A common technique that is very therapeutic and works almost every time to help people who are struggling in their relationships with others is to sit down without any distractions and write a letter that person. No, do not sit at your computer and and do this because with the computer comes many distractions (emails, Facebook, etc). For this to truly work for you, you must not be distracted or else your true feelings will not manifest themselves.
I’m talking about good old fashioned pen and paper, you, and a table or desk. You see, when you write with a pen or pencil, your brain has to focus on what you are doing in order to move the muscles in your hands correctly to actually make the writing motion. This is happening all while your brain is focusing on what you want it to write. This way your thoughts will be much clearer and you will write what you are truly feeling. Also you will have to truly think about what you are writing, which makes it more meaningful for you. This is why us Pastors always encourage people to take notes on the sermons. If you do not, you will have forgotten what we just said about 10 minutes into your ride on the way home from church!! Trust me, this is a statistic that have been proven time and again. If you want to remember something, or focus on something, write it down!
The point of this exercise is for you to really say what you want to say to the other person: – write exactly how you are feeling including every emotion (sad, mad, scared, fearful, depressed) let them know every emotion you are feeling right at this moment
– write exactly why you think things are currently going bad between you and that person (this would be the reason you are currently not getting along with this person) Be very specific and not general
– write down what you think the other person is currently doing wrong in the relationship. Example, “I just do not feel like you truly listen to me when I speak to you”
– write down why the relationship with them is important to you in the first place. Example, “I love you, you mean the world to me, and I count on you to cheer me up when I am down”
– write down what you feel has to happen before you think the two of you can reconcile the relationship. Example, “I truly need for you to apologize to me for what you said before we can move forward with this relationship”
– write down what you think you might have done wrong to get to where you are now. Example, “I realize I was short with you and yelled at you and I should not have done that”
– write down what you think you could be doing differently to strengthen the relationship. Example, “Going forward I think I that when I begin to feel angry it would be better for me to tell you I’m getting angry and that we should finish our conversation after I have calmed down”
– and finally write down exactly how you feel about the other person, again listing out every emotion. Example, “I cannot imagine not having you in my life”
Take your letter, fold it up and put it in a drawer until the next day.
Now I want you to get the letter out, hand it to yourself and I want you to read it as if you were the other person receiving this letter from you. This technique forces you to change your focus from yourself to the other person. As you read the letter imagine how they would be feeling as they read it – would it make them sad, angry, relieved, depressed? Really think this through as you read the letter. Read it a second time doing the same thing, thinking it through from their perspective.
I promise you when you finish this exercise not only will you feel better, but you will have learned quite a bit about yourself, the person you are currently struggling with, and you will be better prepared to talk face to face with the person about the issues when that time comes.
Keep the letter around by the way. They always make good reading later.
Finally, always remember that God loves you, AND God loves the person you are currently struggling with just as much. Always keep this in mind as you write and as you talk with people you are struggling with. When you give grace to them, just as God gives grace to you, you will often find that the reasons you are struggling with the other person seem to matter less and less.
Pastor Brad Komgenick