Thursday, January 05, 2012

Thursday Thought: Unsent Letters

When you get mad what do you do? Call your mom and vent to her? Wait til your husband gets home and tell him all about it? Tell your best friend? Hash it out internally, practicing all your best put-downs as you imagine the conversation you would have with the offending party?
One thing I've recently hit on is writing the person an email you never intend to send. Open up your compose screen and start writing. Say it all. Get it out. Tell them just what you think, how you feel, and your version of what happened. Vent.

But for goodness sake, do not put their name in the recipient's box. Don't want that puppy getting accidentally sent out, do you? Of course not. The letter, you see, isn't really meant for them. It's meant for you. Your feelings are valid. Your emotions need to work their way out. Repressing and ignoring them isn't going to help. This gives you a safe place to work through it all. You can be as ugly as you need to be, this isn't the time for censoring yourself. You can even cuss if you want to.
After you've written your letter, hit "save draft" and let it stew in your inbox for a few days. Then go back and read it, and be glad that you didn't send that email. Because in a few days you've calmed down. You've had a chance to maybe see the other side of things. You've processed it and a cooler head has prevailed. Most likely you'll just delete the dumb thing, shaking your head at what a difference a day or two can make.

We all get angry, we all get wronged, we all struggle to put things in perspective at times. And when we do it's nice to have something to do with all those feelings. Next time you're struggling with something, try the unsent letter option. You might find it gives you a place to work out all that hurt, without hurting anyone else.

The holidays are notoriously a time for hurt feelings. The increased exposure to family, the party invites and spending stress, the busy schedules can all bring things to the surface. If you've got a bone to pick with someone, try this method. It just might help you not say something you ordinarily would. It might just save a relationship and your reputation.

Say it. Just don't say it directly to them.
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amy said...

oh girl....have a funny to tell ya about that plan!!!

Pam said...

It truly works! Done it many times.

merlin said...

It can be helpful to burn the letter afterward, a symbolic letting go of the hurt,anger, spent emotion(s), whatever they may be. Truthfully, this is advice given to me, not practiced. I, frankly, seem to need to hold onto all of the emotional junk, even writing it down can legitimize it for me, but 2012 is going to see my letting go. 2012 I live in the present not the past.