My parents divorced when I was a teenager, back in the day when divorce was almost unheard of. At that time, my father made the decision to stop all contact with me while continuing to see my brother. I was devastated and the hurt continued for a number of years. Over time, things got better - I think I stored all the hurt away in a locked box in my head somewhere - but occasionally I would look inside that box and be overwhelmed by my feelings of sadness and hurt, even though many years had passed.
Recently I realised I was taking up the role of the victim and decided to take the advice of a very wise man who suggested writing to my father to express my disappointment and explain the impact of his actions all those years ago. Then I was to let all of this 'stuff' go by symbolically burning the letter.
Last week, I did exactly that. And what happened was amazing. I started writing about the good bits I remembered about my childhood before the rift. Then I wrote about my sadness which was not just for me but for my father, too. Then for the first time, I tried to find a positive in the situation (it's taken a while!). To my amazement, I found one. At my core, I hold the conviction that no matter what happens, things will work out in the end. I will survive and come through any challenges stronger and happier. And while writing my letter, I chose to believe that this was the learning I needed to take from the situation. Finally, I can be grateful for the lessons of my past, stop feeling like a victim and let it go.
I am sharing this experience to encourage you to choose to find the positives in previous challenges before moving on. We all have faced troubles in the past. Some stay with us longer than is healthy. If like me, you have been hurt, perhaps writing a letter would help you, too. It might mean opening up that hidden box, but if it allows you to get rid of that box and grow, then it's worth the effort.