons that difficult situations have taught us and, even though we can often only manage this state with hindsight, it is a crucial stage for our personal development. How true! Thank you Jill Székely!

The real point of writing this letter to your future self is that you come out of this pandemic with a feeling of gratitude and appreciation for what you were able to make of- and learn from the situation. We can’t control the entire world, but we can start with ourselves.

Dig deep.

I’m looking forward to celebrating your Lockdown-Learnings with you!

Gillian

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