Got emotional baggage? Don’t we all? Feel sad sometimes, lost, disappointed, full of regrets?
Yeah, I do. Sorry, to keep going on in this vein. But hey, that’s the way it is.
I have an assignment to work on mine. It’s an exercise my therapist has given me. It is, as he explains, a way to help me say good bye to and moved past the unfinished emotional issues surrounding relationships or situations in my life that cause pain. He follows an exercise laid out in The Grief Recovery Handbook. I’m not looking forward to it, but it could be helpful and illuminating.
Basically, I choose a person with whom I have a relationship or a situation over which I have baggage.
Then I, first, list all the resentments I have towards that relationship or situation; everything I am angry about or have been hurt by.
Next, I list regrets over that relationship or situation. Third, I list all the significant emotional statements I have around the resentments and regrets: “I felt hurt when you . . . I love you for . . .I appreciate you for . . . I hate you for not …”
Then I have to write a letter to that person, which I will never give to them; it’s just for my own purposes, my own personal cleaning up. In that letter, I list the resentments, regrets and emotions around them, but I also turn each resentment into a forgiveness and each regret into an apology. So, in a sense, I take responsibility for my part in causing my own pain and I let go of any anger I’m still holding onto.
I have to read this letter aloud to someone I trust.
The idea of writing out all these icky, uncomfortable, painful thoughts is to get them out of my head, out of the rumination and the imaginary conversations I’m having over this person or situation. And, I hope, once I get them out of my head, I’ll be able to let go of the feelings and put them off in a place where I can see everything else more clearly.
As I said, I’m not looking forward to this exercise, but it has to be done.