Stop Talking to Your Younger Self

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Coaches do this nifty exercise where they ask you to write a letter to your younger self; in theory, it sounds quaint.

The more I think about it, the more I am against it.

Let’s talk about why.

I always imagined giving my younger self a pep talk about life.

I would share with her about how the next few decades would be full of experiences that challenge your will to live. That those friends who were friends never deserved unconditional loyalty.

And how those entrepreneurial ideas would serve as both a blessing and a curse.

I would go back to the sixteen-year-old who was so angry, emo, and poetic and tell her to stop resonating with Sylvia Plath. I would encourage her to show up for classes and be more diligent about preserving her writing. I would also tell her that moving to Orlando during her senior year would be a decision she’d come to resent.

Here’s the thing about my sixteen-year-old self. She wouldn’t give two rat’s ass about my advice. She would look at me and wonder what kind of time-shifting Brujeria I was into.

She wouldn’t listen.

She’s made her choices and I’m ok with how they’ve positioned me to be right where I am now. Even if I couldn’t make different choices, I can also imagine those different outcomes wouldn’t necessarily put me on a better path.

Wouldn’t it be wiser to write a letter to my future self?

The one who will listen and be grateful for the consideration?

The one who has the most potential to be impacted by my words?

Every time I go through old files, I get excited. It’s like a gift from the past. I’ve rediscovered writing samples, poems, journal entries, program ideas, potential book drafts, and old graphic design templates.

I’m so much more present when looking at who I used to be and I can only imagine the kind of impact I would have on my future self with wisdom from today.

I remember that one summer when I batched six months of newsletters in one sitting. As I would read my own newsletters, I was impressed by how messages I’ve written were still relevant months later.

Now imagine writing yourself a letter to future YOU?

What’s awesome is we have the technology to schedule these letters to ourselves.

You can write an email using Gmail and select the “schedule send” option so it goes to you at a later date.

If you use an email marketing platform such as ConvertKit or Mailchimp, you can send yourself a letter that way.

If you use Substack, write a post and schedule it for several weeks or months in advance.

The lesson here is that we have a choice – to overthink what we could have done in our past or impact a future decision with words of wisdom from today.