By Carol Floyd Bailey, Certified WRAP Facilitator
I recently received an email newsletter from one of my favorite authors, Cheryl Richardson. She wrote about writing love letters to herself that would lift her spirits if she was feeling low. In the letter she used as an example; she started out with “Dear Sweetheart.” I just loved that!
When I have the blues, I would love it if someone would call me sweetheart. I decided that writing myself a cheer-up letter would be terrific idea. I was surprised at how easy it was to lift my own enthusiasm levels in a letter to myself. Even the act of writing this letter was uplifting, and just knowing it exists has become a major wellness tool for me. I put it in my desk drawer where I can easily find it. Just knowing it is there is very comforting.
If you decide to write a letter to yourself, you can approach it any way you want. You can begin it by using your own name or a term of endearment. You might be surprised at how easily the words flow. Here are some excerpts from my “Dear Sweetheart” letter.
I know you’re having a tough time right now. It probably seems as if there’s no end to your blues. I know you can hardly remember the last time you felt happy and energetic. Your friends and family seem to have receded—or maybe it is you who has withdrawn.
I want you to know that you are loved dearly, even though that might seem unimaginable right now. Think seriously about what could make you feel better. I am going to say FUN, even though that is probably unthinkable to you right now. Fun will begin to revive you—a walk, a movie, reading something spiritually refreshing, calling a friend, and looking at your list of wellness tools in your Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP).
You live and breathe WRAP, which is a 100 percent salvation in your life. And what is your number one wellness tool? WRITING IN YOUR JOURNAL! The big deal turnaround power is yours for the taking! Spontaneously write out every little thing that is on your mind; blast those troubles onto the page! When you are through getting everything written down, ask yourself what you are going to do about this. Here is where the miracles happen because you answer yourself with all the wisdom of your life. The chance that this will be effective is almost 100 percent! When your dad died, you wrote it out and wrote it out, and comfort came. And you didn’t dive into deep grief ever. The sadness remains sometimes, but your gratitude for having your Paparoonio in your life—for your whole life—won out every single time.
What I am trying to point out to you, Carol, is that you are equipped to ride this out and come out on the other side. You have achieved this many times. You are your own best advocate. You know yourself inside and out. I know it is unsettling to be thrown for a loop like this. It is easy to forget that your life was never enshrouded in a gray fog. I assure you that the light at the end of the tunnel is not only real and will guide you, but it is representative of the light you are in this life.
If you decide you want to write a letter to yourself, I think you will be surprised at how easily the words will appear. It is a very empowering wellness tool, both as you write it and when you read it later. You might even want to give a copy to a family member or friend who can show it to you if they notice you are feeling low.
Happy letter writing!
Carol Bailey Floyd is a Retired Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator and Former Director of Programs, Mental Health Recovery and WRAP