In a suicide prevention and mental health maintenance effort, the post immediately preceding this one was a call for everyone to write at least one, heartfelt and sincere letter that openly and clearly expresses why we love or admire this or that person.
If people haven’t written theirs yet, it suggested we abandon discomfort, and to write to them almost as though we were on our death bed –as though the letter was our last chance to tell them anything. We don’t want to leave any compliment, or bit of forgiveness unrealized.
It urged us to tell others about their genuine qualities and how we feel about them. We should tell them how they impact us even when we are in two different places. We want to talk to them about the essence of them that will linger with others long after they pass.
That’s the real reputation that everyone ends their lives concerned with; did I leave others, and this place, better than I found it? Was my existence worth it? Am I worth something now?
The post encouraged us to ensure that our recipients understand very explicitly that they have always had, and always will have, incredible value. In the end the letter is like one of those ‘break glass in case of emergency’ boxes in big buildings.
The idea is, when these people are down, they go to this letter and treat it like an emotional fire extinguisher. The suggestion was to find someone we felt unconditional about. Then, out of those people, choose the person that would benefit from such a boost the most.
But what about the people we don’t feel unconditional about? They still have value. It’s not their fault we’re conditional about their faults and unconditional about other people’s. That’s just a matter of taste and our ability to be accepting.
The fact is, everyone could benefit of such a cataloging of their qualities as an expression of our love and admiration. That being the case, we may as well choose the person that we can have the biggest impact on: ourselves. I refer to this as, “The Soul Letter.”
That’s today’s deal. Set a firm deadline. We should take it seriously. Let’s take the letters discussed in the previous post and this one, and let’s write a sincere, generous, honest version to ourselves. And if we don’t make ourselves cry then we probably didn’t do it properly. 🙂
Do it from that external perspective, like the previous letter. This is our soul –that does see us unconditionally– using our hands, to write our egos a letter. Our soul is humble. It accepts both sides of us, so it knows there’s a beautiful side that we can write about entirely honestly.
Yes, we have felt weak and done things we regret. But our regret points to our decency. At the same time, our soul also knows that deep within us, where no one else can see, almost every time, our intentions are truly good.
On those times where we were blinded by thought and our intentions were not good, we will later feel regret. That response once again points to our inherent decency. We deserve these letters.
Once they are written, as we suggest others should do, we should read this letter when our ego’s thoughts are whirling around so much that we feel as though it’s possible to be disconnected from our soul. Because in reality we can only think that’s possible.
Note that The Soul Letter is not less important than The Appreciation Letters for others –if anything it is more important. We’ll be even better at the letters to others when we can speak from a place of knowing how to truly accept and love ourselves.
Let’s get our thoughts out of the way. Think back to our best days, our proudest moments, our most loving and generous acts. It is in these moments that we will see our true selves, unencumbered by our ego’s debilitating thoughts.
By focusing our attention on those days, we can remind ourselves that no matter how we may temporarily feel, our soul always remains strong within us.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own over-thinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.