Be My Own
You might label Valentine’s Day as a ‘Hallmark Holiday’. Or maybe you have twenty hand-written love letters ready to be dropped with hugs and kisses to your friends and family. Or maybe, if you’re single, you’re dreading and avoiding today altogether. But before you go out and do any loving or hating on Valentine’s, don’t forget that love starts at home. And by that, I mean love for yourself. This post is all about why it is absolutely OK to write a self-addressed love letter.
Patterns to our internal dialogue depend on culture, upbringing, and personal circumstances. Unfortunately in our culture, many of these patterns are unworthiness, self-criticism, fear and insecurity. This is often why many adults are reluctant to risk any creative actions or expression: we are worried we wont be good enough.
“Self-love is the source of all our other loves.”
– Pierre Corneille
“The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.”
― Ayn Rand
We are capable of ditching self-doubt. Self-hatred doesn’t even exist in some cultures:
‘When a group of American psychologists met with the Dalai Lama, he asked what difficulties are most common for Western Buddhist students. One of the most mentioned and strongest was self-hatred. The Dalai Lama’s reaction was incredulous, for self-hatred doesn’t exist in Tibetan culture. He went around the room asking, ‘Have you too experienced this self-hate?’ Almost everyone said yes.”
– Jack Kornfield, After the Ecstasy, the Laundry:How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path
The way to combat this self-hatred and doubt is to remind ourselves of how worthy we are.
Writing yourself a love letter may seem like a daunting task or one that you’d like to skip over, but don’t do it. You are too important.
Here are some jumping off points:
- Start with a list of the things you like about yourself. Your sense of humor? How well you can spell? That you can shake it on the dance floor…
- What do you do for the world and for others?
- Do you receive compliments? Write them down.
- Is there a particular memory you have of when you acted with integrity?
- What was your proudest moment?
- Did someone thank you for something recently? Take that to heart and write it down.
Now you’re ready. Get your pen and paper (or download the template below) and write your letter.
Now that you’ve written your letter, what do you do with it? Make sure you will see it again soon.
- Mail it to yourself. Decorate an envelope with your favorite doodles, write your address on it (twice!), pat a stamp on it and drop it in the mail.
- Find it in a few months. Put it in a dictionary or another favorite reference book, hide it with your stash of warm weather clothes, or stow it the back of your freezer.
- Share it with someone you love and encourage them to write one for themselves.
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