One of the reporters in our office attended a seminar on love-letter writing this week.
As an engaged woman whose wedding is next month (agh!), I felt it important to read Karina Bland’s column on what she learned.
I mean I should probably write my fiancé a dang love letter for Valentine’s Day, right?
So here’s what I learned from Bland, who wrote the seminar hosted by journalists Amy Silverman and Deborah Sussman.
1st: Who’s the love letter for?
Newsflash. It doesn’t have to be for a romantic partner.
“It could be for a sibling, or a child, or a friend. It could be to yourself,” Bland learned.
2nd: Start with a haiku
This is JUST to get your creative juices flowing! This is not the love letter.
Oh, and a haiku? It’s a three-line poem that goes five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables.
3rd: List 10 things you LOVE about the recipient
“Deborah says making a list, 1 through 10, frees up a part of your brain to wander through your relationship with that person, bringing up things that we overlook when we think too hard about it,” Bland writes.
Once you’ve got your list, you have 10 possible ways to start your letter.
4th: You’re not Shakespeare, OK?
Once you accept the fact that this doesn’t have to be perfect, things get A LOT easier. The fact that you’re sitting down to reflect on your love for someone is going to mean the world to them! So quit stressing and start thinking!
“Love letters can be intimidating because we try to encompass everything we love about the person, Amy says. So she tells us to look for a moment that reflects something bigger about the person,” Bland writes.
5th: Hone in on one thing
Like the instructor Amy alluded to: writing about every single positive aspect of a person is daunting. Likewise, if you’re trying to write to someone whom you’ve had a difficult relationship with, perhaps you don’t have 10 things.
So just focus on one thing. Maybe it doesn’t feel significant at first, but give it a shot. Let your pen flow and see what comes of it.
6th: Pat yourself on the back; love letters are good for your health
“Kory Floyd is a professor of communication at the University of Arizona who studies relationships. His research shows that expressing affection in writing is not only good for the receiver but also for the person who sent it,” Bland writes.
“Words of affection offer health benefits like a stronger immune system and lower stress, cholesterol and blood pressure.”
And it’s not enough to just think about your loved one! You’ve got to write it down. Apparently Floyd’s research showed that writing the feelings did more for a person’s health than thinking about it or journaling about it.
And this is all true even when the recipient doesn’t reciprocate!
Yay, unrequited love!