In another post I mentioned the possibility of writing a letter to someone which you will never post. Today I want to expand on that idea.
Another way of journalling is to hold an imaginary conversation with one or more character. This dialogue technique allows you to hear the other point of view in a non-threatening way.
The other “characters” can tell you how they feel; show you their take on the matter; plead with you for understanding, or suggest an action or acknowledgement they need from you. It’s possible they may argue with you, or even challenge you. You may find a new connection or relationship with them.
So who are the other characters?
They may be people:
- who are alive, but you’re not able to talk to them about the issue
- who are dead, but you have unresolved issues with them (Obviously I’m not suggesting “talking to the dead”. This is simply an exercise done to get you thinking.)
- who belong in your imagination. Perhaps they’re characters in a book you’re writing and you don’t know how they’d behave in a situation. Ask them!
- from the pages of a book you’re reading. You want to further explore their behaviour in a situation. Perhaps they remind you of someone, and you wonder if the character can help you understand the person in your life.
They could be issues you face:
- in real life, where you don’t know what to do next
- in a task that you’re struggling with
- with a goal you’re trying to reach
- from an event in the past
- with a decision you need to make
They could even be:
- symbols, or images from a dream
- parts of your body
- any crisis you face
- medication you have been given
The other character could even be God.
- For more insight into this, look for the post, A Letter from God.
1) I once did this to try and get to the bottom of my severe insomnia. I created the character, “Sleep” and had a dialogue with ‘him’. I asked ‘him’ to give me ‘his’ point of view. Oh my!
‘He’ wasn’t happy with my poor night habits, the way I drank caffeine before going to bed then expected ‘him’ to take over and give me a restful night. ‘Sleep’ objected to me working on my computer until late, then going to bed with my mind in overactive mode. ‘He’ pointed out the ridiculous habit of getting absorbed in a book and fighting ‘him’ so that I could stay awake to finish a chapter. Oh yes, that was an enlighting “conversation” and I’m happy to report I now sleep better than I have for many years.
2) Perhaps each morning you awaken with a painful back. You could start a dialogue with your back. Ask it what’s causing the pain, and why you only have it when you wake up. Allow your back to respond. You may receive some insight about what’s causing the pain.
3) Maybe there’s a symbol or character that keeps appearing in your dreams. Address the object or person, and see if you can receive an understanding of the meaning.
4) There’s a person in my life that always manages to rub me up the wrong way. I’ve tried to be patient, loving, kind, all the things I should be. And yet issues keep cropping up. It’s impossible to talk with this person about the matter so one day I sat down and spent several hours having a conversation with ‘him’ on paper, or rather on the laptop.
‘He’ was quick to point out a number of things I was doing to aggravate the situation, as well as explaining incidents from the past that had influence ‘his’ attitude today. This period of journalling truly helped me to be more tolerant and improved my own attitude to this person.
How about you? Can you think of a person or situation you’d like to address but for some reason you can’t do it face to face? Try having a conversation with them on paper or screen. Remember to give them a chance to respond!