Write Your Way to Forgiveness
Updated: Apr 6, 2020
Use this activity to help you work through your feelings when you are upset with someone and find a way to forgive.
What you’ll need: Paper, coloured pens or pencils
What’s it for?
This activity will help you recognise and express any hurts and regrets when you feel upset with someone. Sometimes talking about our feelings safely can be difficult, especially when we feel very disappointed or angry. This will allow you to distance yourself from the problem and work through your own feelings to begin to heal your relationships and resolve conflicts in a healthy way.
Notice how you’re feeling right now. Close your eyes and notice what’s going on inside your mind and body.
How are you feeling?
What are you thinking?
How does your body feel?
Think about a situation or a person you feel (or felt) upset, sad, frustrated, scared or angry with. Spend a moment to think about and reflect on what happened. How did you feel? What would you like the person to know about how this experience made you feel?
Imagine that your emotions are like an iceberg. The very top of the iceberg that floats and everyone can see, is your anger and you need to get to the bottom of the iceberg to find forgiveness within you. Underneath the anger there is your sadness or hurt and underneath that, your fears and worries. At the bottom of the iceberg lies responsibility for your own actions, love, and your needs and wants. By expressing your feelings safely at each level, you are chipping away at the iceberg and getting closer towards love and forgiveness.
Think about it carefully and focus on expressing your own feelings rather than the person who upset you. Make sure you don’t say anything hurtful to the person you are addressing this letter to.
To do it safely, please complete the following sentences:
I am so angry…
It makes me sad…
I am so grateful to you for…
I would like…
Here is an example for you! Jaydon is feeling angry and has been quite mean to his brother Danny lately. Jaydon worked through the layers of his feelings iceberg and wrote the following letter:
I am so angry because you don’t want to play with me anymore. It makes me sad when I see you playing on your computer all the time. I am afraid that you don’t like me anymore. I am sorry for being mean to you. Please forgive me. I am so grateful to you for making me laugh and taking care of me. I would like us to spend some more time together.
Extra Activity: Show your Forgiveness Letter to the person that upset you. If they’re not in your household, you could send them a picture of it, or show them online. See how they react.
When you’ve finished, spend a moment reflecting on the activity and ask yourself the following questions:
How did it feel writing this letter and thinking about the person that upset you?
Was it easy or difficult to think of things to write?
Did your feelings change during this process?
If you showed the letter to the person it was addressed to, how did they react? How did it make you and them feel?
If you have not shared your letter yet, what would you like their response to be?
If you had another chance, what would you do differently about the situation that upset you?
How do you feel about the person you wrote about after completing this activity?
Did you learn anything new about yourself while you did this activity?
This activity helps you to identify and release different layers of feelings and take responsibility for your emotional choices. Through letting go of difficult feelings, you can begin to feel the love inside of you again and better express your true needs and wants.
Take a moment to notice how you are feeling at the end of this activity. Did you discover anything surprising? What can you take away to make you feel better about yourself from this activity?
If you would like to, share something about your experience with this activity with someone you live with! Ask the person who looks after you to send us an email if you have any questions or comments about the activity, or would like to send us any pictures (firstname.lastname@example.org). Don't forget to subscribe for more fun CAT activities!
Created by Karolina Koman © March 2020
Creative Arts Used: Creative Writing
Psychological Areas Explored: Anger, Relationships, Communication, Emotional Wellbeing, Emotional Regulation, Self-Exploration
This activity was inspired by ‘The Love Letter Technique’ (pg. 224) from: Gray, J. (2011): Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, London, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
These activities could be done by children of all ages, but some may need the support of their parent or carer to read the instructions or complete the activity safely.
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