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How to Talk to Your Future Self to Change Your Life

How to Talk to Your Future Self to Change Your Life

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.

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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?[1]” 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.

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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.

Need some inspiration? Here is a list of 10 Best Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life.

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.

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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.

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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.

The Bottom Line

The way you speak to yourself now is so vital to who you become in the future. As our own being, we play different roles – we have to be our own cheerleader when we hit certain walls, we have to play our own parent to take care of our physical and emotional well-being, and we even play the role as our own lover as we learn to love ourselves completely.

As we switch from role to role, it may get taxing and our conversations may turn negative. Sometimes those negative and harsh conversations never leave.

By finding a mentor to have as guidance, visualizing the ideal version of the future you, and even writing letters from different perspectives are all ways you can learn to change the current conversations you carry with yourself.

More About Living Your Best Life

Featured photo credit: Eliot J. via unsplash.com

Reference

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Akina Chargualaf

Akina Chargualaf is an entrepreneur, writer, and the content creator of travel and personal development blog Finding Fifth.

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Last Updated on October 14, 2020

This Is How Mentally Strong People Deal With Guilt

This Is How Mentally Strong People Deal With Guilt

Everyone feels guilty sometimes. Guilt is a common cognitive or emotional state that stems from the perception of ones own wrong doing or inaction, whether that observation is accurate or not.

A person feels guilty if they think they have done something that goes against their own values or violates the moral guidelines of the people around them. In a time when information is abundant and we are constantly bombarded with ideas telling us how we should be living our lives, it can be difficult to navigate our own desires and rationality.

We feel guilty about what we eat, our appearance, how we conduct our relationships and how we raise our children. We compare ourselves to others more frequently than we should, because we are overwhelmed by immense diversity through mass, mainstream and social media.

It is easy to feel inadequate and ashamed.

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We over-scrutinize ourselves and our lives. The more we seek out information to guide us, the more incredulous and confused we become. We are now connected globally to how people live around the world. Not only are we starkly aware of our own privilege, we are also faced daily with the devastation and injustice that is experienced by others. It can make us feel powerless.

Guilt can have a negative impact on our emotional, psychological and physical well being.

Feelings of guilt can sometimes stem from childhood and they are so ingrained in us that we don’t even notice they are there. It can cause us to feel undeserving of success or happiness, often leading to behavior of self sabotage and mediocrity. It can make us prone to living vicariously through others instead of allowing us to be the truest and strongest version of ourselves. It can damage our relationship with our physical body by warping how we consume food, how we indulge in destructive habits and whether or not we take calculated risks. It can limit every aspect of how we live our lives, tainting it with dysfunctional patterns and habits that are hard to recognize let alone break. Even our physical posture can be connected to feelings of guilt. How we hold ourselves is indicative and a result of our truest feelings about ourselves.

It takes a lot of mental strength and tenacity to overcome guilt.

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We must accept that it is a natural and common human emotion that we don’t have to eliminate. In fact, we should instead embrace its presence and use it as a tool for helping us to evolve and grow. The lessons we obtain from guilt can drive us to become better people; to raise better children and to change the world in progressive and positive ways.

So, how do mentally strong people deal with guilt?

1. Reflection rather than regret

Instead of wallowing in negative feelings and living defensively, we can become more assertive about recognizing when we are feeling guilty and why. We can become mentally stronger by addressing the issue and dealing with it rationally to use it to our advantage.

2. Discernment

A common saying these days is ‘first world problems’. In other words, sometimes we focus on trivial things that in the broader scope of our existence are really not that important compared to the tribulations of others. They are sources of discomfort that our survival is not dependent on. We need to be discerning about the things that make us feel guilty. Of course they are important to us personally, but we need to ask ourselves if they are a matter of life and death. Furthermore, we need to source information to help us understand our feelings. We can talk to others; friends, family or even a paid therapist. We can read and research. In this instance too, we need to discern what information is genuine and legitimate; and what is only perpetuating our guilt.

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3. Self determination

Once we know what is making us feel guilty and why, we then need to decide how we really feel about the matter, using all the information we have available to us. Then it is a question of commitment. We need to be mentally strong and confident enough to follow through with our own path without looking back. There is no point sitting on the fence or making a half hearted effort to console our feelings of guilt. Once we know what the source is and have established a course of action, the only way is to go forward.

4. Change

We must be willing to admit that we were wrong. Not only in the behavior that caused the original feelings of guilt, but sometimes in the solutions we have engaged in. Then we must embrace change. We should be willing to not only change our behavior, but also our minds. We don’t have to prove anything to anyone. We only need to be true to ourselves. Having the flexibility and tenacity to welcome change in our lives takes a lot of mental strength and courage. It also takes practice. Some people are confused by this because it appears hypocritical or contradictory. What they don’t understand is that to be truly strong we need to be malleable. We need to be willing to take on new information and allow a transformation, FOR THE BETTER, to occur.

5. Learn

Learning occurs when we acquire new experiences and information and allow it to alter our consciousness. The only way to learn is to make mistakes and to become familiar with negative emotions. The more we ignore life’s lessons and bury feelings of guilt, shame and inadequacy, the stronger and more destructive they become. We should never ignore guilt. We just need to practice understanding it. The more we do this, the better we become at dealing with it.

6. Forgive

A by product of experiencing guilt is to learn forgiveness. We don’t forgive others for hurting or pressuring us for their sake, we do it for ours. When we better understand where feelings of guilt stem from and how they influence our lives, we start to have more strength and space to practice empathy. We can imagine ourselves in the same situation as the people who have wronged us and make sense of their behavior and its impact on our psyche. Once we see things from their perspective, we can forgive them and in the process free ourselves from resentment. We can also get better at forgiving ourselves. Guilt is fundamentally a misunderstanding we have with ourselves. Once we understand our response to certain situations and why we act the way we do, we no longer punish ourselves; we make peace and find acceptance.

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7. Move on

The whole point to understanding guilt and knowing how to process it is to help us to move forward. When we don’t, we get stuck in the same old ways. We can’t expect to achieve a different result if we don’t ever change the manner in which we do things. Reflecting upon the origin of our guilt feelings, becoming more empathetic to others and toward ourselves, committing to change and learning and becoming more self aware will allow us to face life’s difficulties with enthusiasm and resilience.

Featured photo credit: http://www.lizataitbailey.com/2015/11/what-to-do-when-youre-feeling-guilty.html via lizataitbailey.com

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