If Christmas is in your life, then you will be very familiar with the idea of writing a letter to the big bearded guy. Can you believe it’s writing-to-Santa-time again – already?!
Typically, young kids’ letters are checklists of ‘wants’, along with parent-nudged-politeness like “Dear Santa, hope you are well and have had a good year”, or “I hope Mrs Claus is well” and, ideally, a “thanks so much for last year’s gift I LOVE it! )”
With age and awareness these letters get more personal, and can sometimes include emotional pleas (“climate stabilisation, a different US president”) and other more heart-wrenching requests (“please help my gran/brother/aunt/dad get better”) This are the things that, unfortunately, Santa can’t control. For if he could, I’m certain he would fix all of these things for us…
I can’t remember what age I stopped writing letters to Santa. Or why. Perhaps it felt just too ‘childish’ at some point? Some adults still write them, and beautifully. They’ll start popping up on social media around now; moving masterpieces of human desire and hopes, things of beauty. These adults who write to Santa write because they believe that if you don’t believe that you can receive, you don’t receive.
If we don’t believe, we don’t receive.
It seems almost too simple. Can we make ourselves believe (in) something?
‘Belief’ is something about which I’m passionate.
Professional and personal experience keeps teaching me that our beliefs about ourselves dictate our behaviours. For example, if I believe I am worthy, I act in ways that reflect that (without having to think a lot about it). If I believe I am not worthy, then I also act in ways that reflect that (especially if I am not thinking a lot about it).
Beliefs don’t stop at “I am worthy” (although, truth be told, this might be one of the most encompassing and important for most). There are hundreds, maybe thousands of beliefs that inform our lives on a daily basis. Some of the ones that feature in therapy and have wide-and-long reaching effects on a person’s day-to-day life include:
- I am worthy vs. I am unworthy/worthless
- I am safe vs. I am unsafe
- I am responsible vs. I am not dependable
- I am lovable vs. I am unlovable/flawed
- I make good choices vs. I make poor choices
Do any of these resonate with you?
Can we change what we believe about ourselves?
Yes we can, with awareness and practice. It means choosing to think and act in ways that align with what you would rather believe about yourself. And doing that over and over.
Repeating these (more) healthy thoughts and actions until you don’t have to think about it so much. Until it becomes a habit. Your new habit. Until you believe ‘it’ about yourself. And when we believe these things, we receive “more”. More respect, better relationships, better health.
Possibly the most important step, is first identifying which core belief we have about ourselves is the one we want to change. That can be the hardest part. Once we know what it is (and come to terms with the fact), we can work on how to change it. There are plenty of resources out there for us to work with (friends, books, workshops, counsellors, therapists).
It is healing and empowering to realise that our beliefs about ourselves can limit our happiness – we cannot fix what we don’t acknowledge.
So in a very real sense, knowledge is power.
Your letter to Santa:
So, what about taking a little time this week to write your own letter to Santa? And ask for something that money can’t buy, but could be absolutely life-changing?
In that letter, write what you would really like to believe about yourself this year (and always). Write about how you would like to know how to overcome the belief that holds you back. That belief that stops you from being fully present, aware, focused, connected, even vulnerable.
There is no ‘right’ way to write your letter. Simply write from the heart, write what you feel (even if it doesn’t make ‘sense’). Writing is a time-honoured addition to successful therapy, and the beauty of it is that it works in the comfort of your own home, with any old piece of paper or pencil or pen you have. It even works on a keyboard – and it’s FREE! Which is always nice…
To help you along the way I’ve put up a template here. It’ll only take a few minutes to print out and fill in, and it might be one of the nicest gifts you’ve ever given yourself – plus it literally won’t cost you anything!!!
Mind you until the next time, and may Santa (may you) be kind generous to you.
pps: If you’d like to be added to my (private) mailing list feel free to add your email address over there on the right on below this piece of you’re on your phone.