Dear Me, The Power of Writing Love Letters to Yourself
It all started in a dream. My future self came to me and said, “Tell me about your love letter sessions.” I responded, “It’s not about the client falling in love with you. It’s about you falling in love with yourself.”
Being a photographer, I awoke thinking, “Hmm, love letter sessions. Those could be fun photo shoots to offer for Valentine’s Day.”
A few days later, during my meditation session, I realized the true purpose of the dream.
I am a survivor of child molestation and rape before the age of 13. Throughout my rebellious teenage years and into my adulthood, I chose relationships with inappropriate people as I tried to fill my emotional gaps, the insecurities and the lack of self-love.
I searched for external validation of my worth. For the most part, the relationships were with good people. They just weren’t good for me. I molded myself around my partners and tried to please them. I became whomever I thought they wanted me to be, whomever I needed to be to make them love me.
This behavior allowed me to hide my tender underbelly, to protect my vulnerable heart. They all knew parts of the authentic me; the woman who loves adventure and whose laugh is contagious. I hid so much more of myself.
Then, in 2014 I dated a man for six months. It didn’t evolve into anything, so I ended the relationship. It seemed amicable at first. A month later, he had an emotional breakdown and attacked me. Fortunately, I escaped with only a few bruises. He spent three months in jail.
The experience rocked my core. I couldn’t turn off the lights for weeks because every time I closed my eyes, I saw him attack me over and over. There was so much anger directed toward me. I’m the peacemaker, an eternal optimist! I uplift people with my laughter. I didn’t understand how this could happen.
After that experience, I went internal to heal whatever had attracted that kind of person into my life because I never wanted to experience anything like that again.
Journey of self-discovery
Since then, it has been an amazing journey of self-discovery, emotional healing and personal growth. The 2020 quarantine allowed me to go even deeper. I felt I still needed an essential piece for my healing. Over the last two years, I gained 40 pounds, which is 100 pounds more than my ideal weight. I didn’t feel good in my body. I said unkind things to myself in the mirror.
In meditation, I asked for guidance on how to shift into more confidence, how to love my body so that I could release the excess weight and heal the deeper parts of myself that were hiding under all that fat.
Then, I had the love letters dream. I committed to writing a love letter to myself every day for 30 days. About 10 days in, I realized I was teaching myself how to love myself. It was the coolest thing. After the 30 days, I continued writing the letters because they felt good.
Now, when I look in the mirror, I smile and do a little dance. Even when I’m naked. Well, especially when I’m naked. The way I speak to myself is loving, compassionate and encouraging.
This body has endured much pain and much pleasure. It allows me to live this amazing life I’m creating. I am grateful for this body, in all its various shapes and weights. I am grateful for all the experiences I have lived because they have created the woman I am today and the woman I am becoming. I am proud of who I am and now, I truly love myself.
How to write a love letter to yourself:
- Before starting each letter, take three deep breaths. Feel the Earth below your feet. Get grounded. Feel your heart beating. Connect to your body. Maybe play soft music or write while outside in nature.
- Write as if you are writing to the love of your life.
- Be honest and apologize for how you have mistreated your love.
- How would you talk to the love of your life? What do you love about “them?” Include everything — the physical, mental and emotional parts of yourself.
- Write one letter a day for 30 days. It takes 21 consecutive days to make or break a habit. If you miss a day, your 30 days starts over at day 1.
- Use pen and paper. There is magic in writing the letters in your own handwriting. I used a separate journal dedicated to the letters.
- Be gentle with yourself. Be open.
- Let the words flow. I wrote some poems, too. The letters can be a few paragraphs or a few pages.
- Address them kindly. “My Dearest Christina,” is how I started mine.
- Sign them with Love, and your name