Dear Stress: Let's Break Up

When emotions could use a "Dear John" letter...

By , Columnist

My friend, Ivette Pena Rosinski, is the funniest non-comedienne I know. She happens to be a great photographer who puts her humor to work in the field. Since she lives in another state, I get to dip into her hilarious view of the world via Facebook. The other day she posted perhaps the funniest thing I’ve ever seen on Facebook: “Dear stress, let’s break up.”

I reposted her comment and encouraged people to write their own “Dear John” letters to the emotion that they were considering divorcing. A few days later I received a very moving phone call from a friend who admitted she was actually deeply inspired by the post. She had written a “Dear Depression” letter.

My friend has had a long-term relationship with her depression. I wouldn’t stay they were married. I would say they were on-again off-again. At some point in those kinds of relationships, though, we tend to get to a point where we ask “What am I doing here?” My friend got to that point, and clearly wanted out. She thinks her depression got the message.

Best-selling author, Debbie Ford, speaks in her books about sub-personalities that we have that tend to run our lives if we don’t become conscious of them. She encourages us to actually name them, i.e., Angry Alice, Bitchy Beatrice, etc. Talking to them or writing to them can help us remain conscious of their antics. We don’t have to shove them to the side or bury them in the sand. We simply address their needs so needless tantrums and acting out don’t have to occur.

I love the ritual of letter writing to unearth these sub-personalities and/or the automatic pilot behaviors I do that don’t serve me. Somehow putting it down in black and white makes it more concrete, and yanks it out of the dark scary neighborhood called “my head.” It sheds light on the dark corners, and helps me deal with it straight on.

In honor of my inspiring friends noted above, I’m going to be writing a letter tonight to a chronic illness I’ve had for the last year. I think I finally have it under control with a cocktail of Eastern and Western remedies, but I am going to write it a letter just to alert it of my intentions to permanently break up with it, so that it knows I won’t even sleep with it after a couple glasses of wine and a nice dinner.

You’ve got to put up boundaries for the things that don’t work in your life. Sometimes pen to paper or finger to keypad makes the best brick and mortar of all.

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Bridget Fonger is the co-author of “The Lazy Woman’s Guide to Just About Everything,” a book that helps women become happier, more passionate and fulfilled by living the “Lazy Way,” aka with less stress and more joy! Ms. Fonger has been featured on HGTV several times with her home décor and…

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