Writing love notes to my body was my entry onto the body-acceptance path. I knew I wanted a different relationship with my body, but I had no idea how to get started.
I considered how people fall in love. The whole courtship and wooing thing. Writing love notes has always been a direct way to my heart. Something about seeing love declared on the page makes me melt. One of my favorite memories with my husband was the year we took turns making lunch for each other. We’d leave little love notes in the other’s lunchbox. Extra points for when they were punny.
“I’m bananas for you” written on the banana peel. “You make me melt like butter” on baked potato day. “I doughnut know what I’d do without you” on a sweet-treat day.
With that memory in mind, I decided I would attempt to love my body by writing her love notes.
Except writing to my body felt overwhelming. I had already written a “history” of my body and was still reeling from the experience. It was angry and wounded and raw and way too much to wade through.
I wanted to tiptoe my way into this healing process, so I made the decision to write to my body’s parts instead of my whole entire body.
Over the years, I’ve read so many benefits to journaling. It’s always been an intuitive action for me, one I’d take whenever I had something to process.
Well, not always. There was over a decade that I didn’t write anything more than academic papers, and a couple of decades that I didn’t journal. But that’s a story for another time, one you could read in the “Dear Voice” essay of Love Letters to My Body.
Writing, journaling specifically, is a path to healing.
There are studies to support the therapeutic benefits, such as reduced stress and better sleep. Also, some studies have shown support for journaling to heal from trauma.
Here’s why journaling helped me heal my relationship with my body.
1. It helped me get my thoughts in one place.
They were no longer swimming in my head. I could reread them and get curious about them. I could examine my beliefs about my body and determine if those beliefs were mine, or something I’d picked up from another source.
2. It made my thoughts visible.
No longer were my thoughts about my body nebulous negativity. I was very clear about what parts I liked, what parts I hated, what parts I was grateful for, and what parts I wanted to change.
3. It helped me establish a connection with my body.
Journaling turned into a written conversation I was having with my body. It shifted my feelings so that my body became “her,” rather than “it.” I realized that there was no escaping my body, no matter how much time I’d spent disassociated from her, making all my decisions via my mind. Instead, I learned that my body had things to say too. Wisdom to share.
Love notes, you say?
Yes, love notes. Sort of. Sometimes, I wrote hate notes instead.
While I wanted to write loving notes, I wanted to write honest notes more. Deep, authentic relationships are built on honest foundations. I didn’t want to bypass the pain I carried in my body and pretend that I loved her when I didn’t.
Plus, I figured that she already knew how I felt about her. It wasn’t some big secret. I’d been clamoring nastiness at her for most of my life. She was strong enough to handle some heartfelt, soul-searching notes about the places in her that hurt.
I often kept it simple. One or two sentences would suffice. Somedays I had loads to say and those notes transformed into letters. I didn’t set any rules around the love-note writing other than to show up as truthfully as I could.
As I began to write, I realized that even when I hated a particular body part, or held a lot of anger or grief around it, I could often find something to be grateful for too. I had the capacity to hold both feelings.
I could be curious about what I was feeling and why. Then I could process the anger or grief or resentment. And I could soften toward that part. Which paved the way for a more accepting relationship with my body. Which has led to a more loving relationship with my body.
Benefit of Writing to One Body Part at a Time
I mentioned how overwhelmed I felt when I thought about writing to my body as a whole. There was too much to process, and I shut down.
But writing to my body’s parts individually allowed me to use a trauma-informed approach to my healing.
This process is called titration. It asks you to move slowly through your healing process; to dip into the experience and then dip out, in small increments; to pause and notice what’s going on in your body during the experience.
I didn’t know about titration when I began this process, but intuitively, I knew this was the best approach for me. It helped me maintain a consistent journaling practice, and it alerted me to the wounds that were too much for me to work through alone so that I could seek help as needed.
How to Get Started
You just need a notebook and something to write with. Set aside time to journal each day. I found it easiest to write for a few minutes most mornings, but you may prefer a different schedule. Or no schedule at all.
If you need ideas to get started, check out my guided journal, Writing Your Way to Self-Love.
You can also connect with me on Instagram and read lots of body love note examples there.
A Few Reminders
Making peace with your body is a journey. There’s no set number of notes to journal. There’s no “right” way to do this. There’s no finish line to cross.
Remember that you can offer yourself love even if you don’t love your body. Offering love and actually loving are two different experiences.
You have permission (in case you need it) to show up on the page however you need to.
I’d love to support you in this process, so please reach out and share how your journaling experience is going.