Writing as Therapy

Writing to express yourself, ease pain, erase trauma and reflect and gain insight is a powerful form of therapy. This has been practice for years in the form  of journal keeping and has even been shown to positively effect the immune system. For some people dealing with certain issues, it may be too painful to try writing about them alone, without the help of  a counselor or therapist to help them deal with some of the thoughts and memories that may come rushing in, so while I encourage you to write, I want to strongly encourage you to stop writing and to seek help if it  becomes to much to deal with alone. I also want to share with you something I wrote a while ago to deal with the loss of a relationship when I didn’t really know what to do or what to feel, but I wanted to express myself in a safe place away from judgment and to ward off the feelings of depression and failure.

You told me that if I loved you, that if I believed in our love I’d let you go, knowing that someday you’d return. I didn’t want to. My heart told me not to, but I did because I wanted you to believe I was brave and confident that our love could endure both time and space apart. In reality I was petrified, afraid that letting you go would mean the end of us. Still, with trembling hands I let you go explore the world, hoping and praying that our love alone would bring you home. At first it wasn’t so bad. We emailed each other often, nothing much had seemed to change except your location, but then the emails became less frequent and our conversations seemed more distant. Eventually you stopped emailing me all together and the longer I went without communicating with you, the more it felt like I was suffocating from lack of your presence. I tried to stand strong in this growing abyss hoping that my strength in allowing you to explore would serve as a demonstration of my deep desire for you. And then you came back as promised, only this time something was different. The light in your eyes had faded along with your smile. I wasn’t going to say anything, hoping that our closeness would bring back both the light and your smile, but then you told me you met someone. I stopped breathing. I probably wouldn’t have taken another breath if you hadn’t told me to. My heart galloped inside of my chest as I saw the promise of us come to a crashing end. I wanted to remain positive, told myself that this too shall pass and somehow serve as a catalyst for what was surely to come… you and me, together forever. Somehow things didn’t workout that way. You continued to distance yourself from me, drawing closer to someone else. Months passed and I found the courage to email you again, asking simply how you were you doing. You replied with a few words I imagine, I hope were hard to type; “I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’m engaged to be married in June.” Time froze as I deciphered those words and allowed them to sink into my pores. I started to write you back, my words fast and angry, then I hit the delete key… thought for awhile and started again, this time my words more gentle, too gentle, too forgiving. Again I hit delete and just stared at that email for what felt like an eternity. I haven’t written you back or talked to you since, until now. Now I’ve found the words to express myself and let you know how I feel. I feel angry, disappointed, cheated and hurt, but none of those things will bring you back to me. None of those feelings will heal my heart. I love you, I probably will always love you, and when you asked me to let you go I never really did. I still hung on to a big part of you, but now I see that in order for me to heal I truly have to let you go as you have apparently let me go a long time ago. I want to be able to say I hope everything works out for you, but I can’t, at least not right now. I know that will change overtime, as soon as I fully let you go and convince myself that this too isn’t a catalyst for us to be together forever somehow, but the catalyst for me to move on with the rest of my life.

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90/10 Rule

Have you ever heard of the 90/10 rule? The 90/10 rule states that you have to take 90% responsibility for what is going wrong in your relationships with other people, your job, etc. It doesn’t mean that you are always wrong and other people are always right. What it suggests is that you examine yourself more so than pointing fingers, blaming and ridiculing others. This is important because the only person you can change is yourself! Let me give you an example of the 90/10 rule:

Suppose you are in a relation with someone that is going into it’s 7th year and you’re unhappy because after 7 years he still doesn’t respect you, he still lies to you about where he is, he still hasn’t set a date for your wedding and he still makes you cry when he ignores you…

The 90/10 rule would say that 90% of this is your fault, not blaming you, not punishing you, but saying you should take responsibility… take responsibility for staying with a man for so long who doesn’t respect you, take responsibility in the fact that you lied to yourself when you said he would change, take responsibility in the fact that perhaps you don’t like to be alone and therefore are willing to put up with someone who lies to you and keeps putting you off and again, take responsibility in the fact that your fear of being abandoned is what caused you the pain, anxiety and sadness that makes you cry when he ignores you. Now that this much responsibility is yours, what do you do with it? You change it! You stop giving him the power that has always been yours! You examine yourself and stop being a doormat, you deal with your anxiety and stop allowing yourself to be treated in a way in which you know you deserve better.

When you use the 90/10 rule you’ll start looking at all things different in your life. You’ll be able to stop being mad at people who won’t change and except that you had a big hand in all the chaos and YOU CAN CHANGE! You’ll start having conversations like: “You know, I want to apologize for being so angry with you for stringing me along for seven years. It’s my fault for being so afraid of being alone that I was willing to be hurt and hang all my hopes on a future with you. Now I know it’s really more about me than you and I refuse to be so afraid of being alone that I’m willing to be hurt. I have to deal with this issue on my own and that means being on my own, even if it hurts because I deserve so much more for myself.” Okay, maybe that’s a little corny, but I hope you get the idea. If you don’t, email me at newattitudecounseling@gmail.com and we can disuss the 90/10 rule in more detail. I’ve personally used the 90/10 rule to deal with some anxiety issues and it definitely works… it takes time and patients, but on the other side is freedom.