Pen To Paper

The art of a hand­writ­ten note is more than meets the eye. By Hit­omi Grace.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Contents -

“Lit­tle Ms. Grace, did you say ‘thank you’ to Aunt Pamela who sent over the polka-dot dress all the way from Lon­don for your birth­day? Dar­ling, let’s get out the letter set and write to her. That would re­ally make her day!” That was my mem­ory grow­ing up. Writ­ing deep thoughts in di­aries, let­ters to friends I miss half­way across the world, col­lect­ing in­spi­ra­tional quotes and mean­ing­ful lyrics, and tak­ing the time to share my ado­ra­tion and thank­ful­ness to those in­di­vid­u­als that have made a dif­fer­ence in my life. There was a lot of writ­ing, then.

Writ­ing has been the most pow­er­ful and in­flu­en­tial skill our so­ci­ety has ac­quired, with first find­ings dat­ing back to the an­cient Egyp­tian and Sume­rian civil­i­sa­tions, and also, the Chi­nese. The Euro­peans soon fol­lowed, and used it as a form of so­cial ex­pres­sion, in­cor­po­rat­ing hand­writ­ten let­ters and cards as part of their culture.

Af­fir­ma­tions that ex­tend from our minds and our hearts can be mood-al­ter­ing and life-chang­ing for the peo­ple with whom we find our­selves cross­ing paths, and it all leads to the ul­ti­mate emo­tion of ex­press­ing all our ap­pre­ci­a­tion—grat­i­tude, and two hum­ble words, “thank you”. Writ­ing thank you notes can be about any­thing and ev­ery­thing. That is the beauty of it. It’s what you want to share with some­one, or even your­self. If only we could all see, be­hind those closed doors, the re­ac­tions of the peo­ple we send our cards to—the melt­ing hearts, the tears, the laugh­ter, cheesy smiles, or even a lit­tle dance? Open­ing a hand­writ­ten card is like be­ing kissed on the fore­head, to be re­as­sured: ev­ery­thing will be okay.

Words of grat­i­tude from well-known women of our past and present, re­mind us how last­ing it can be for the fu­ture—cap­ti­vat­ing, mem­o­rable, en­cour­ag­ing, and truly in­spi­ra­tional to all.

Grat­i­tude is psy­chol­ogy magic. It is be­ing thank­ful, show­ing ap­pre­ci­a­tion, and to re­turn kind­ness. It does won­ders not only for oth­ers, but also for our own spirit. Grab the ball­point and blank mono­grammed cards out and write away. The pos­i­tiv­ity it cre­ates can cure the deep­est blues and en­cour­age hap­pi­ness that will only el­e­vate us to higher places. All life­style, busi­ness coach­ing, and psy­chol­ogy writ­ings will un­fail­ingly im­part the im­por­tance of ex­press­ing our thank­ful­ness for a healthy men­tal fu­ture. Hav­ing good man­ners is one thing, com­mu­ni­cat­ing it through writ­ing is tak­ing it to the next level of build­ing pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ships. Time to get that #Gir­lBoss out­look go­ing!

Our world may have evolved from paper jour­nal­ing to on­line broad­cast­ing, but why don’t you put back the sparkle and sig­nif­i­cance in re­ceiv­ing a hand­writ­ten card? Grat­i­tude ex­er­cises have al­ways in­cluded writ­ing thank you cards as one of their top ac­tiv­i­ties, and sta­tionery never left us, while writ­ing cards are to­tally back in fash­ion. Strap on those high heels for a walk out to the café, set­tle com­fort­ably into a seat, get nos­tal­gic with the clouds, and write away with a cup of cof­fee or a de­li­cious glass of red to keep you in good com­pany.

These words of thanks that you write to­day can make a dif­fer­ence to you and some­body else’s life in a pos­i­tive way to­mor­row. So, where have you been keep­ing the grat­i­tude notes you’ve re­ceived? In be­tween pages of your di­ary, hid­ing in draw­ers, or in a shoe box?

To­day, I would like to say “thank you” to the barista who added a com­pli­men­tary splash of hazel­nut syrup into my long mac­chi­ato to add a lit­tle sweet­ness to my day. I will catch your name next time.

The ever-grace­ful Audrey Hep­burn with a bouquet of roses in 1965

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