Years ago, during a time of great confusion in my life, a kind mentor advised me to write a letter to myself because I felt lost and was unsure how to make a major decision.
‘Write a letter to yourself,’ she said. ‘Just go somewhere where you feel safe and won’t be disturbed, then write by hand (no computer allowed), “Dear Lucy, What do you want?” then write until you can write no more. Don’t edit as you go. Just write.’
That first letter helped me gain so much clarity about my life and what I wanted. I’ve also used this technique several times since then when I’ve been unsure of how I wished to move forward.
I’ve also shared this process (and a few others) with my clients and friends over the years because I know how powerful it is. Writing a letter to yourself allows you to articulate what you want.
This idea of allowing yourself to openly ‘want’ things has been coming up in a few of my conversations recently. So many of us seem to struggle with ‘wanting’. For some reason, we often don’t think it’s okay to want the things we truly desire. Comments range from ‘I don’t want to want too much’ to ‘I don’t know what I want’. Other times when asked, ‘What do you want?’ we simply respond with a blank frozen look because we don’t feel brave enough to speak our truth or we haven’t given ourselves permission to acknowledge what we want…even to ourselves.
We will get in our own way a hundred times to avoid saying and claiming what we want. And I have definitely been guilty of this myself, many times in my life.
Sometimes we worry that others might laugh at what we want or worse, they might think we’re ‘getting too big for our boots’. We may even think we’re not worthy of that thing so we’ll decide it’s best to not even admit to ourselves. Or maybe that thing will disrupt our lives so we decide to play along with things as they are while becoming more and more dissatisfied with each passing day, month and year. We will stumble along trying to make things work that never quite come together and we always feel like something is missing.
But, let’s face it. This is not a recipe for a fulfilling life. So, for those of you who are hiding from your ‘want’ or trying to uncover it, might I suggest a letter-writing activity is in order? It always help me get clarity when I’m struggling and I know it will help you too.
You don’t have to tell anyone about it. It’s just for you and it’s no one else’s business. But you will find that one letter will help you see what you really want. That will be the first step towards articulating aloud and then claiming the very things that will make your heart sing.
So stop running away from your want and you might even find you can have it.