Goodbye Self Hate, Don’t Come Back!
Below I give you an example of a powerful resistance letter. I received the idea from other therapists (namely, David Epston) and have been using it in my practice for some time. In the letter, the people are invited to first tell about the problem’s influence on their lives and then, write about their desires
and actions of resistance. The first part is important because some problems are so invasive they confuse us into thinking that their desires are our desires and that their opinions are our opinions. Self hate and self depreciation has a way of trying to connect so fully with us, we feel it is us hating ourselves. You may be wondering, “Isn’t it ‘us hating ourselves’”? Well, it depends on how you look at it. I would say that it is self hate trying to get us to hate ourselves. If we see the self hate as separate, we can begin to change our relationship to it. If we make visible its tactics, we can notice them before they influence us. This letter gives people the opportunity to make visible a problem’s separateness from us. It undermines the power of self hate. It opens the conversation.
In the second part, a person is invited to notice their own skills and hopes and abilities. Making it into a document allows it to be shared with others. It also makes it easy to refer back to when we need a reminder. If you feel inspired to write a resistance letter, please let me know what happens or send it along to me. Posting it could inspire others to feel better about themselves.
Cindy’s Resitance Letter To Self Hate
“Voice [of Self Hate,]
For many months you have pushed the limits to try and conquer me. you pretended to be my only true friend, made me believe i was fat, ugly and unattractive to anyone. you began to mold me into someone i could no longer recognize, with tasteless thoughts and immoral concepts. you took what was mine from me and didn’t even bother to replace it. you have tried to take from me my only true passion, field hockey, and make me believe i would never succeed. you knew no boundaries and even went so far as to begin to make me turn on my family and argue with the ones i love for getting too close to me.
You encouraged me to push them away regardless of the consequences. but guess what? I’m stronger than you. I WILL and AM overcoming you. I’m regaining my life back because no matter what things you have tried to do to me, or how much you’ve tried to rule my life I’m not going to stand for it. you told me to ignore my best qualities and ignore what others said around me because they could “never be true”.
I finally know my worth,
and I’m saying goodbye to you, and i have others, who don’t believe in me and who aren’t helping me get to where I’m going. i have a wonderful family that loves me, amazing people around me that support me, and I’m lucky enough to be grateful for everyday and every luxury I have. furthermore, I’m destroying the beliefs that you have tried to hard to instill in me that I was ugly, worthless, unintelligent, fat, un-athletic and the black sheep of my family. I work hard everyday. Of course, I also care about everyone around me. I’m very smart. I’m wise beyond my years.
I have faith and I believe I’m a great friend. I’m a role model for those who look up to me. I’m a scholar athlete. Also, I’m musically talented. I’m gifted with a great school system, safe town and semi-good weather. I’m attractive to those who I want to attract; if someone is only going to like me because I’m a size 0, they’re not worth my time anyway! and i know now, and fully believe that my personality on the inside radiated to the outside and effects those around me. I’m not fat. I’m working conscientiously to become healthier…not heavier. I’ve always been in a healthy weight range, anyway! especially for being a 3 sport athlete. so how dare you tell me what’s beautiful, and try to define who i am based on stereotypical, shallow, materialistic values.
i don’t want to listen any more!
Write your own resistance letter. What would you say to a problem that is ruining your life? Do you have any thoughts for Cindy?
More goodbye letters