In celebration of their September birthdays, longtime Hallmark actresses Holly Robinson Peete and Autumn Reeser each shared touching letters on social media in recent days, revealing what they’d want to say if they could send a message to the girls they were growing up. Robinson Peete did the self-reflection exercise for her 59th birthday on September 18, 2023, and Reeser did the same thing a day before her September 21 birthday as she turned 43.
The act of writing to one’s past self has become a popular personal growth exercise meant to help people release regrets and realize how much they’ve grown and learned over time. According to Minneapolis therapist Charlotte Johnson, the practice can help work through ‘stuck points’ in therapy and begin to work towards healing a part of your inner self.”
Many celebrities, from actress Kate Bosworth to Paramore’s Hayley Williams have shared their letters on Instagram in recent months, and People magazine asked multiple stars to share their letters for its 2023 “Beautiful People” issue. CBS News also has a regular “Notes to Self” feature in which it asks public figures to write and share letters to their younger selves.
When Robinson Peete and Reeser shared their letters, along with photos of themselves in their youth, their vulnerability and wisdom inspired lots of fans and famous friends.
Autumn Reeser Writes Letter to Her 16-Year-Old Self
On September 20, Reeser posted a photo of herself as a teen and addressed her letter to her 16-year-old self, pointing out that at that age, she was focused on “creating perfection,” naively thinking that strategy would “somehow allow you to land unscathed on the shores of a land called Happy.”
“Your life will involve a series of initiations, starting at 33,” Reeser admitted to her younger self. “It will be harder than you can possibly imagine right now, but through this journey, you will discover the warrior within.”
Though the actress didn’t specifically describe the difficult circumstances she was referring to, Reeser has opened up in recent months about the healing journey she’s been on over the past decade. In June, during an interview on the “Some Kind of Mystic” podcast, Reeser said that starting therapy following her 2014 divorce from actor and producer Jesse Warren was the first step.
“Looking back, there were so many things that I would have liked to see be different that I was afraid to speak to and I wasn’t sure if I had the right to feel what I felt, what I wanted,” Reeser said. “I didn’t trust myself. I was afraid if I said, ‘Oh hey, I need you to be an equal partner in this way,’ I would be seen as selfish. And now I look back and I’m like, ‘That is just a normal, healthy relationship that you’re asking for.'”
In her poignant letter, Reeser noted that she didn’t believe in God as a teen “because of the repression and hypocrisy you see in most religious institutions.” But, she wrote, “it turns out that God believes in you. And that there are many many ways to create this connection.”
“In 2023 your life will be richer than you ever dreamed was possible,” Reeser told her younger self. “You will ask How did I get this lucky?? And this time, you will have the answer.”
She continued, “Your life will be a journey of remembering who you really are — and then helping others remember, too.”
Some of Reeser’s Hallmark colleagues and many fans commented on her post with praise and awe.
“Beautiful and inspiring to this 64 year old woman,” wrote one fan. “A lot I’d tell my younger self.. I thank God my parents started our journey of faith…feel it deeper now!🙏🏻🤍”
Another wrote, “Wow I love this so much Autumn 🙏🤍 what a beautiful journey you’re on and what a gift you are giving to the work by sharing it! We’re all walking each other home ✨ love seeing your Spirit shining so bright and true!”
Holly Robinson Peete Pens Emotional Letter to Herself as a Little Girl
Robinson Peete addressed her vulnerable letter to “Little Holly,” posting a series of photos of when she was a young girl and writing that she wanted to share “some wisdom and guidance” that she’s gained in her 59 years.
“Throughout your life, you will face numerous challenges and obstacles,” she wrote. “There will be moments when you question yourself, when you feel like giving up. But remember this, my dear younger self: it’s never as deep as it feels! In the face of adversity, dig deeper & find the strength to persevere. Mistakes will be made- BIG ones! They will become your teachers.”
Though the actress has enjoyed a successful entertainment career and nearly 30 years marriage to former NFL player Rodney Peete, her life has not been without challenges, including caring for her dad during his two-decade struggle with Parkinson’s Disease and figuring out how to help her autistic son RJ thrive, per USA Today.
Robinson Peete urged her younger self not to be afraid “to take risks and step out of your comfort zone,” adding that she’d learn and grow through studying, traveling, listening, and trusting herself. She also encouraged her younger self to cherish her family, who would always love her “unconditionally” through life’s ups and downs.
Like Reeser, Robinson Peete also addressed her personal faith journey, writing, “Nurture your faith in the way that you are comfortable. Your personal relationship with God is yours. Don’t allow others judgement to discourage or distract you. Practice grace, forgiveness & gratitude”
At the end of her letter, Robinson Peete added a little levity with a bit of financial advice.
“Oh …and buy Apple stock!! 😆” she quipped.
Robinson Peete received over 2,000 comments on her post, including from many famous friends.
Entrepreneur Tina Knowles, who’s also the mom of music superstar Beyoncé, wrote, “Happy Birthday my beautiful, kind , super smart ,Talented funny as hell friend. This letter is so you !!! It’s soo good!!!!!! It has been a blessing to know and love you these years. Here’s to 59 more to come ! I love you Holly ❤️❤️❤️”
QuestLove, drummer for The Roots, wrote, “Dear past/present/future Holly: Happiest Of Birthdays to you”
CBS News journalist Lisa Ling wrote, “Dear Little Holly, you are such a light in so many people’s lives! Thank you for being your awesome self!! Happiest Bday Mama!!!!”