These days, writing a letter to yourself is a common pastime used to make sense of the present and peace with the past. School children are encouraged to write letters to their future selves and therapists assign self-writing to adults as a helpful method of resolving heavy feelings. 

For you, however, writing letters in a journal serves a different purpose: memorializing essential memories helping preserve moments that would otherwise fade with time. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through the top five letters to write to yourself in your personal journal as well as explain some of the benefits of each. 

Let’s jump right in:



Letter #1: A Love Letter

We all enjoy receiving love letters, but we rarely consider writing one to ourselves. 

For the love letter you’ll be writing, you’ll focus more on specific scenarios where you felt very happy and content with yourself than general traits. This letter can be as long or short as you want it to be and can include a single situation or multiple memories where you notice those positive feelings. 

By writing this type of letter, not only do you refresh those experiences and cultivate feelings of security and love toward yourself, but you also bring back those situations where you remember having those feelings, encapsulating them in the pages of your journal for you to read and remember time after time.

Letters #2 and #3: A Pre- and Post-Letter

Okay, so technically this is two letters… but we simply couldn’t leave it out! 

With pre- and post-letters, your writing will center on a specific event that you are nervous, uncertain, or excited about. By writing these letters, you can capture that feeling of excitement permanently, or work to dispel the nervousness that might be holding you back from truly enjoying yourself.

To get started with these letters, begin by writing the “pre” letter. In this session, you’ll write to your future self about the events to come, what you expect from them, and why you feel the way you do. Include gains that you think you’ll get from the situation, such as new friends or new knowledge. Be honest to yourself as well about the feelings you have, such as anxiety or trepidation. This will help you process your thoughts and get past them.



Then, once the event in question has concluded, you’ll write yourself the “post” letter. This letter will take the form of a reply to the letter you wrote before. You can include some passages that comfort your past self, or simply explain how your past expectations were right or wrong. Doing this will both help you to memorialize the event forever, as well as help you process the knowledge and growth that you acquired during that time.

Letter #4: An Apology Letter

We all have things we regret—some of us more than others. Regardless of how much negative emotion you carry, though, everyone can benefit from writing themselves an apology letter. 

In a letter like this, you focus on the things you’d like to apologize to yourself for. By doing this, you can process negative emotions that may be clouding your judgment or keeping you from moving on to bigger and better things. 

The goal of this letter is not to be hard on yourself, but rather to accept responsibility for the shortcomings you’ve had in the past and acknowledge that you will work to be better. 

Letter #5: A Letter to a Stranger

For our last letter in this list, you will act like you’re writing to a complete stranger about yourself and your life. As you write, consider things that you would tell a stranger such as your hobbies and interests, fond memories, or knowledge you have about your favorite subjects. 

When this letter is finished, tuck it away in your journal and forget about it for a while. After a few months, go back and reread it—you may be surprised at how much you’ve changed in such a short time.



Final Thoughts

Writing letters to ourselves can be a fun activity, but the benefits of doing so run so much deeper than simple enjoyment. By writing letters to our future selves, we come to know our present selves that much better. 

Doing this also locks in key memories that you never want to forget. 10 months from now, you might not remember how a barista at a coffee shop complimented your hair and made your entire day better, but when you read about it happening in your journal after the same length of time, we promise you’ll find yourself smiling. 

And is there anything more important than a smile? 


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