Tell the people in your life how you feel " now
Vail, CO Colorado
Sharon missed our last coaching session. She was out of town attending the funeral of one of her high school friends from 20 years ago had been killed in a car accident.
As Sharon walked in, I sensed a shift if her energy. Normally upbeat and “bouncy,” Sharon’s mood was much more solemn.
“You seem quiet today. What’s going on?” I asked.
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“I thought I was hiding it pretty well,” Sharon said. “But I am still upset about Valerie’s death. As much as I try to move forward, it has brought several things to light for me.”
“Tell me what’s happening for you right now.”
“Valerie was my best friend in high school. We did everything together,” Sharon began. “Val and I talked on the phone a couple of times a year and swapped Christmas cards, but we were both so busy with life that we didn’t take the time to really be together. We hadn’t seen each other lately, but losing her has hit me hard.”
“Tell me more about the loss you are feeling,” I said.
“My mind goes in circles wondering what I said to Val the last time we talked. What dreams did she have that went unrealized? What about her family?” Sharon said.
“Tell me more about your relationship in the past couple of years,” I said. “How often did you talk? How did you connect? And did you ever get a chance to see each other?”
“Right after we graduated from high school, we took a trip together,” she said. “We talked until all hours of the night, sharing our thoughts and dreams. We were so close we would finish each other’s sentences.”
She continued, “Then Val moved away and our conversations became limited by time and distance. I started my career, met my husband and started a family. Instead of talking or seeing each other every day, Val and I would talk on the phone once a month. Lately we only communicated a couple of times a year. That’s how life gets, I guess. But it’s too late now, she’s gone.”
I asked, “If you could tell Valerie anything right now, what would it be?”
“I’d tell her how much I appreciated her friendship; how I admired the way she took care of her family and the dedication she gave to her job. I’d remind her of the nights we stayed up all night laughing and talking. I’d want to make sure she realized how much I loved her and enjoyed our friendship. Even though I didn’t see her very often, she was only a phone call away. It feels empty right now. I just wish I would have told her when she was alive. We forget that life is short and don’t tell the people we love these things.”
“Who else in your life would you like to share your feelings with but haven’t taken the time? And what would that look like?” I asked.
“I want to tell my sister how I feel about her and will write and send her a letter.”
“When will you do this and how will I know?” I asked.
“I will send it one week from today and I’ll let you know how it goes the next time we meet.”
As she left, Sharon turned around and said, “Have I told you recently how much I appreciate our relationship?”
Sharon was off to a great start!
Coaching Challenge: Think about one person who has played a significant part in your life. Find a way to express how you feel about him or her.
Express the positive traits s/he displays in your relationship; be specific in describing how s/he has helped you to move forward. If you send the letter, know that you may or may not receive a response, but you have the satisfaction of knowing you have communicated your feelings to an important person in your life.
If the person is deceased, write the letter in your journal and be as specific as possible. Writing these words helps you express your feelings whether or not the other person actually reads what you wrote.
Sheri Fisher is a Life Coach who lives in Grand Junction, Colorado with her husband Tom and three sons. Her practice, Living On Purpose, focuses on personal and professional coaching. The situations and characters in her column are fictional to maintain client confidentiality. Sheri can be reached at email@example.com or for more information, visit http://www.coachwithsheri.com.