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Why Are Letters So Powerful?

By October 8, 2021No Comments

It’s called a lost art for a reason.

Bill, bill, donation request, catalog, bill… a card from a friend!

Hopefully you’ve experienced the elation of receiving an unsolicited note in the mail. But why does it feel so good? A few reasons…

Letters take effort, and effort is an expression of caring. While it’s absolutely thoughtful to thumb a quick text checking in with a friend, the fact that letter writing is more labor intensive (find stationary! sit down and write! locate stamp! place in mailbox!) makes it even more special.

Writing by hand is different. Punching out an email has become second nature to us. Our brains and our fingers are in sync, and it’s expected that you edit before pressing send. Putting pen to paper is different. Our hands don’t write as quickly, which gives our brains more time to decide what to say. And since there’s no “delete” button, the written word takes more patience and thought. You might find that the content you write varies greatly when it’s by hand versus the computer.

Letters in the mail break up the monotony. For people going through rough times, particularly medical difficulties, the mailbox can be a source of stress. Bills can come fast and furiously. Coming across a letter filled with love and caring can be an antidote and provide an instant smile exactly at the moment a person needs it.

Mailing correspondence allows a person to read it in their own time. Email has created an expectation that the recipient will get your email, read it, and respond to it on the sender’s schedule. And inboxes fill up fast. Which means that, while a thoughtful email might be nice, it can nonetheless bring a little consternation. Letters sent in the mail are different. A recipient can read it when they feel ready. And the timeline for replying is extended. (Although with a Letter of Love, responses from recipients are not mandatory.)

Handwritten notes relay your personality. From the stationery you choose, the stamp design affixed to the envelope, your penmanship and any doodles you include—letters are all about letting your personality shine. Lean into it! Get pretty paper in handsome colors. Draw flowers in the corners and color them in with highlighters. Find a word scramble and circle the letters that spell out emotive words. As much as letters are about the recipient, they are equally about the sender.

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