As I walk my patients through grief, anger, forgiveness, and the like, I often find guiding them through journaling out loud can be incredibly cathartic and healing. I adapt one or both of the letter templates below depending on what we’re addressing (grief, forgiveness, amends, anger, compassion, etc) and in nearly every instance, the experience is heightened compassion and forgiveness of self or other, support through grief processing, etc. Hope you find one or both helpful! Please note, the Release with Love Letter is described in more detail and with follow-up work in a separate blog post here.
Start with 1-2 sentences explaining the nature and intent of the letter; state your need and compassion for partner’s. “I’d imagine we both have a need for…”
Communicate feelings of anger, resentment and blame at the other person:
“I don’t like it/I feel frustrated when you…..”
Hurt and Sadness:
Describe any feelings of sadness, hurt or disappointment.
“I get sad when you….”
List fears & insecurities
“I get scared when you…..”
Guilt and Remorse:
Share any feelings of responsibility, regret & remorse.
“I’m sorry that I…..” or “I regret….”
Describe feelings of love, forgiveness & understanding.
“I forgive you for…..” or “I really care about you & want to work this out.”
Might also state a simple request or desire for an action: “I would like you to…..”
“I don’t like it/I feel frustrated when you…..” “I get sad when you….” “I get scared when you…..”“I’m sorry that I…..” or “I regret….” “I forgive you for…..” or “I really care about you & want to work this out.” “I would like you to…..”
If the relationship / person is gone, consider writing the Release With Love Letter written by Dr. Elicia Nademin while in the course of supporting patients in processing through grief. This letter can be safely destroyed after writing. Best to do so in a way or setting that feels healing.
What I miss most about you is ……. What I regret most is …… I wish …… I remember you each time I …… You made me a better person by …… I will honor you/your memory by …… [name something you will do/see/communicate]. Thank you for being my friend/partner/lover/mentor/[name valued relationship]. I release you with love and pray for your peace [until we meet again…this final part can be altered/deleted depending on your faith system].
Y (aka Your Name)”