If you’re a fan of romance films, you are bound to have come across the popular letter writing trope. Movies such as The Last Letter from Your Lover and The Longest Ride utilise the love letter element as a storytelling tool to evoke a dramatic tone, whereas romantic comedies like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before follows a more light-hearted route through the inclusion of innocent teenage love letters.
With that being said, love letters are more than just a work of fiction. In fact, some of the greatest love letters to ever exist were written by society’s most prominent figures as early as the 18th century. Despite being a small gesture, the art of writing love letters lies in the fact that it holds just as much as – and maybe even more–sentimental value compared to grander acts of displaying love.
As human beings, it is normal to crave love and attention from someone else. Even so, it is important that we start remembering that love can come in different forms, and that includes self-love. Many of us fail to realise that showing love and affection to yourself is just as valid as doing so for your loved ones. To those of us who do not have a significant other to receive words of romance from, fret not! You can reap the benefits of writing a love letter to yourself and, ultimately, cultivate a sense of self-love.
Benefit 1: It provides you with daily affirmations.
Words of affirmation are powerful love languages in many relationships as they aid couples in communicating their feelings for one another. However, this does not diminish the fact that words of affirmation are equally as strong when used on one’s self, especially to convey feelings of love, appreciation and respect. When writing a love letter to yourself, it is important to include positive affirmative sentences which cover various facets pertaining to your life. This may include, but is not limited to your body, your emotions, your goals, and your achievements. This is because words of affirmation help tap into your consciousness and rewire your brain, leading to a shift in your mindset. In other words, the more positive the affirmations are to yourself, the more you will start to believe in them which in turn leads to you living a more fulfilling life. To help you start and end your day on an optimistic note, you may read your love letter filled with these affirmations each morning when you wake up and at night before you drift off to slumberland.
Benefit 2: It helps boost your confidence.
If you are a person who struggles with self-esteem, writing a love letter to yourself is a good way to help you gain confidence in yourself. By writing about your strengths, a sense of internal self-awareness is cultivated within you as you are acknowledging what you are good at and can use that to your advantage. According to psychologist and science journalist Daniel Goleman, having a realistic knowledge of your abilities provides you with an accurate sense of self-confidence. In addition, attaining a high level of self-confidence in yourself enables you to tackle situations which put you in an anxious state, as anxiety and self-confidence are correlated. Organisational psychologist and researcher Dr. Tasha Eurich states that internal self-awareness negatively relates to stress, depression and anxiety. With that, the more aware you are of your capabilities, the more self-confidence you obtain, which in turn leads to a lower level of anxiety. So, whenever you find yourself overwhelmed with nervousness or worry, you can always pull out your love letter and read it to ease your mind.
Benefit 3: It prevents you from comparing yourself to others.
More often than not, you may find your mind wandering to thoughts of other people. From there, it starts to churn out false perceptions and you are led to believe they have much better lives than you – more successes, a higher paying job, stable relationships. It is easy to have a fixation on the lives of others instead of on our own, especially if you are constantly counting their blessings and trying to stack up your own achievements against them. Despite this habit being useful in giving you a push to improve yourself, it also invalidates the goals you have attained and the obstacles you have had to overcome to reach them.
Writing a love letter to yourself allows you to familiarise yourself with your emotional intelligence, which results in acquiring good self-management skills. With these skills, you are able to navigate your emotions in a more positive direction, preventing you from viewing yourself in a negative light. Instead, you learn how to simultaneously embrace your flaws and acknowledge the successes you have achieved when you put them on paper. You will also start to realise that everyone’s lives progress at different paces. The only person you have to compare yourself to is, well, you. Writing yourself a love letter promotes healthy self-criticism without the need to berate yourself while doing so.
Now that you are aware of the benefits you can harness from writing yourself a love letter, there is no harm in giving it a try. It does not matter who you are, where you come from or where you are at. Everyone is worthy of self-love and you should not deprive yourself of it any longer. If you want to be loved by someone else, you should start by loving yourself both inside and out because self-love is truly the most genuine and long-lasting relationship you can have in your life.
So, what are you waiting for? Go write yourself a love letter. Add as many heart-shaped stickers as you desire, showcase your fanciest handwriting and even seal your letter with a lip print if you feel like it – just do not be afraid to curate one which speaks to YOU!
By: Stephanie Wong Wei Yen