“Writing letters has helped me to vocalize my hurt. I can only say this process works and heals you.
One day you don’t even feel the pain, or stop looking at it as pain.”
-A participant of ‘Shifa ke Khat/ Letters that heal’ workshop
Written by: Manmeet, (Writer, Poet, Soch Facilitator)
Life at times can feel like a tough, long and lonely journey. We crave and seek for a companion. The mistake we make is we constantly search for that companion outside. That companion can be found miraculously through words and can be found inside our very own self.
Writing letters to oneself has long been proven to be therapeutic but here I am also talking from my personal experience. Right from my teenage days, I have been pouring my emotions on paper in the form of a journal. May it be a heartbreak, a fight between my parents, a misunderstanding with a friend, or my self-consciousness about my weight, I somehow kept talking to my diary. Then later I began writing letters to myself creating two identities- one who wrote the letter and the other who listened.
I found the most trustworthy, compassionate and non-judgmental friend in myself.
I could say anything I wanted to the paper in front of me. Beat myself, confront myself, share how hurting it is, tell myself everything will be alright without feeling weird, go on and on without any eyes or voice questioning me. Thus, I discovered how putting your pain in words can be a powerful healing tool. It was this experience of years I want to share and pass on to people through Soch mental health program ‘Shifa Ke Khat/Letters that heal’.
Pent-up emotions turn into a storm that knocks you down to the ground. We are unable to lift ourselves and find the energy to start walking again. Here in this situation writing letters to oneself can be like a hand reaching out and pulling you up. By then the storm seems to have either passed or slowed down. One can see light emerging, there is more clarity, some hope and a renewed energy to pick up your life.
Having run the program, now my experience is also the experience of some participants who chose to join and write letters ( which remained with them and were not read out). The program included four sessions covering broadly four themes- self-love, loss, forgiveness, and gratitude. Here sharing the experience of some of the participants-
“ I did not know whom to address my sense of loss. Just labelling and identifying brought clarity to me. I could acknowledge my loss and not feel scattered all over.”
“I have been watching a lot of videos and listening to podcasts for my healing but today after writing I realized I have to move beyond listening. Writing helped me pour out so much.”
“ I feel light, I feel happy, I liked appreciating and acknowledging myself.”
” Even one lifetime is not enough to write letters to my Mom. I see something melting inside me. I am grateful the beginning has been made.”
So if in the end you got to be your own friend, why do you need a program like Shifa Ke Khat?
“ I felt I am not alone in this grief. Even though I may not share my grief with the group yet I feel there is someone to listen to me. It feels less lonely.”
-A participant of the workshop.
Does that sound like doing yoga in a group rather than by yourself? Just the kind of difference you feel when you chant in a Satsang rather than alone in your room. Or when you have a meal with the whole family on the table rather than munching away sitting in a corner.
We all want to belong, we all want to be heard. No one likes to be alone.
The workshop is nothing but a space of shared pain and care. I simply extend my hand to you till you find a friend in yourself. Even after you have found that companion in yourself, it is beautiful to come together and get a little nudge to write the long-due letter about what you may have been going through. Just like having a meal with one’s family and letting your fatigue gets dissolved in the laughter of your loved ones.