Letters of Love – Our Experience

We were a team of 5 of us working behind the scenes on the Letters of Love campaign and amidst these trying times facilitating this project uplifted us in deep and beautiful ways. Here is a reflection from one of our team mates, Andrea.

As the country was headed into a lockdown, uncertainty, fear and anxiety loomed large and we needed help and support from each other more than ever. But how do you be there for each other when social isolation is mandatory? Writing digital letters of love seemed like a really great way.

Being an introvert myself, having a lot of time to myself honestly seemed amazing. But a few weeks into the lockdown, I started to find myself falling into a negative spiral. The isolation plus the problems of life started to get to me. Reading some of the requests that came in at that time, I could see that I could relate to so many people, it made me feel like I wasn’t alone, and through the letters, I hope that I could make them feel like they weren’t alone too.

I didn’t expect the effects of the initiative to be so tangible in my life. In writing letters of love, hope, kindness and understanding, I found that I myself began to feel more encouraged. As I was writing to someone else, I myself was hearing my own words, and it lifted my spirits. In hearing the responses of other letter writers in the community, I found that others too found that the practice of writing letters of hope helped them see the lighter side of  life through their own struggles. I found too that my speech became a little more kinder.

Writing the letters filled with support and positivity was uplifting as well as interacting with a group of enthusiastic writers was refreshing especially in contrast to daily life where people don’t always prioritize patience and kindness in conversation. It was amazing to see so many writers send in letters week after week and give their time and efforts selflessly.

Through writing the letters to strangers, there is certain care and connection you feel towards the recipient. An unexpected bond with someone you’ve never met. Hearing the impact that your words have had on others, that it made their day or brought tears to their eyes, it’s such a lovely way to interact. It’s lovely to live in a world where we support each other, without any agenda other than to make someone smile that day or to remind them of their own strength.

I am enough and so are you

One Kind Circle – Body Positivity (Goa)

We all sometimes have that lingering feeling in us, that we are not enough, and more often than not that voice can be in the form of judgemental peers, overly critical parents, insensitive friends and our own harsh selves. Body-Shaming is something that we all go through. The media bombards us with images of a very narrow spectrum of what beauty looks like. Subjecting ourselves to those words and standards can change our perspective so much so that it changes the way that we see ourselves. It is enough to make a person fixate and obsess over the external, and we forget that we are much more than that.

A group of us got together over coffee to discuss these issues as they occur, as well as ways to deal with them. Through the discussion it become apparent that this is an issue that plagues almost everybody, men, women and children alike. Some forms of body shaming may stem from good intentions but the outcome can be the same. It can come from the outside world as much as it can come from a close family member. We cannot control what others say to us, therefore body shaming is something that cannot be entirely stopped.

What we can control, is how we take in this information. We can take this negative energy in a positive manner. We could take this as a reminder that we need to be healthy, and take care of body, mind and soul and if we are already on the right track, we could use this as opportunity to pat ourselves on the back. We could also practice being mentally strong at times like these. We have to remind ourselves of our own beauty and strength when others may say otherwise. It is through self-love and realization of our self-worth that we can see that the way we look is only a small part of who we are. Through self-love, we can also extend that acceptance outwards and control what and how we address others. We can aim to be the change we want to see by being kinder and more considerate in delivering our opinions towards others, while still being honest.

We realized that, as difficult it is to stay strong through being body-shamed as an adult, it is even more confusing and difficult to face as a child. It is not uncommon for young children to be exposed to harsh criticism regarding their appearance, by their own peers, the television or even by adults. Teaching children about Body Positivity, can help them not to internalize it. Therefore, it is necessary, to equip children with the tools necessary to stay strong, to expand their idea of what beauty means and to teach them to be kind to others too in their words and in their actions.

The theme of the event was, ‘I am enough and so are you’. So let’s work in the hope that we are all able to get to a place where we can say just that. That right now, we are beautiful the way we are.