Dear Self: an exercise in speaking kindly, to ourselves!

How often do you take the time to appreciate the things around you? Do you tell your friends and family how much you love them?  Do you do the same thing for yourself?
If you’re like us, the answer is, probably not.
We can be so hard on ourselves- critical, demanding and impatient. We likely wouldn’t speak to anyone else we love in the same way we speak to ourselves sometimes. And we wouldn’t let anyone else point out all the negative things about us, to dwell on all our faults and pick us apart, yet we do it to ourselves all the time!
It’s time to start speak kindly to ourselves, to focus on the things that are great about us, what our strengths are.
We’re almost always taught to not brag or boast, we don’t want to get too big for our britches- sure. But recognizing and acknowledging what you love about yourself is an important step in finding out who you really are and feeling good about yourself.
So, we’ve got a challenging, but important exercise for you to try- write yourself a love letter.
Ick! I know, it sounds strange and uncomfortable and what on earth would you even say to yourself, anyway
But if those feelings came up just thinking of writing a letter to yourself, that’s exactly WHY it’s so important to do this exercise. It feels uncomfortable because you don’t speak kindly to yourself often enough. Perhaps you don’t remember your strengths and gifts in times of struggle. Perhaps you’re so used to focusing on all the things you DON’T like about yourself, your life, or current situation, that you’ve forgotten all the things you DO like.
This is an exercise in allowing ourselves to focus on positivity.
What would you write in a letter to someone you love, or admire? As a mom, what kind of letter would you write to your children about their gifts and possibilities in life? What would your letter to a friend say who’s been having a hard time, who is self-critical or doesn’t believe in their own strengths?
When we say “love letter”, we mean- write from that place of support, encouragement, and non-judgement. Write from the voice of an encouraging mama, a supportive friend, or a partner who knows everything about you and truly loves you. Go ahead and gush about what makes you special, what makes you unique, what you know, what you’ve learned. Tell yourself all the ways that you love and feel grateful for you.
It may be a struggle to get started with it- we both had a hard time with it ourselves- but once you get it down on paper, you may be surprised to find that it’s kind of refreshing to think of oneself fondly. It may even lift your spirits right there, on the spot!
Just write. Don’t hold yourself back. Make it as short or long as you need it to be. The hardest part is getting started, so try starting with– Dear Self,

The Maven Circle, love letter to yourself

Tips on writing your love letter:

1. Write to yourself, from yourself, for your eyes only. If you’re the only one who’s going to read it, you can feel free to be honest about what you love about yourself without embarrassment.

2. Set aside judgement about yourself or the act of gushing about yourself. You’re awesome- embrace it.

3. Mail or email the letter to yourself. Jena gave her sealed letter to her husband to keep safe and mail to her when she’s feeling stressed, or losing sight of things. You can also use FutureMe to email yourself your letter on a particular date (on your birthday? on a day you know you have to face something difficult?)

4. Take time to read it. Listen to what you know about yourself. Read it when you need a little pick me up, when you need encouragement that you’re not finding elsewhere. Let yourself appreciate your strengths, your gifts and all the positive things you bring into this world.

Do you find yourself being critical of yourself too often, or focusing on your faults? Going to try this out? 


  1. maven circle says:

    Trish- Thanks! & I know, it feels strange getting started, but once you do, let it flow!

    Brittany- Yay! and yeah, that would be interesting!
    That makes me think, it’d be kinda cool to write one every year, maybe on each birthday, and see how they change, see how you’ve grown…

  2. Thank you for your post! I must admit at first I had no intention of doing the exercise. I thought, oh, I’m too busy and it just feels strange. But something inside said, do it anyway. As soon as I started writing, a smile came over my face and I felt a great sense of empathy towards myself. This exercise really allows you to get out of your own head and see yourself more objectively. And when you see yourself objectively, it becomes easier to be kind. Something we can all benefit from. Cheers!

  3. Katy says:

    This is a scary proposition! I love this idea and will definitely do it. Would like to add that a bunch of us card makers on Etsy Greetings Team also made a commitment last fall to mail a card to someone once a week for a year. I’m keeping up with it so far–have sent cards to my hairdresser, my sister, my best friend, the guy who fixed my fireplace, the nice lady at the paper store–and it truly makes me think about and appreciate many people around me. Check 52WeeksofMail on Facebook to find out about the project. And thanks for giving us all permission and inspiration to appreciate ourselves!

  4. Lana Manis says:

    I, too, love this idea! As you mentioned, we are taught to be humble, so it is hard to look for our own good qualities, but it is something that I believe is much needed. I’ll work on a letter to myself this weekend. Thank you! 🙂

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