“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”Mary Oliver
Writing Love Letters to Myself: How I Choose to Love Every Inch of Me
Hara Allison is an award-winning photographer obsessed with promoting self-love and body neutrality. Her greatest hope is that by helping others see themselves through her eyes, they can (re)gain their confidence and (re)connect with themselves. The following is a series of weekly letters Hara is writing to herself as a reminder…
Rather than worry about the weight I’ve recently gained, I’m choosing to write love letters to myself weekly: choosing, instead of feeling down on myself, to love every inch of me. Because it’s such a waste to do otherwise. And yet, I need reminders.
I hope you’ll join me on my journey and consider writing your own love letter. Let’s create magic together: be the love of your life, be kind to yourself, and know that you’re everything you need.
November’s Love Letters to Myself
You are loved.
You haven’t been eating well and you are loved.
You haven’t been exercising and you are loved.
You haven’t been earning a lot of money and you are loved.
You are lazy sometimes and you are loved.
You are worthy of love.
This big, uncomfortable belly is worthy of love. It’s magnificent, in fact.
Your heart and blood pressure and digestion are all working perfectly in this amazing body, so what’s not to love?
It’s a weird time in the world, so be compassionate to others and to yourself.
Love what is, with all your might.
You are loved and loving and lovely.
Your thoughts can be as beautiful as your delicate fingers and as strong as your thick thighs.
I know you. I trust you. I have faith in you.
I can’t wait to see what you do next.
I’m your biggest cheerleader, your loudest fan!
I honor all that you’re feeling.
You will come out of this. You will figure it out. You will shine.
I love you,
I know you’ve struggled – with feeling unloved and unseen and unheard. I know you’ve struggled with your weight. I know you’ve struggled in this world that can seem so big and uncaring at times.
I know you’ve woken up, on occasion, with a feeling of dread and such deep loneliness that it felt like it could sink a ship.
I know you’ve had unmet longings for things you’ve desired.
I know your struggles.
I also know the woman you’ve become. The woman who knows that even though you struggle with weight, you realize it’s only a number and is no definition of who you are.
I know you’re the woman that is loving herself so well that she needs no external validation.
I know that you share your heart, through your art, seeing others, and ironically, is also seen and heard.
I know you’re the woman, who, when wakens with a pit in her stomach, takes a moment to get centered and remembers all she has to be grateful for – and the loneliness slips away.
I know you’re the woman who, though longings have been unmet, loves what is and knows that the world is conspiring for her – always.
My dear Hara, I’m proud of you.
I look back at your life and see the road you took to get here – paved with children’s laughter, your husband’s hugs, your friends’ kindnesses, and your family’s love.
It’s been a life worth celebrating.
Hara, you’re perfect, exactly who you’re supposed to be.
I see you. I love you.
I’m really enjoying this weekly love letter to myself.
I’m not very woe is me this week despite falling at tennis and my sleep being very wonky. Oh and my new feature of sweating and freezing and sweating and freezing. Fun!
This morning I have a great outlook on life. And that’s my message to me: nothing has changed and the world is in my head. I have the power to make or break a day. Covid restrictions, financial uncertainty be damned.
I have been studying intuitive eating and this is offering freedom I’ve never known.
Even as a young girl, I was force-fed my food if I didn’t clean my plate, resulting in a lack of trust in myself. But I am working on my mindset and have never felt so free.
So, Hara, I hope you know that you’ve got this, whatever it is. 4 years ago today, Phillip proposed to you at your heaviest weight ever, because he’s always seen your beauty.
You are lovely, perfect. You are impatient, impulsive, creative, generous, faithful, funny, sexy and a myriad of other things and who cares about the size of your thighs?!
I see you. I am here for you when you feel like a lost little girl. And I am here when we’re to celebrate your victories, no matter how small.
Today, I will be present and accept what is, with my head held high, my shoulders back and eyes to God.
Today, I will love all of me, because I’m a miracle, a blessing.
Disliking your belly is as ridiculous as hating one of your fingers or your shin. No reason to pick apart the masterpiece. Only by comparison can you not be perfect.
Imagine a tree complaining about being too large or its leaves too flyaway. That tree is glorious with its sturdy trunk and beautiful leaves that arch towards the sun and sway in the breeze.
Or imagine a bear, hibernating for the winter, upset with himself because he wasn’t being more productive. That bear is being true to his nature.
Or imagine a beautiful hand-thrown clay jar, lovingly crafted, yet disappointed in it’s perceived flaws. Those very differences are what makes it so beautiful.
It’s the same for you and your lovely arrangement of features. Your thoughts are your problem, not your size.
So please trust yourself, my beautiful Hara. And trust that God made no mistakes. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, and you look exactly the way you’re supposed to look and your struggle is just part of the process. But you’re safe and I’m on this journey with you – a cheerleader in your corner; a friendly, smiling face in the crowd.
Give up everything you think you know and be open to your intuition. This is your one wild and precious life. You answer only to yourself. Your path is yours, however crooked it may appear.
Lovingly, thoughtfully, take care of yourself. Do what it takes. If it looks like lazy from the outside, know in your heart that you’re listening to your body and doing what it needs by resting. Take heed.
You are a great student and a great teacher. I’ll follow you. I’ll hold your hand. I’ll shelter you. I’ll kiss your tears away.
I will always love you, unconditionally. All of you. And I honor your struggle, but what is not to love? I see perfection, even while needing some improvement.
I’m so proud of you, Hara. You are light and love.
Oh, and I’ll let you in on a secret. I can see the future: you won’t always struggle. You’re on your way to freedom – like you’ve never known.
I’m so excited for you – for this path! Blessings are yours. Seize them and then revel in them. Don’t let a little weight fool you into thinking you’re any less than.
I love you,
Feature photo via Hara Allison Photography
Learn more about Hara Allison and view her work at hara.photography/