I am an advocate of journaling. I have so many different journals spread all across my house. I find it the best way to work through things that are caught up in my head. Admittedly, some things take longer than others. But each time I sit down and write about it, it is therapeutic. One technique I find helpful is the unsent letter. Writing a letter to a person who you feel has wronged you, that you find you have trouble speaking to in person, who has passed away, or maybe even someone you have never met can be very helpful. Sometimes I’m shocked at what I find I want to say. Sometimes I find it helps me organize my thoughts. But each and every time I find it helps me get what I’ve been keeping inside out of me.
A friend of mine shared a letter she wrote to someone. I was incredibly honored that she feels she can trust me with such a private thing. I’ve written so many letters since I started keeping a journal. As much as I wanted to share them with people (and not just the person I was writing to) I always held back. I haven’t even read any of them to my therapist, I always seem to “forget” to have the journal with me.
You don’t have to restrict yourself to just a letter. Try writing a dialog with the person where you speak not only for yourself but for him/her as well. This helps me get a better handle on both sides of the story. You can also try to rewrite the way the story ends for you. I find it empowering to have control over a situation that previously left me feeling helpless. I’ve also incorporated some people as characters into stories I was working on. This helped me to take out some aggression, get some sense of satisfaction, and move my plot along when I was all worked up over something that was distracting me from writing.
Remember, the unsent letter is just that – a letter you don’t have to send. If after a period of time has passed, and you feel this letter NEEDS to be sent, that’s up to you. But just because you wrote the letter, that doesn’t mean it has to be put in and envelope or copy/pasted into an email or anything. You can tear it up, burn it or bury it. Hell, you can even mail it off to Santa if you want. If you really want you can write that letter over and over and over, writing it once doesn’t mean you can’t do it again.
If you’re interested in reading some unsent letters, all you have to do is type it into Google and you’ll get plenty of blogs, tumblrs etc on the topic. Just skip over the stuff with World of Warcraft, apparently it’s also the name of an old quest.