I read online that Hannah Brencher wrote thousands of love letters to be received by random strangers in an attempt to fight off her own feelings of loneliness and depression. She left them all over #NYC where strangers would find them in the most random and unlikely places. I loved the idea but wanted to take it one step further… What if I hand delivered these love notes to strangers all around the city. What would people’s response be? Would they be open to receiving them? Would they think I had some other agenda?
I started with twenty that all said something different. I kept thinking: What would I want to hear? What would make me smile? And I wrote with that intention. My plan was to go to Union Square and then walk down to Washington Square Park, as I really thought the task would be easy. I could potentially deliver all of them in under an hour. Boy, was I wrong!
I waked up to people who were usually alone, as to not interrupt someone in mid-conversation. I began, “Excuse me, would you like a love note?” The first woman nodded and said, “Sure!” Great, I thought… This will be easy. Next few people all said, “No, thank you.” Okay, I understand people don’t want to bothered but I had to follow up with, “It’s just positive words of encouragement…” and they walked away.
My next few attempts were mixed with half of the people accepting and the other half, couldn’t be bothered. I looked down after two hours and had thirteen love notes left!!! Omg! How can I get rid of these?
I walked up to two older couples sitting and enjoying the view. “Excuse me, would you like a love note?” To which the old man replied, “Save it for your boyfriend!” I said, “It’s just positive loving words….” He said, “No, we’re not interested!” Ouch. That hurt.
I walked away feeling my heart begin to close. Why did I want to do this again? What was the point? Maybe I should just stop and forget about it. Maybe everyone is right…People are harsh. People don’t care.
And then I asked the universe, but why am I like this? Why do I constantly put myself out there like this and just get hurt? And I heard a little whisper…Because it’s who you are and you are needed. Don’t let one person stop you… Keep going.
Today, after my class I headed to a coffee shop to do some work. I pulled out my love notes and had eight left. Ugh… But then I remembered what one said: love is all around you. Adjust your focus, see things differently.
I turned to the lovely girl sitting next to me, “Excuse me, would you like a hand-written love note?” “OMG, I’d LOVE one, thank you…I’m having such a bad day!” Finally, someone who genuinely wants one. I picked one especially for her and she said held it to her heart, “I love it.” She folded it up and put it in her wallet.
We began talking and I told her about my challenge and about the rudeness I had been receiving. She said, “What about approaching the people in this cafe?” I looked around, feeling uplifted by her suggestion and said, “Okay, let’s see if I can give them all away here!”
I approached each table with a little more confidence and sure enough, every single person I asked, enthusiastically replied, “OMG, YES!!! That is so sweet!!” I delivered all eight in under a five minutes. I couldn’t believe it!
I walked back to my new friend, Martina and we gave each other a high-five! And then it hit me…To keep your heart open means you let it all in – the good, the bad, the indifferent and everything in between. And if I didn’t feel that moment of harshness, I could have never appreciated this moment of victory. We are in fact, ALL needed.