Making: letters to strangers

Have I told you about how I write letters to strangers?

No not in a weird stalkery way, but as part of a US based project called ‘More Love Letters‘.

Not romantic love letters, but letters written from a place of loving kindness, a human-to-human-full-of-care way. Each month they post a few fresh letter requests for people who are having a hard time and could do with some encouragement.

A friend or relative or coworker has usually has made the request and the More Love Letters team chooses 3 or 4 to publish each month.

I like it.

No scrap that, I love it.

A few years ago when I was really struggling with work and feeling disheartened about ‘what next?’, I found them and started writing letters almost weekly for this project. It was that kind of beatifully selfish altruism that made me feel great. Every time I popped a nicely written, colourful card into the letterbox I think I got a hit of some kind of home-made happy drugs and walked away with more bounce in my step.

Now I’ve worried about this (of course I have! I get anxious, worry is my special superpower), and wondered things like:

– what if the person getting them hates it and is really embarassed that somone shared their misfortune with the world?

– what if I write the wrong thing? Maybe I will make them feel worse or they’ll think it’s mawkish or boring?

– what if I’m actually being really selfish because shouldn’t I be writing to my actual friends and family* who need my support, not random strangers?

– isn’t this the kind of stoopid tokenistic gesture that just assuages the guilt of the middle class and does nothing to address entrenched structural disadvantage? **

So if you think those things too I won’t blame you. But meanwhile I’m happy that I’ve got on with doing it despite the doubts, because it’s a small gesture of kindness that I can easily weave into my day and do while sitting and waiting for someone or while I drink my morning coffee. Is cheap – a $2.95 stamp will wing it across the world for me, and plays to my strengths – oh hello I love writing and snail mail.

So there you have it. An easy fun way to get a feel good buzz in less than half and hour and change from a $5 note.

Give it a go! See if you want to add it to your basket of self-care activities! Let me know below if you are a fan of snail mail too, or if you have ever sent a letter to someone you don’t know as part of your own creative adventures. 

* which is funny, because I write to friends and family too.

** probably. Somewhat. But I’ve also done my fair change of trying to change policy and stuff I promise. (I’m reminding my self this).