Written by: Matthew Sabatine
The following post/article represents only the views of the author and not everyone at Common Issues.
“A man never steps in the same river twice. For he is not the same man and it’s not the same river.” — Heraclitus
Are you the same person you were yesterday? What about a week ago? Maybe 3 months ago? 7 years ago?
The cells in the outermost layers of your epidermis are always being replaced through exfoliation. But every 7 years, all the cells in your body complete a full replacement cycle. Literally, every 7 years you are a different person, though you usually don’t feel that way, especially when you base your judgments of your present and future self on the past.
As we are in flux, so is our environment and the earth. Hence, Heraclitus’ poetic analogy. But as you tend to ignore and not feel the constant changes, you should really consider the possibility that you may have improved more than you think over the days, months, and years.
Take some time to congratulate yourself on your successes by writing letters to your future self. You can pick any point in the future when you would like to read it to yourself.
Are you battling against confidence issues and need to extinguish them somewhat fast? Write a letter to yourself 1 or 2 months from now. If you are curious enough about your unwitting progress, doing this might give you more motivation to conquer bad habits, such as negative self-talk, more efficiently.
Considering the intrinsic uncertainties of our existence, we are inclined to question, “What is my purpose? Do the people in my life truly care about me? Will I be in the same place where I am now in the next year or two? What if the effort and strain is not worthwhile if my attempts hardly suffice for making me excel?” The questions can be endless.
As we humans tend to focus on the negative aspects of life much more than the positive aspects, we are often inclined to not realize how much our confidence levels may have been amended throughout time. Do you truly think you have the same lack of confidence you had 10 years ago, 5 years ago, or even 1 year ago? When looking back on your former disquieted, jittery, and apprehensive self, you may discover that version of you to be so distant and unfamiliar, even though many would say that person was no more or less you than, well, you. Later, at some point you may look back on this current date and feel similarly to how you feel about yourself today.
Your letter to your future self doesn’t have to be in essay-form. Don’t criticize yourself for not being such a great writer, but be creative and poetic if you are feeling that vibe.
I just started this today. I wrote to myself a year from now. Here it is:
Love who you are. Embrace yourself. Don’t fret over and dwell on the stupid and critical things others say about you if they can’t help you enhance yourself. Only worry about the criticisms of those who write your paychecks and determine your vocational fate. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with a woman you are truly attracted to. Don’t be afraid to approach a woman you desire strongly. If she rejects you, there will be plenty of others. Once you finally get a woman who says anything critical about you, don’t think the relationship is inching closer to its end or that she loves you less than before. Allow yourself to love whoever genuinely wants to love you and don’t cavil and nitpick at the things that don’t essentially matter. Today, you may be suffering with emotional and physical symptoms of depression. But you should feel better if you go to bed and wake up at the same times, stop eating so shortly before bed, and exercise regularly. Are you still prescribed Wellbutrin for your depression? Are you using more or less vitamin supplements than before? Have you had enough checkups with the doctor in the past year? Are you still at the same workplace? Do you still have bosses and coworkers who annoy and berate you or have those people faded into the background?
Your letter does not need to contain the same personal matters as mine. Talk about whatever is ailing you, keeping you optimistic and constructive, and keeping you engaged. Talk about your state of affairs and your mood. What are you struggling with now? What do you want to stop doing, start doing, or continue doing?
You owe it to yourself to work zealously on your goals and your vision. If you can’t fulfill them by the deadline at which you must read your letter, you can at least look back and see how much closer you have come to making your achievements. Not yet getting the prize doesn’t mean progress is absent. It just means you need a little more time.
About the author: Matthew is interested in discussing social psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, sociology, human biology and anatomy, mental health disorders, philosophy, the psychology of religion, and the history of religion. Matthew loves his friends, his family, and his dog named Sampson. You can contact Matthew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclosure statement: I am not a licensed therapist nor doctor. My intention is to not pretend to be either. The information contained in this article is not meant to be accepted instead of a doctor or licensed therapist’s advice. All information contained herein is based on my interpretation of the books and articles I read. My hope and desire is that any troubled person reading this would feel encouraged to get help from a licensed practitioner.