Often I have used “letter writing” as a journal exercise for myself, and I encourage both my coaching clients and journaling students to use it as a tool for self-discovery and a way of releasing thoughts and emotions .
In an age where texting and email reign as two of our main forms of interpersonal communication, letter writing is a novel experience for many people. However, for hundreds of years, the letter was the most personal, private and attentive way people shared the experiences of their lives and expressed their deepest feelings to another.
Without knowing the psychological and physical benefits of writing about meaningful experiences and sharing thoughts and feelings, for centuries people were engaging in a powerful, cathartic process.
Letter writing in your journal offers the opportunity to speak your mind and heart to another person without reserve, knowing that at the end of it you can sign off and close your journal. The information has been relayed, the experiences shared, the feelings expressed without having to fold the pages, put them in an envelope, stamp and send … because, of course, this letter is really about You rather than the person you are writing to.
You can use letter writing to speak to anyone with whom you have unresolved issues: a lost love, someone who has passed on, a broken relationship, a long, lost friend, a grumpy boss or a checked-out co-worker. Or, you can write a letter to an aspect of your Self: the child you once were, the inner child you carry with you now, your sadness, your unhappiness or your powerful self.
And, if you journal regularly, in the midst of writing an entry, you may use a letter any time you come up against a feeling towards another, or yourself, in order to hone in on an issue. The key is to express to “whomever” exactly what you need to, without reservation.
Energetically speaking, when we hold within us unexpressed thoughts and feelings about someone – good or bad – they can keep us unduly attached to that person or affect our energy exchange with others.
Here are two examples: If I have not released old feelings for a past love, this can affect my ability to offer love fully to someone new. Or, if I am holding on to unexpressed anger towards someone, that anger can leak out into other important relationships in my life.
I am not purporting that if you write an unsendable letter to someone, you will be completely clear and released of your thoughts and emotions concerning them, and that will be the end of it. I am saying that by giving voice on the page to what is unexpressed in you – good or bad – you will expand your awareness of what holds you back and what can move you forward to living a healthier, more balanced life.
Letter writing is a powerful tool to help you discover that awareness!