If you are a member of the WIP Girl community following January’s free self love calendar guide, you know that today is this month’s “lost letter challenge.” And yes, you are probably wondering what the heck that is. So if you are a WIP girl and are reading this to learn more – awesome.. and if you aren’t yet a WIP Girl – 1: Join because it’s free. And 2: Do the lost letters challenge. It’s super healing.

The Idea behind the Lost Letters Challenge

Every so often, when I think back to the girl I once was (the girl I often think about when I write on the What is Perfection Blog) I get overcome with a sense of sadness. I remember the things I used to struggle with, the obstacles I faced, and the challenges that really kept me from feeling fulfilled for a very long time in my life.

I think about my  past unhealthy abusive relationships…

The sexual assault that happened when I was 13 and the raped that happened my first year of college…

I think about the friends I have lost, the fights, the loneliness I experienced.

That feeling like “no one understands me.”

The battles I faced with depression and anxiety.. My suicide attempt.

It’s all a lot of heavy shit… and it feels heavy looking at that list of challenges one right after the other, doesn’t it?

I am not that girl anymore.

Which is probably why I feel so completely comfortable opening up and talking about all of those things to you girls… Because I am fully healed, happy, and full of self love. Things I thought were truly impossible back then then when I was struggling. Now I use my past to help other people get off the path of unhappiness. And I take pride in everything I have overcome to be able to do that today.

But still…

There are times when I think about the old me, and I just want to go back and hug her… comfort her… tell her things that she needs to know about how wonderful and bright the future is.

I wish the me I am now could be there for the Me I used to be.  

And I am sure, for the girls out there struggling with difficult life experiences, they wonder what the future holds for them – and sure, a lot of them feel like what they want is impossible (much like I did back then.)

It would be nice to just press a button and see the future – because if the future was great, it would inspire us to feel hopeful and determined… not stuck and lost in our lives.

The truth is you can have anything you want for yourself. 

And when it feels impossible, sometimes you need to instill that sense of certainty… and fight the “it will never get better” feelings.

That’s where the Lost Letters exercise comes in. 

Writing the Lost Letter

Early on at the very beginning of my self love healing process, when I was putting my life back together (those messy beginning months) I was still caring that sense of uncertainty. I felt like I wasn’t sure I could put my life back together. It felt like I was a little hamster on a wheel trying so desperately to find a way out. But at the same time, I wasn’t truly confident things would get better.

It wasn’t easy to “fake it till I made it,” all the time.

Somewhere along the way I had an idea.

“If I could just imagine the version of myself I want to be… the things I have, the amazing life I live, the love I experience every day in my life.. If I can get really clear about that… maybe I will be able to feel hopeful enough to keep pushing through this,” I thought.

So I got out a pen and paper and wrote a letter.

I pretended that the person writing it was the future me. She had her beautiful sense of confidence. Her life was happy. Her dreams came true. She felt constantly fulfilled and full of love.

I became a comfort and strength for my own self. It was incredibly healing.

There I was, the future me – with my life totally together, happy, and with everything I ever wanted.

It completely changed my outlook and restored that feeling of hope I was desperately in need of at the time.

I found it incredibly healing. To this day, lost letters is one of the strategies I offer to clients who are  learning how to overcome fear, and I decided it was time I share the reflection process with everyone out there who follows this blog.

The Challenge: Write a letter from the future you, to the you that you are now.

-What would you want the present you to know about the amazing future ahead?

-Use your imagination and pretend you are a wise incredibly beautiful version of you… what would you want to say to the you now?

-inspire her, motivate her, comfort her, encourage her. Tell her everything she needs to hear in order to make her way through whatever it is she is facing.

And today, here’s a little glimpse of my old letter.. circa 2012. 

“Dear Lauren: 

I hope you get this at the time in your life when you need it the most. There may be times where you find yourself longing for a reminder of these words.. so keep this letter close. 

You may feel alone right now, but there is a reason for that: this is the part of the journey of life where you become the person you have always wanted to be. This is the moment where you will learn and discover things about yourself that you never knew were possible. It is the time when you find strength, determination, and the meaning of true happiness in your life. And as hard as being alone might feel right know, just know – that this is the part of your life where you need to be alone so you can transform into that amazing wonderful you that has been missing your love and attention all these years. 

You have been neglecting yourself. You are at this cross roads because you have spent so much time trying to fill a void in your life with all things exterior – relationships, money, physical appearance – the superficial. You have never learned to love yourself. And that is where you are now.. about to embark on that journey. 

It may seem hard to be alone… it may seem scary. But it is not without reason. The reason is because for the first time in your life you are going to have this incredible opportunity to learn how to love yourself RIGHT NOW. It will be the most amazing experience. Don’t be afraid to stand tall by yourself.. invest in who you are and what makes you happy.. start definition your worth so others will see how great you are. Soon you will inspire them to do the same. 

The future you is not sad. The future you feels beautiful, confident, connected. She is not lost.. she is not scared.. she is not alone. That will happen. 

You have lost these unhealthy relationships in your life because they aren’t serving you.. soon you will find amazing new ones that are full of love and respect  — because you will learn how to respect yourself and raise your standards. 

You feel lost and without purpose because soon you are going to take big scary leaps of faith that will bring you closer to discovering the amazing you that was inside you all along. 

You will let go of all those “never enough feelings” soon.. I promise.. you only feel them because you have never learned to feel anything else. This is the part where you learn different. 

Don’t ever give up. Remember… everything you want is straight ahead.. Just keep pushing.. keep fighting.. and keep believing that you deserve it.”