Most people say “what a great idea” when encouraged to write letters of affirmation and blessing to those they love.
They nod with agreement about the importance of expressing…in writing…the things they cherish about those dearest to them.
And yet, so few get around to actually writing the letters.
How about you?
Do you have good intentions but never seem to get the words on paper?
Ever wonder “why?”
Could the culprit be perfectionism? Wanting the letter to eloquently express everything that’s in your heart, but fearing that the words won’t be adequate, so you don’t even try?
Sometimes, letters aren’t written because the would-be writer doesn’t know where to begin.
For many, the daily “tyranny of the urgent” wins over the best of intentions. You’ll get to it...someday.
Often, when a person is battling a challenging disease, writing a letter can seem to be the equivalent of acknowledging defeat and pending death.
All are understandable reasons, but all are obstacles that can be overcome.
What is a well-intentioned, but letter-writing blocked person to do? How do you move a message from your head and heart to paper?
Here are some simple yet effective tips for breaking the emotional logjam:
-Focus on your WHY. Why do you want to write a letter to your loved one? Write a sentence to yourself that explains why this letter (really, this person) is important to you. Refer back to the “why” when you feel yourself procrastinating.
-Keep a picture of the intended recipient handy as a visual reminder of your “why” as you write. The photograph will help you remember that the letter isn’t about you. It’s about the one you love.
-Tie the letter to a life milestone for the recipient. (i.e. Graduation, Birthday, Wedding Day, Anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day) A goal is much more likely to be accomplished with a target date. Even for something as simple as writing a letter.
-Be accountable. Tell a trusted friend about your goal, and then ask them to check on your progress.
-Think about the impact you want your letter to have. Why do you want your loved one to have your words on paper so that they can be read and reread? What difference do you hope your letter will make?
-Schedule time on your calendar to write letters to the most important people in your life. And keep those appointments. Stop saying you’re too busy. You can find the time.
-Let go of the need to be “perfect”. Realize that your loved one doesn’t care about the length of the letter or the eloquence of your words. Even the simplest of heartfelt messages will be cherished. And those words will become even more priceless as the years pass.
-Don’t assume you’ll get to it “someday.” Don't assume you'll get a "someday." None of us knows the number of our days. Ask anyone who has suddenly lost a loved one what a having a letter from that special person would mean. You’ll be amazed.
If you need help with the letter writing process, please get a copy of Leave Nothing Unsaid. The workbook provides a step-by-step guide to writing meaningful, affirming letters and has been useful for thousands of people. I’m also available for individual coaching, if you need more assistance. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For the sake of those you love, please leave nothing unsaid. Write words that will matter forever.
Remember: Memories fade. Ink lasts.