Love Letters to the Unlovable

I have this thing I’ve been doing every few months when the time feels right. I sit down and write a love letter to something I find unlovable.

So far nearly every letter has gifted me with some kind of exquisite insight, making this one of my favorite self-evolution practices. Mostly I’m writing to parts of myself that feel unlovable. Things like my tendency to be indecisive or to slip into despair. Though sometimes I’m writing to seemingly unlovable people, events and circumstances.

Since it’s February, traditionally the month when St. Valentine’s Day waves love in our faces like a red flag, I’m inviting you to do something a little different. Practice radical kindness and write a love letter to something you find unlovable. What do you think? Are you willing to give it a go? I’ve included a few examples of my own letters below to get your creativity flowing.

It’s all the trees fault really – the reason I do this. One day while spending time with tree kin in a small woods near my house, I recognized that no part of me feels unlovable when the wild and I are humming along in our mutually appreciative relationship. Everything I am is part of – an essential part of – my wild nature community. I’m not good or bad, wrong or right. I’m complex, diverse and unique.

Unlovableness (I tend to make up words) is an artifact of value judging things. A hangover from our habit of seeing everything as good or bad, kind or mean, positive or negative. If you think about it, “or” can be one of the most divisive words in the English language.

When we take value judgement out, what we’re left with is simply information about ourselves and each other – a tool to expand our worldview and perceptions, the building blocks of compassion and understanding.

I began writing love letters as a way to skip myself out of my groove of value judging myself, life and other people. I’m sometimes still surprised by how well it works.

The process I use is simply this:

  1. Notice when you’re finding something unlovable.
  2. Write “Dear (unlovable thing)” at the top of a page.
  3. Let the rest of the words fall out.
  4. Be OK with whatever happens. Letters can be 5 words or 500. Insights can happen but don’t have to.

I encourage you to find your own process of course. Consider mine a spark to light your own creative flame.

 

A few of my own letters…

 

One to what has always felt like a truly annoying habit:

Dearest Indecision,

This is a letter to being so excited I just can’t choose.

To being so anxious I can’t settle, or being so impatient I’ll settle for anything.

A love letter to the perfectionism that keeps me indecisive.

A love letter to the fear that drives my perfectionism.

And yet….

Not deciding keeps me in the field of limitless potential. It means I get to play a little longer in all possibilities.

You, my indecision, are a mask my wisdom hides behind sometimes so I can stay in flowing wonder and find the strand of possibility my heart yearns for, but impatience would have missed.

So, dearest indecision, I love you for teaching me that sometimes you are my wisdom, my faith, helping me to wait for the juicy possibility.

For the times when you’re just indecision, I love you anyway. Because you’re a part of me.

 

This tiny, 4-line letter landed somewhere I never expected:

Dear Daylight Savings Time,

Thank you for reminding me that my body is right.

The way clocks measure time is artificial.

That’s such a relief.

I really want to trust my body more.

 

This last letter is written to a part of myself I never, ever thought I’d find lovable:

My dear Pain,

You’ve been with me for most of my life. A lead weight right where my heart lives. Those few times when joy has moved you, I’ve been surprised at how light I feel.

And yet…

You remind me where my heart is.

You remind me that there is joy…somewhere.

Dearest pain, without your steadfast presence I might not yearn so achingly for joy. I might not be able to commit myself wholeheartedly to the search for joyousness.

If you hadn’t been so constant, I might not believe that joy can be just as steadfast and constant.

Gentle pain, you’ve taught me that the light is as steady as the shadow.

I honor your presence. Without you I would not be as strong as I am.

 

See how it works? If you’re inspired, I’d love you to share a few sentences about your love letter to the unlovable in the comments.

With love,

Tracie

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Tracie Nichols writes poetry and facilitates group writing experiences from under the wide reach of two old Sycamore trees in southeastern Pennsylvania. She is the co-founder of the Embodied Writers writing group and a Transformative Language Artist helping women write themselves home. You can find Tracie on her website.

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