Grace Notes

a blog about life’s everyday magic

February 13, 2018

How to Write a Love Letter to Yourself

How to Write a Love Letter to Yourself

Words: Elle Harris
Photo credit: Alvaro Serrano

 

What if you decide to love yourself … first … best … irrevocably?

 

So often we treat ourselves as expendable – a habit the world taught us to master. Untruths haunt us like shadows that stretch across our reflections, dimming our view of what’s real. In cyclical whispers we hear them:

 

You’ll matter as long as you’re useful.
You’ll be listened to if you don’t make mistakes.
You’ll belong as soon as you prove yourself one more time.
You’ll be valued the length your beauty lasts.

 

Heavy doubts to be sure; the weight of such worries clips your wings and stifles your ability to fly. But how do we outwit the world? How do we find value in ourselves when we constantly walk the tightrope between being not enough for some, and being too much for others? Well dear ones, I’m going to suggest that if these are the questions you’re struggling with, you’re simply asking the wrong things. So instead, I’m going to ask you one question …

 

What if?

 

Such a small question – only two words long, and yet profound when paired with the right trail of words parading behind it.

 

What if you are enough?
What if you do try again?
What if you believe that you can?
What if you decide to love yourself … first … best … irrevocably?

 

These are questions worth leaning your weight upon, and their answers are the foundation of a gift you need to give yourself. In her poem, “After a While,” author Veronica A. Shoffstall reminds us to “… plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.” We often wait instead; we wait for someone to tell us how singular we are, how unrepeatable, how needed. We allow others to temporarily vindicate our lives instead of cherishing the moments and legacies we alone build and we alone know.

 

To this I say, no more. Today, this moment even, you are to write yourself a love letter. Don’t you understand, precious, that there is no one better suited to the task than you? I know it might feel a little awkward, but let me ask you this … who better knows what you need to hear?

 

Grab your favorite cup of something, and get that unmarked journal or that beautiful untouched stationery you’ve been too afraid to use, because this is the perfect entry. It is time to give that lovely soul of yours the words she’s been longing to hold onto. Trust the process, and cherish whatever comes, because your hands and your heart will not lie to you; you’ll know just what to say.

 

How to Write a Love Letter to Yourself

 

1. Don’t type. Take your time and handwrite slowly, using elegant script or the messy scrawl of your youth, whatever you like best. (I prefer cursive for love letters, the shape of the letters twirling reminds me of being invited to dance.)

 

2. Give yourself a salutation that makes you smile. Use the pet name that makes your heart feel young and gratified. (My grandmother always called me Dolly, it is my most preferred term of endearment.)

 

3. Welcome yourself with a treasured memory. Begin, “Do you remember when you …” and detail it with the imagery of the event. Recall the sights, the feelings, and the sounds associated with the memory as you bring yourself back into the warmth of it. Expound on even the smallest details. (I remember my first publication acceptance letter, the weight of acceptance in my hands felt like an anchor giving me permission to take myself seriously as a writer. This memory is a wish-on-a-falling-star come true, and I delight in the reminding.)

 

4. Transition into the second paragraph with comfort. Embrace yourself with words of encouragement. Remind yourself that whatever pain you’re going through is only temporary, but the essence of joy you hold is eternal. Lift yourself up. Give yourself the compliment you’ve been yearning to see in words. (You are enough. You matter. And you will be remembered.)

 

5. Lead into the crescendo of your intention for writing. It is time for the epic declaration – love. Tell yourself all the little details that make you you. Point out the notable attributes, brilliant character flaws, charming habits, and lovely quirks that you enjoy. Again, take your time and linger on this part. Don’t skip anything because graceful, beguiling, exquisite you deserves to hear it! (I want to let myself know that she is intelligent and worthy. I want to remind her that her too loud mouth and overactive imagination are both the roots and the wings she needs, and that she wouldn’t be quite so enchanting without her own bit of everyday folly.)

 

6. Like the fading light of a firework or the twinkle lights at a summer’s dance, turn your words slowly into a final dip and twirl. Remind yourself that these last paragraphs have been something you’ve been holding back for far too long, and something you’ll try to remind her of every day from now on. (Recall, even in your darkest hours, that there is no one in the stretch of one ocean to another such as you. Be the wonder you were meant to become.)

 

7. Sweep any doubts of your admiration away with your intentional and eloquent closing. (All my love precious girl; go keep chasing that light.)

 

8. After all is said, and all your love is shared, fold this letter into an envelope of substance. Address it to yourself in a way that lets you know the contents are both secret and extraordinary. (To the Girl Who Alone Can Read My Heart).

 

It is that simple. Put the letter somewhere special. It can be placed high and visible, a daily reminder to the tenderness with which you should care for yourself, or boxed and treasured for a future, forgotten surprise. There is no limit to the number of times you can read and reread the testimony of endearment … but keep it as the gift it really is.

 

And now, in closing, can I ask you just one more thing? If you love yourself this much, how can the world not soon follow suit? Lead the revolution of your own undeniable worth.

 

Be cherished,
Elle

 

Elle Harris is a believer of impossible things. She is a lover of words, wonder, and the whimsical delights of everyday living. Caught in the creative place between reality and imagination is her favorite place to be. Please join Elle in pursuing life with intention, and grand conversation on her blog thisquotablelife.wordpress.com. Find Elle on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @ElleHarris82.
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Comments ( 14 )

  1. Elle Harris

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    I’d love to hear how you’re doing on loving yourself! Drop me a comment darlings!
    Elle Harris @elleharris82

  2. judy h.

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    Hi Elle, You’ve written a beautiful, inspirational post. I wonder how many women will have difficulty with this challenge? I’ve read through it three times and cannot imagine writing a love letter to myself. Many challenges have come to me throughout my life, I’ve triumphed over some and have been wounded by a few more. Self-confidence and self-esteem have never been strong character traits for me, but I was unable to speak out loud even the most insignificant “good thing” about me. How many women have been their own worst enemy by way of their subconscious self-talk?

  3. Julie

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    I’d love to see an example.

  4. Ann

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    This will be a great gift to give myself. At least 3 times in my life, two from my own mother and once from an almost mother-in-law I was told “you should be seen and not heard” and I occasionally still struggle with those words.

    Although, as I just read through this post a light bulb went off and realized that could have been and indirect message from God that I should be writing. If so, it took many years before that started to happen.

    I remember when my first, and only, published book was in my hands, I said to myself “I do have a voice!”

  5. Terry Gassett

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    I love this idea Elle! While it is easy for me to see the good in others, I am much too hard on myself. This exercise would not only help me to see myself more fully, but to have a letter tucked away on days when I need to be reminded.
    Oh! And I love your connection between a pen swirling and one dancing. I think I shall go dance (with pen) this week!
    Blessings, sweet friend!

  6. Elle Harris

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    Judy:

    I can totally empathize. It is hard to “love” ourselves when we so often, frankly, don’t! We need to be the example we wish to set for the world. As for writing, I’d suggest slowly. Start with a bulleted list of adjectives that are positive about you. I’m sure there are many to choose from dear one. Don’t give up on loving you.

    Elle

  7. Elle Harris

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    I’d love to see the love letters of those who have done this!

    Elle

  8. Elle Harris

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    Ann:

    What a tragic thing to say to anyone. I love how you spun it into a positive with God giving you a gentle nudge to write. I believe He can speak to us in the most unique ways that we might not have thought to listen from. Keep writing. Keep finding that voice. You were given it for a reason, whether audibly or typed!
    Elle

  9. Elle Harris

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    Oh Terry!

    I shall dance with you! Pen to pen as my mother and I always say!

    Much love,
    Elle

  10. judy h.

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    Just wanted to check in for a moment. I’ve been working on doing a bullet point word or two a couple of days a week. I close my journal the second I’ve written a positive word, for fear I’ll scratch it out. To date, there are still five words I haven’t scratched out and I can read them when I open my book and be okay. Progress? Yes.

  11. Laura Marie Webber

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    Love your ideas at Bella grace????

  12. Nina Naomi

    April 19, 2023 at 4:26 pm

    I’ve written my letter to Dear Friend of my Heart. And I blog in memory of my mother and in her name. Diary of a Mindful Nature Lover. Your idea is perfect for me. I will share it. Often when I read something I like it turns out to be by you!

  13. How to Write a Love Letter to Yourself - And Why It's Surprisingly Effective - Rose Colored Glasses

    April 19, 2023 at 4:26 pm

    […] “Remind yourself that whatever pain you’re going through is only temporary, but the essence of joy you hold is eternal. Lift yourself. Give yourself the compliment you’ve been yearning to see in words. (You are enough. You matter.)” – Elle Martin of Bella Grace Magazine. […]

  14. Z

    May 29, 2023 at 11:27 pm

    Recently, was inspired to write love letters to myself more regularly. This piece was very informative and loving. Thank you! (Am also excited to explore more of this mag!)

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