• Dr. Jill Bakke

Desire to Change Another

Shamans believe things that have to hide in the dark have no power of their own. If we mentally or physically do battle with the dark side via fear, anger, vengeance, or other involvement, we become entrapped in it. So, the ability to be an observer is crucial. And amid crisis or pain, it is not an easy task to just observe.

This is the time to pen an unsent letter.

I recently had a situation with someone where I wanted to change parts of a relationship. Instead of speaking up or explaining and asking for the change, I ended up writing an unsent letter. Unsent letters are a common journaling technique. Unsent letters are written to the living and to the dead. The effort is for the writer’s benefit. The writer may express a desire for forgiveness or address a problem they chose to not express verbally. These letters may express love or blame. The idea is that when we can express our feelings, they do not have the energy or power to stress us, make us sick, nor do we injure another with our anger.

When we are looking for a change in a situation, we often put most (if not all) of the blame on the other. And frequently, we leave the letters in an “I want” status. Although I said in my letter that I didn’t want to change the individual, I suddenly realized I secretly did. However, this time in writing the unsent letter, I went further. I took ownership of my emotions. My closing paragraph read:

“Maybe I don’t know anything. Maybe I expect to be hurt again. Maybe I don’t see what is before my nose or what I need or deserve. Maybe I need to let it all go and be as it is.”

Aha! In that paragraph, I could see my core issue bravely written out. And I was given my solution.

The Bible says we see through a mirror darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12). Psychology calls them “blind spots,” times when we allow our unconscious emotions and thoughts (usually unconscious) to influence our behaviors. We can only clearly see our blind spots when something points them out to us. Then, when we are aware we have such a situation, I have found it best to turn the situation over to the universe to clarify, i.e. not to act, but to wait.

Turning situations over to the universe does yield results, although not always immediately. Sometimes patience is required. Every situation that enters our lives has a lesson in it. Regardless of what we want we will not be free until we have learned the lesson. It is like the man who divorces his wife and marries another woman just like her. The lesson follows you.

Awareness of the problem begins the process. Do you have all the facts? Is it possible you could be looking at the problem from a preconceived point of view that twists your understanding of the situation?

But there are hidden tricks in the process, other steps to take. I have learned to ask the question: Is it my problem or someone else’s? An unsent letter helps sort out that ownership. If we step in to make changes in things that are not ours to change, we make them worse. We personally become entangled in the situation and pay a price for the entanglement. We need to learn when to tell ourselves, It’s not my monkey, not my parade when the problem is not ours and then back off.

When we don’t try to fix others or their situations, we exhibit a calm and trusting nature which allows those individuals to look at things more quietly and gives the universe freedom to act in the situation for the betterment of all.

We may also be challenged to apply what the Bible refers to as “turning the other cheek.” We walk away from a stressful encounter without visibly reacting. A reaction ties us to the problem as much as the act of “fixing.” Try it. It works. We can take those reactions and thoughts, wishes and wants, and put them into an unsent letter instead.

But there is a warning with the technique of turning the cheek. Where physical and mental abuse is involved, it is unwise to simply stay and allow a dangerous situation to continue. Instead, create a good support system. Find a therapist, sort through the issues; if necessary, have a good attorney protect your rights and ensure your safety. Look for a Reiki master, shamanic practitioner, or other energy worker to assist in your recovery. Don’t fight it. Don’t fear it. Take your precautions, listen to your experts, and get away from the danger.


Write an unsent letter in your journal. It could be to someone who hurt you. It might be to ask someone for forgiveness for what you did or a letter to yourself seeking your forgiveness. The letter might be to sort out where you fit into a situation, what is yours to deal with and what you can walk away from.

You should write the letter quickly setting out your thoughts about the situation and your emotions. Your emotions carry energy that will force you to respond in some manner, so don’t edit them. Don’t leave any of these hurting thoughts packed inside you to fester and lead to tension, depression, and illness. You need to be honest in your feelings and how you see things. Writing in this way helps you to be brave enough to take the step of looking at self and the part you play in the drama. You are the only one you can change, the only one you have the right to change. The result is when you change, others around you begin to change.

When you complete your letter, take a moment to look at what you have discovered and how you feel. My guarantee is that this process can save you a lot of trouble. Summarize your reaction and experience with it in your journal.

And in answer to your question, did my relationship change? Yes, for the better.

Illustrated by Couleur from Pixabay

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