Okay I am finally getting it together to write the most important tools I have found to help me be at peace. Here they are. There are lots more tools to add to our tool kit–lets compile the ones that really work and are easy to learn and cheap!
Step 1. Express anger constructively
I think one of the biggest problems in the world is that people don’t express anger in a way that is helpful. I believe that anger can be a great gift to tell us that we are yearning for something we want. It is highly possible that our greatest need is to love and be loved, and when we are angry we are crying out for that need to be met in a tragic way.
The love letter is something I have found time after time to help me transform anger into love. This technique was introduced to me when I attended Jack Canfield’s self esteem seminars about thirty years ago. It was created by John Grey, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Keep in mind that the first draft is probably not what you are going to give to someone. In fact, you might not even be able or choose to give the letter to someone. But you will change yourself and the relationship if you are willing to put some effort into this.
Grey’s “love letter” technique has five stages.
- Anger: The start of the letter is where the writer communicates his or her feelings of anger, resentment and blame at the other person. It basically involves variations of the sentiment “I don’t like it when you…..” I like to say really nasty, uncensored things here. Its fun to give myself permission to say cuss words that I normally would not use.
- 2. Hurt and sadness: In the second section of the letter, the writer describes any feelings of sadness, hurt or disappointment that are present. “I feel sad when you….” is one example of a typical second-section sentence.
- 3. Fear: This next section lists fears and insecurities that the writer feels. “I feel scared when you…..”
4. Guilt, remorse: In this section the writer shares any feelings of responsibility and remorse. “I’m sorry that I…..” or “I regret….” are typical examples of ways to begin a sentence in this section. Here’s a chance to ask for forgiveness.
5. Love: The last section is the appropriate place for the writer to describe feelings of love, forgiveness and understanding. “I forgive you for…..” or “I really care about you and want to work this out” are good examples. The end of the letter is also the place to state a simple request or desire for an action on the part of the reader. “I would like you to….
I am going to add step six—and that is prayers. I would pray to be able to re-write this letter in such a way that communicates the vulnerable feelings in a way that the receiver can understand and trust. Of course, any other prayers such as a deep desire for reconciliation, healing, transformation of the relationship would be great.
Step 2. Learn Nonviolent communication. The bottom line of this model is that everyone is either requesting love or offering love—but often in tragic ways. By seeing people as little children in big bodies when they do things that you feel uncomfortable about—and responding with empathy and telling the truth in love—it helps you to really love people in an authentic way.
There is a free overview and course in Nonviolent Communication Skills Online
Take care of your body. It is much easier to prevent uncomfortable emotions and negative thoughts when you are healthy. Check out www.hacres.com for a great guide to being healthy.
Live simply. Find ways to live closer to the earth. Downsize. See what you really need. Find out what is important. Define you values. Set goals and focus.
Read THE SHACK. Realize that there is a Creator God who loves you so so much, and every one so so much. Start living as if you are loved and God is intimately involved with your life. Follow your heart which may just lead you to enter into a relationship with Jesus as your best friend. I have experienced that with Jesus help I am able to be more consistent in the first four steps.