Why we need to start handwriting love letters again


#1

Originally published at https://ideapod.com/why-we-need-to-start-handwriting-love-letters-again/

With texts, phone calls, emails, and social media – we now have so many options to easily communicate with each other.

In truth, we have everything we need to establish meaningful and long-lasting relationships – with less excuse for distance or time.

And yet, most of us are blundering our way through dating, relationships, and trying to create meaningful connections with one another.

Why? Probably because our correspondence has become half-hearted, distracted, and almost mundane.

We tell people we love them through emojis. We don’t bother to call because texting is easier. Heck, we can even choose dates by looking at a screen and swiping right.

And just when talking to each other has become easier than ever, we’ve become unexcited with communication. We’ve taken great conversations for granted. And we’ve lost our desire to put that extra bit of effort in.

Why would we bother to write love letters if we can send an easy text?

That’s the point, love letters are special because barely anyone makes them these days. Especially in this generation where so much of our communication happens online.

Handwritten love letters evoke a different feeling – a slower pace, a reminder of an older time, with a little more intimacy, vulnerability, and genuineness that people can appreciate more.

It’s true, there is no use denying that modern communication is efficient. But does it reach something inside of us the way that handwritten love letters do?

Why are love letters important?

“The frankest and freest product of the human mind and heart is a love letter.”

– Mark Twain

1. Every word counts.

There is just something simply tangible about love letters, that make every word on it count. And if you really want your words to weigh as much as you feel, a handwritten love letter will do the trick. Call it old school romantic, but there is nothing more powerful and yet vulnerable at the same time, as someone who spills their heart on ink and paper.

2. It’s something you can hold.

Unlike a text or an email, a love letter is something that can be held onto and kept. And it will still give the same feeling even when it has been opened or re-read a hundred times more. They are like memories in their own way. Something that can remind you of a particular feeling or a time and place that was special.

They’re more than just fleeting words. They last through time and are a permanent reminder of love.

3. Love letters make people happy, even by writing them.

Research suggests that writing love letters make you happy, especially when you are the one writing them.

Engaging in any activity that is love-related activates important parts of our brain including the ones responsible for emotion, attention, motivation, and memory.

Dr. Steve Toepfer from Kent State University says that by habitually making thoughtful love letters, “you’ll feel happier, you’ll feel more satisfied, and if you’re suffering from depressive symptoms, your symptoms will decrease.”

So when you’re writing love letters to your loved ones, you’re not only making them happy, but you’re engaging in a healthy brain exercise for yourself as well. Writing love letters also help reduce stress and can even lower your cholesterol levels.

4. It allows you to reflect and say the more important things.

Writing is so therapeutic. It allows you to gather your thoughts and demands you to think through them before you put them permanently on paper. While texting or calling is reactionary, writing is so much more deliberate. It’s a giving exercise, but it also clarifies the more important things you want to be said.

A love letter is something you make to give. You write the words because you want to say them. You want to convey an emotion, nothing more. There is no asking or receiving. And that’s probably why it is so intimate.

5. It is the most loving act.

You don’t just give love letters to anyone. You give them to people who matter most to you, people you feel safe with, and people you adore. A love letter is an act of love and there is nothing more loving than professing adoration to someone important. From thinking of words to write, ensuring that it conveys meaning, and handing them to the recipient – it’s a deliberate effort and a testament of love.

And to be honest, people don’t expect love letters these days anymore. So not only is it an act of true love, but it can serve as a wonderful surprise to the receiver as well.

6. It improves your relationships.

All of the reasons above boils down to one thing. Love letters improve your relationships.

They put emphasis on the reasons why you love, admire, or value someone. It confirms the importance of your relationship. It’s a sign that you cherish what you have, and you are not afraid to say it.

This doesn’t also just apply to romantic relationships, but to friendships or even business partnerships as well. It’s a clever and classy way to connect to people and to inspire connection and loyalty. The extra effort won’t go unnoticed, too.

A true love letter story

Let’s take Deborah Hefter and Mark Smith, for example. Having started as friends, it wasn’t until Mark kept writing letters that Deborah really felt the spark. For her, Mark’s letters were her insight into the man of her dreams.

“I know that we had a really strong bond. And I think that the fact that he sent me letters was so special. His letters were always so entertaining and informative. It gave me a snapshot of what was going on in his life.”

However, Deborah wasn’t new to the magic of love letters. Her parents, who were married for more than 40 years, were a product of the same circumstance. When Deborah’s father had to be assigned far away as a Coast Guard, he sent her grandmother letters every single day. And that’s something that probably was not easy to do back then. The post ran longer and phone calls weren’t something you can just do on a whim.

Both connections are what inspired the couple to start their very own company surrounding the magic of letter-making. Hoping to inspire people to do some old-school correspondence again, the couple started Envelopments, a company that provides custom invitations and announcements.

Envelopments also provide some beautiful mix-and-match stationery if you want to start your letter-writing hobby.

We should start writing love letters again

Instead of buying your loved ones expensive gifts, why not try writing them a well-thought-out letter instead? It’s one of the least expensive yet most meaningful things you can give them.

Just a few strokes of a pen and a piece of paper, and you’re creating a memory and testament of love that will last through time.

And if you’re wondering how to get started, don’t worry. Writing a love letter isn’t difficult. It doesn’t have to be grand. You just have to come from an authentic place.

To get started, make it simple. What is it about this person that makes you smile? What are the small things they do that you appreciate the most?

A love letter doesn’t have to be poetic like something from Napoleon Bonaparte’s personal correspondence. Simple but truthful worlds will be more than enough. After all, it’s the meaning behind the words, and not how fancy they are laid out, that makes the reader feel something powerfully profound.

Now that you’ve read about the importance of handwriting love letters, check out my recent article on James Patterson’s online course with MasterClass.


#2

…little did I realize all those years ago that the silliness of my correspondence would weave its way into Deborah’s life so wholeheartedly. Just yesterday I was gifted this idea I’ll now pass along…


#3

The Faintest ink is Greater than the strongest Memory - Chinese Proverb.

In the attached video in the article Deborah shares her mother’s letters and photos. Here is a beautiful piece she originally wrote about this experience of discovering her “mother’s papers” all written by hand, covering many years, evolving relationships and love stories titled, “My mother’s papers”


#4

@genefe I think you’ll appreciate Deborah’s perspective she shared in the article above “My mother’s papers” and how it relates to the video in your article #lovestory.


#5

@genefe thanks so much for putting together this article! I really loved reading it.

@eleprocon and Deborah, thanks for providing the inspiration.

To connect a few things here in Ideapod Discussions, here’s an idea I was journalling about:

After putting this together, I got in touch with @genefe

Ideapod has some changes coming to the way our content is organized. I want to keep on focusing on our #lovestory in the modern day and age.

Personally, there’s a few key ideas around love I want to explore:

  1. How we express love through our communication technologies.
  2. What it means to “be in love”.

Looking forward to exploring more and very happy to have the video from the article used as a conversation starting point.


#6

@Eleprocon I truly enjoyed writing this piece with you and your wife as an inspiration! I, too, love writing little notes and letters to my loved ones. And thank you for sharing Deborah’s perspective. How fascinating and touching at the same time.

@justinbrown I definitely agree! It’s an important conversation to have in this modern age. Looking forward to more of this in the future.


#7

#8

Since its Valentine’s Day I thought I’d weave together a few ideas that have played out…


#9

I totally agree. When Lorelei passed, I went through piles of old letters and found the ones I wrote to her before we were married. She was in Florida, and I was in Connecticut. It is beautiful to see how much in love I was and writing by hand, this was 1968, that was the only way. People need to start this again. Thank you for the suggestion here on a platform many will see.