I believe we all are on a spiritual as well as a physical path. I believe it always starts with the spiritual and then manifests into the physical.
One of the hardest things I’ve found to manifest is communicating clearly how I feel and what I’m thinking, especially to those close to me.
I’m a fairly good writer so it’s easy to assume that my overall communication would be fairly good too, but that’s not true. It’s important though for my well-being and yours of course, to be honest with ourselves about our feelings and emotions.
This is the time of year, where sometimes we have to have difficult conversations. A relative might have a tendency to over-indulge in drinking alcohol and you’d like him or her to “take it down” a little when visiting because you’d prefer to not have a scene in front of your kids.
You may be have had a “falling out” with a friend and would like to have them over for Christmas, but since “the incident” you haven’t been able to speak directly to what has happened and now there is an uncomfortable space that is growing between the two of you.
These are wonderful opportunities for us to speak our truth, without feeling guilty; this is a fabulous time for us to forgive and let go of any toxic or unwanted feelings that we might be harboring.
John O’Connell created a unique system for taking the thoughts from your head and turning them into a plan for having difficult conversations, through a system called:
“Letters to Loved Ones.”
Here’s how it works (you can check out my source for this wonderful suggestion by clicking the link above): Get out a pad of paper and your favorite pen. Pick a loved one to write to. Start the first paragraph with something positive—a compliment, a fond memory, a promised they fulfilled. Thank them for their gifts, and all of the ways they lift you up.
In the second paragraph, enter the “difficult.” Ask them for something that you need. Tell them something they need to hear. Open up about decisions you’ve made that negatively affected them, and explain why you made those decisions. Ask for their forgiveness and their help.
Finally, in the last paragraph, finish with another positive. Tell them how indispensable they are, and how they positively influence the lives around them. Thank them again for their unwavering support.
Please note: You’re not SHARING the letter but in writing it out, you clarify your thoughts and feelings, get to make changes knowing that you’ve organized your thoughts in such a way that won’t hurt anyone feelings and you also ensure that you understand and feel confident in what you’re saying. That’s a wonderful feeling!
You can see an actual letter in the post here.
What I realize is when you write things out, using a pen and paper, you connect head to heart and you can truly organize your thoughts and not feel all confused and muddled.
I’m definitely going to try this method. I am a very passionate person and sometimes if I don’t organize my thoughts I end up ranting for hours and burdening others with basically a “feelings dump”, which becomes unhelpful and draining.
The other thing is I have a tendency to want to solve and fix challenges. If someone comes to me with a problem or if they share a situation, I immediately want to tell them how to FIX it!
We have to ask people first if they want our input. My eldest brother, God bless him, would often offer advice which he complained I’d never take! LOL
Wendyne Limber, Marriage and Family Therapist shares in her work “Intimacy without Responsibility”:
If you try to teach me first, I may not hear you, and I may even be resentful of you as the authority, trying to parent me, especially if I do not believe in myself or have low self worth. When you try to teach me or give me your opinion too soon, you are taking away my power to think for myself or solve my own problems. When you feel responsible or obligated to fix me, that is really about your need, not me.
The time will come when I really do want your important information about a subject, or your ideas about what I could do. And notice, I say COULD Vs. SHOULD… because should is a judgment and could is an opportunity.
Today is an opportunity to do better. Sometimes when we are walking the darkest path, we find just the tools we need to shake off our past and grow!