Jane's Mental Health Source Page

One of the Web's Oldest Personal Mental Health Sites [Est. 1998]

Dear Present Self (Letter)


Writing letters to past self can heal past wounds when your present self can truly “see” your past self’s actions: You-Now see past the hurts and into the heart of why You-Before past self behaved the way You-Before believed you had to behave.

First, find a picture of yourself when you were between age 3-5.

Next, read this letter below.

Dear Present Self:

I have tried very hard to survive, in the face of all the labels people have given me. I live in a world where people around me are quick to judge me and label me, without ever wanting to get to know me. They are busy amongst themselves, stopping only long enough to put me down or shame me.

Image by Robert Proksa When I’m uprooted again and again, I have learned to protect my young heart by guarding myself, because leaving places and people I have grown attached to, hurts. I don’t receive comfort for my hurts, I’m not allowed to feel pain. I am called names for the only way I know how to protect my self when I was young.

As I was growing up, adults and children around me were quick to tell me that I’m dumb or smart, without ever sitting down with me and taking the time to listen to all that I’m thinking, all the rich, complex emotions I had felt ever since I could remember feeling.

No one told me that “it’s OK to be scared, everyone gets scared, even adults.”

No one told me that “no one knows everything. Everyone is smart in some things, dumb in other things, it’s all relative and depends on which side you’re looking from.”

All I’m taught and made to face time and again, is how little power I have, how not in control I am, and how small and worthless I must be.

I learned to put on a hard facade because of how hard people in my life are on me – people who are supposed to love me and teach me how to fail and fall down and survive heartbreaks and come through in one intact piece of soul.

I had to protect my soul the only way I knew how. So I can grow up and tell you.

But every time I am reminded that I don’t matter, that I don’t have power, that I don’t even control even over “who I am” – I feel rage.

Once upon a time I waited and waited for a friend to show up. When such a friend never showed up, I had to kill the hope of the waiting child, because that child will never survive in this kind of world living in constant pain and disappointment of a friend who never comes.

Past Self

Now, look at the picture of that little child, think about how that child had to learn how to survive all that, for this many years….

then write that child a letter, as the friend who finally came along.

BE the friend this little one has been waiting for so long.

I wish you well.


Written by Jane Chin

February 6th, 2013 at 12:46 pm