Workin’ on a Love Letter to Myself

By Jamie Huysman, PsyD, LCSW

Happy Heart Month! This is the month in which LOVE and Heart Health are celebrated.

There is much talk about the decline of cursive writing which many of us equate with the classic letter.

Cursive writing these days is becoming relegated to the art of calligraphy rather than a touchstone of everyday penmanship. Having often admired the handwriting of others, I must confess that my own doesn’t live up to that standard. I’m a doctor; go figure.

Regardless, there is still something to be said for sitting down and writing a letter. It’s like part of your soul is revealed in the formation of the letters on the page, both personal and unique to you, the writer; your heart opened to the intended receiver, cursive or not.

The art of letter writing is not dead, but it has changed. There are now greeting cards for just about everything and everyone you can think of! Still, the addition of a handwritten note inside a birthday or Christmas card is an extra treat, adding something special to the sending and receiving of it.

Handwritten “Thank You” notes are still the norm of those who adhere to the rules of etiquette. I’ve known people that write letters to God, to their diaries, or just for the benefit of getting something off their chest, the contents of which will never be sent.

In a perfect world, all of us would have people in our lives and around us that build us up and let us know that we are loved and appreciated. If you have that, you are fortunate indeed. There are many who get the message that they are not enough. The need for outside approval can taint our perception of who we are and what our worth is. For all of us, it is really an inside job.

Thankfully, the concept of self-love has permeated 21st century consciousness! So, I‘m urging you to take matters into your own hands and write yourself a letter! Just as we are told that happiness comes from within, so does acknowledgement of ourselves. Thank yourself for being who you are and what you do.

Go ahead – write yourself a LOVE letter! It’s not narcissistic of selfish; it’s a reminder that you have qualities that deserve to be named and appreciated. Positivity is healthy…and infectious.

I have a friend that started sending herself cards and notes of appreciation. She even wrote, addressed and stamped one and gave it to a friend to keep “until needed”. She forgot all about it. Sometime later she confided to the friend that she was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, that the loved one she was caring for was taking her for granted. A couple of days later she received the “until needed” letter she had written to herself and given to her friend. She told me that when she opened it her words to herself brought her to tears and made all the difference in making it through that day.

Now it’s your turn – get a card or blank piece of paper and pen and do it. Seal it and give it to a trusted friend or family member for safekeeping. It will be there when you need it. You deserve to know that you are loved. It’s good for your heart.

If no one told you that they loved you today, I do!

Dr. Jamie is a popular keynote speaker, media expert, and author. He co-authored the acclaimed “Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health & Happiness While Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss.” Dr. Huysman writes for Caregiver SOS, Connections, JoanLunden.com, Huddol.com, and blogs on PsychologyToday.com.