At the beginning of the year, I got a book recommendation from a friend and it opened my eyes in a new direction. It’s title? If You Find This Letter.
This book is a memoir by Hannah Brencher about her journey to find her purpose post-graduation, and how she found it through kindness and letters to strangers. Reading the news always makes me think to myself “yes, the world needs more love letters.”
Hannah graduated from college with a dream in her mind and a plan on how to achieve it. Like many of us, she realized that life doesn’t always go as planned, things are never as simple as they are in the movies, and even a path you’ve consciously chosen can feel wrong once you start to head down it.
Ultimately, I think most of us in life just want to figure out what makes us happy, how we can support ourselves by what makes us happy and what our purpose in life truly is. For Hannah, her purpose revealed itself through a path underscored by heartbreak, struggle, and loneliness.
She began to leave love letters she wrote for strangers. It started with noticing a woman on the subway in New York City who appeared to be having a hard time, experiencing emotions that mirrored Hannah’s. The woman stepped off the subway before Hannah could deliver her letter, but the idea stuck with her and she began to pen letters to strangers and leave them around the city.
Sounds crazy, right? Maybe it was. But for Hannah, these letters she began to write helped her learn what she valued at her core, how she is connected to the world and what gave her purpose. One day, she mentioned on her blog that she’d write anyone who needed one a love letter. These letters weren’t romantic, heart-filled or perfume-scented notes, but rather honest encouragements and reminders that the world is big, but one can still connect no matter the size of the ocean or the enormity of the sky.
How often can you say you’ve offered that to a friend, let alone a stranger? Sometimes we all need reminders to reach out and offer a hand.
Hannah posted her offer on her blog, and the rest was history. She found her purpose, launching the project, The World Needs More Love Letters, a space that connects people who write letters for those who need some words of kindness, encouragement, and love.
Here is my recommendation to you: read this book. If it resonates with you, lend it to a friend, or recommend it to someone else. If nothing else, take a moment to write a quick note to a loved one, whether it be an email, text, or even a post it, and tell them they are important to you, and remind them that you’re here and that you care. Then, make sure you try to spread kindness to someone else who might need it, even if you don’t know them.
A smile to a stranger can be a small gesture that can make a big impact. A nod of hello, holding the door for someone who is a few steps behind, the interactions don’t even have to include words. Notice one another. We are all here in the same space, trying to live our lives and find our purpose.