Legacy Letters: Benefits and Obstacles

Why prepare a Legacy Letter?

  • It is a gift to your family that can be passed on from generation to generation, creating the critical link from past to future generations that only you can offer.
  • The process is fulfilling and fun. Your family gets to know you better as a person, and not just as a parent or grandparent.
  • Reminiscing helps people enjoy life more. Studies indicate that this activity can increase self-esteem, raise life satisfaction, improve cognitive functioning, and decrease levels of depression and anxiety. It also has a beneficial effect on caregivers.
  • The process can be cathartic and therapeutic by helping people better understand their feelings and submerged memories. Often people let go of pain, anger, and resentment. People discover peace within themselves and towards others.
  • Significant events in history come alive, and it illustrates a way of life that no longer exists.
  • It provides clarity, insights and a wider and deeper understanding of your life and your family by examining the important events of your life, the choices you made, and your struggles and triumphs.
  • It teaches survival skills to the younger generation, and how to overcome adversity when they face similar difficulties.
  • It honors those who helped you.
  • It promotes spiritual growth by helping people come to terms with mortality.
  • It ensures that we can complete our lives in the same purposeful way we lived them.
Giraffe Cartoon

When To Give A Legacy Letter

There are many special opportunities throughout the year to give a loved one a Legacy Letter. It is a perfect gift for:

  • Birthdays
  • Fatherís day
  • Motherís day
  • Graduation
  • Wedding
  • The Holidays
  • Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah
  • Confirmation

But you donít need a special day to give a special letter. A Legacy Letter is a welcome gift anytime of the year. The important point is to just do it!

Common Obstacles

Creating a Legacy Letter is not necessarily easy, but it can be fun. There are often obstacles you need to address. If you do not address these obstacles, you end up procrastinating and the Legacy Letter might never be completed and, worse, never shared. Below is a description of these obstacles. You may experience some or all of them.

  • Am I afraid of my own death or unpleasant memories?
    You may experience fear of your own mortality, or an uneasiness about digging up painful or unhappy memories. Creating a Legacy Letter can actually help people feel more comfortable with issues related to death and dying. By confronting these two obstacles, you are actually creating interesting content for your Legacy Letter. There are meaningful life lessons to share when people donít sugar coat their memories.
  • I feel like a dinosaur and no one is interested in what I have to say.
    You may be concerned that you are boring, out of date and that no one is interested in what you have to say. Everyone on this planet has valuable experiences and lessons to share. This truth we all know in our hearts. Creating a Legacy Letter is the gift that everyone needs, but may not be aware of. This fact should not be underestimated. Everyone is interesting. You may just need a little help harvesting and expressing colorful and valuable stories about your life.

  • Am I forgetful?
    Well yes; you are and so is everyone else. We just don't often talk about it. You may feel uneasy about your ability to recall memories. There are a several strategies to help a person unearth these memories that I can share with you.
  • Will this letter heal or hurt?
    It is understandable that you do not want to reveal information that could hurt someone. There are also strategies to help people figure out what you should and should not put into a Legacy Letter that I can share with you. If done correctly, thoughtfully and positively, a Legacy Letter may be just the tool to resolve a long-standing family conflict or problem, and promotes healing.
  • Me, myself and I
    You may feel too self-conscious and embarrassed about creating a Legacy Letter. Keep in mind that Legacy Letters benefit not only your children and grandchildren, but children not born yet. Legacy Letters are not an act of selfishness, although you do benefit tremendously. They are a critical link from past to future generations that only you can provide.
  • Where do I find the time to do this?
    And last, you may feel you donít have the time to create a Legacy Letter, or you donít enjoy or feel comfortable writing. This is where I can help.

Click here to learn how the process works.

 

   

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