The Power of Writing a Letter

Remember that time period where I wrote passive aggressive letters to people in my life and shared them on the blog?

What. A. Time.

Though I have now private (or privated?) those letters, I still don’t regret sharing my intense emotions and buried thoughts with the world. It was necessary for my sanity and overall mental wellbeing, and though I no longer share them on here, I still write letters.

Over the years, especially during my childhood, I got really good at concealing all my emotions and keeping my mouth shut. Recently, I’ve learned that it’s okay to allow myself to feel, but I struggled with dealing with those emotions.

I had a situation arise that I’ve alluded to before, and my therapist recommended writing a letter to help me process my emotions–the emotions that required I conversate with the subject of my hurt/frustration/anger. Since I try to avoid confrontation as much as possible, a letter was the best option for me.

I needed to be reminded that letters are therapeutic for me, whether I decide to share them or not.

There’s so much power in writing a letter.

It stimulates the mind.

This is geared more towards the actual writing process. In a semi-unique way, you are taken back to literature or language arts class (or whatever your writing class was called). Part of your brain is unlocked to remember some grammar rules and how to make a sentence or sequence of paragraphs flow in a sensical way. Literally, it forces you to make things make sense, and because of that, your brain is stimulated.

It allows you to really think through your feelings.

Because writing takes a lot more time than a knee jerk reaction, you have time to process your emotions, which is one of my favorite things about writing them. It has the opportunity to change your perspective and grasp what you’re truly feeling. Sometimes the emotion we classify as anger is actually hurt, and personally, I don’t realize this until I start writing the letter. Every single thought and feeling gets put on the paper and is expressed without interruption.

It helps you communicate without opening your mouth.

The journey from my brain to my mouth is quick and filter-less on a daily basis. When it comes to expressing important emotions, it is the one time I am at a loss for words and filled with an immense amount of fear and anxiety. With a letter, I can just drop it off when someone leaves the room (or in my case, isn’t at the apartment) and literally run afterwards. Sometimes I get to the point where mailing it is easier than playing a game of ding dong ditch with a piece of paper in an envelope.

It allows time to prepare for their reaction.

The waiting period after you drop the letter off can be both anxiety-inducing and peaceful. If you also lack a filter like me, writing a letter is a way to stall time before the inevitable occurs–the confrontation (or conversation if it’s with someone who is a bit more patient and understanding). While you’re stalling time, you can come up with a game plan for your varying reactions for however they react, so you don’t say something off the cuff that’s hurtful. After the letter is in the hands of its recipient, the waiting period becomes a preparation period.


For me, the best way to process an intense emotion and formulate an appropriate reaction is by sitting down and writing a letter.

That could be different for you.

Writing a letter is not the answer to solving everyone’s emotional woes. It could be playing basketball, copious amounts of PC video games, daily 5k runs, throwing paint at a wall, etc.

Whatever the case may be, it’s important to allow yourself to feel and to relieve yourself of the intense, overpowering emotions you’re experiencing.

about the author

Jamilah is a college graduate in her early twenties who wants to live and learn and love herself while fighting the anxiety fight.

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