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Dear John Letter to Negativity


One technique I use with clients who want to change an unwanted behavior or release a negative emotion is to write a break-up letter to it. Just as if you were writing a break up letter to a person, it should include the usual, "it's not you, it's me" sort of ideas, such as why you needed it, what purpose it served in your life, and why you can no longer continue the relationship. Be gentle--I'm sure the relationship had its pluses. Here is an example from one of my clients.

Dear Lethargy,

Thank you for the time we shared together. You attracted me with the shrug of your shoulders, your slow pace, and your “who cares” attitude. When I think of us, I will remember all the time spent in bed or cuddled up on the couch watching T.V. Our bond grew stronger the worse I looked or the less I did. In fact, you continually assured me that you would be right by my side no matter how bad things got. Your low expectations were what I needed then but my heart tells me that it’s time for us to go our separate ways.

I very recently ran into Life and Purpose. We hadn’t seen each other for a while and, as we started talking, a familiar sense of hope and excitement returned. They have a light and a joy that is infectious and it made me recall why I first fell in love with them. They speak with such enthusiasm about Spirit, and art, and talent, and dreams. They encourage me to grow, and laugh, and participate. Sometimes they scare the heck out of me but I know that I can’t thrive without them.

Please don’t think that I lack appreciation for you getting me through one of the most difficult times in my life but, now, I desire more than the idleness we shared. I choose to believe that I deserve more and, amazingly enough, I feel as though I have something to offer. I wish you well and, if I ever see you with someone new, I will be kind and understanding because I know that your listlessness and empty gaze are wrapping and tending to an unseen wound. May grace and peace always follow.