When we hold on to negative energy, it zaps us of our creativity, health, and well-being. We let it steal our joy. We become so wrapped up in the wrong that was done to us that we can’t enjoy the present. When we hold on to unforgiveness, it can bring bitterness and anger into our experiences and relationships with others. 

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” —Buddha

Inside This Week’s Episode

Kim discusses the effects of holding on to grudges when they are, in fact, quite painful to maintain:

  • Why do we keep wounds open and active, living in past experiences of pain which prevent new experiences? 

  • What keeps us stuck when we want to move on? 

  • Why we all need to write a poison pen letter to release the people who have wronged us. In the end, we can free ourselves.

About Kim

Kim Strobel is Chief Happiness Officer at Kim Strobel Live Events and Retreats. She is a teacher, consultant, motivational speaker, happiness coach, and a mission-minded person whose passion is helping others overcome their fears and discover their joy! 

You can follow Kim’s journey on Instagram at @KimStrobelJoy and in the free private, She Finds Joy Facebook community.

Close Transcript

Kim Strobel 00:07

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s episode I have to tell you, I’m sitting here in my podcasting office, which is my regular office. And y’all know what a dog lover I am. So I have Sophie rose, who was our hundred in third rescue dogs. She is an English setter, and she lounges in my massage chair or sorry massage. I wish my meditation chair in my office. She just lays in it all day long while I sit here in front of my computer and work away. And then I have George Leroy, who’s on the floor next to me. He’s our 99th rescue. He is an Irish setter. So most people who record podcasts are like, making sure that there’s no background noise whatsoever and they’re holed up in their room. But not me. I’ve got my dogs in here. So you might hear some wrestling around. Today’s topic is called the poison pin letter. And the poison pin letter is something that I have used with many of my past coaching clients. And it’s a topic that I actually jumped into my facebook group and talked about recently and it got a really big response. So if you’re not in my facebook group, she finds joy, you need to head over there. Because every week I’m in there giving inspiration and doing real raw, vulnerable talk around topics that are important for women. And so this past week, I did a facebook live on the idea of the poison pin letter, and I got a really, really good response. And so all of us, you know, we all have struggles or grievances in our life. It could be about someone who wronged us or treated us unfairly. Or did something terrible to us, or continues to wreak havoc in our life and I find that it’s more women than men who struggle with this because as women, most of us are very emotional beings right? And we attached to certain emotions and those emotions don’t always feel good yet they’re sometimes kind of running in the background of our lives. And I know for me, personally, I wrote a post recently about being a too much woman and my two muchness has caused a lot of havoc in my life. I, I’m going to actually read the post that I wrote so that I can kind of give you the background story of where I have been in my journey along this road. Okay, so here goes I wrote this. I am a too much woman. I was told for a long time that I was too much of everything too confident, too loud, too ambitious, too extroverted, too emotional and too talkative. And here’s the deal folks. I do I love hard, and I feel deeply and yes, I want to have it all every single bit of bliss and joy and excitement and experiences that I can get from this life. I also know that I have kick ass legs, not afraid to discuss racism, mental health, sex, or numerous other topics. I’m honest, and my laughter is contagious. My energy is big, my friends, and I know that it can be all consuming, but I’m no longer as afraid to speak up and have an opinion. So So basically, I’m all together too much, and that muchness has made me dangerous. It has made others want to drown out my light and keep me small. It has made people attack me and try to keep me contained, so they could feel better about themselves. And for a long time, I kept going back to my corner to play it safe. I hustled to be liked by all and wanted to appease everyone. Even though every time I did that, you all I lost a little bit of my soul. Each time that I forced myself to go back into the box. And for years I diminished all of my too much pneus and I allowed others to determine who I could be and how I showed up in the world. I allowed them to put me in my place Now, some people think Strobel is to self assured and that I carry myself in a way that says, yep, I know who I am. And I also realize that some people say, Oh, there she is thinking she’s all that Who does she thinks she is someone needs to put her in her place. She needs to take it down a few notches. I hope she fails. And for so many years I did. I diminished my light, so others could feel better about themselves. I played small when my soul yearned to play big in the arena of bigness. And do you know what I did with all that toxicity, and all the times I left pieces of my soul to be who others wanted me to be. I decided it was time to let all of that motivate me. I think decided to step into myself and be who I truly am. I decided that certain people no longer get an opinion on my life. I decided that I would wear the dresses that show my damn legs. I decided that I would rise up in roar, like the Lyoness that I am. And I decided folks that I was worth it. And guess what happened? My world opened up because I decided to embrace my muchness and I see now that all along my soul was saying, Do it girl. Do it. The world needs your too much pneus because your muchness is your magic, it is time to quit shaming women for being big, bold and brave for wanting more out of life. Because even though I’ve been stoned multiple times with people’s voices and Bynum’s, and let me tell ya, I really have, I will tell you all that every single time I rise and I rise bigger and stronger and more self assured than ever. So, in this episode, I’m going to talk to you about how I have felt victimized and how I’m currently working on getting rid of some of that toxicity. Because I am definitely a woman who has had the haters come after her. Oh, my goodness, my friends. I feel like I am that girl that like I don’t want to play the victim card because I really try to step out of victimhood because I really want to step into what I call being a warrior, right, we can’t stay in victimhood. But the bottom line is many of you can relate to that story that I just told, you might be a too much woman, you might be someone who has tried to walk the straight lane who has tried to play by the rules of what everyone else wanted for them. And if you play by those rules, you’re going to get less backlash. But if you decide not to play by those rules, you need to understand that people are going to come after you. And for me, and how my show wants, my soul wants to show up. I’m just going to tell you that I definitely feel like I’m a woman who has endured a ton of controversy. You know, years ago, they used to stone women to death, and I’m one of those that believes in previous past lives, and I feel like I was probably truly stoned to death. In a previous life I don’t know if any of you have heard of Brian Weiss. But as a little segue, if you’re interested in this idea of previous lives, Brian Weiss, and I’ll link this in the show notes, but he wrote two books that absolutely moved my world. One was called same soul many bodies, which is all about how your soul will reincarnate over and over in multiple bodies with multiple experiences. And another one that he wrote was many lives many masters. And so if you’re fascinated by this idea of previous lives, like I am, this isn’t an episode about that. But I’m telling you this because I believe that I have definitely been stoned many times in a previous life. And I find it quite interesting that I have also been in the role of being stoned by people’s in justices towards me, right. So you know, when I was Gosh, I think I was 26. And I had given birth to my little baby boy. And two months later, I divorced his dad. I was definitely stoned by the people in my community who did not understand why I was leaving my marriage and felt like they needed an explanation for why I would do such a thing. And then I went through a public stoning in my community because I worked in a school Corporation who had hired a new principal, and the new principal was a complete flop and six weeks into the job. She was taking inappropriate pictures of herself between her legs, and the school ended up finding like over 50 pictures of her vagina, on the school phone and on her laptop, but I got myself I was immersed in that because I happen to be one of the people in the room that she was showing images and videos too. And so You know, the community different women had already had issues with me because, you know, my legs look too good. And I dress too cute. And I work out all of the time. And so it became like this fish feeding frenzy and an opportunity for people to try to bring me down in that particular instance. So that was another public stoning. And I’ve pretty much I’ve always kind of had people of women in general come after me. You know, I was the teacher who did a lot of progressive teaching practices. So a lot of the teachers around me felt threatened by that and so they would come after me. And I remember specifically, I had a fellow teacher who was attacking me behind my back and really saying very bad, inappropriate, untrue things about me. And so I called a meeting with the CTA President and the Regional Director because I had had it, I was done putting up with this bs with these people who I believe were just very threatened and very, very jealous of me. And I remember being in that meeting, and the teacher who had been telling the lies about me was sitting across the table. And she said to me, she started crying because I had called her out on her BS. And she said, Well, Kim, you know, you’re just one of those people that’s always trying new things in your classroom. And everything you do, you do really well and it just makes the rest of us feel like we’re not good enough. And it just seems like you have all the confidence in the world and you have this really great body and you have these really great legs. And you just make people feel uncomfortable. And at the time, I was in a very vulnerable state because I was younger and people’s opinions of me and this trash talk behind my back from, you know, what I wore to school and how I dressed cute and all of that, you know, it gets to a person it really does. And so I sat there and as she was saying all of this, I revealed my own vulnerability with her. And again, I didn’t have a lot of confidence even though maybe I looked that way. And I said, you know, let’s just call this person Tara. You know, Tara, I have a lot of struggles in my life. I don’t like what I see when I look in the mirror. I was recently in a car accident, I have a mouthful of braces and my nose got broken and you know i to have problems and I don’t always like the way I look. And I started to tell her, all of this stuff, so that she could feel better about herself and I remember walking away from that meeting and of course she apologized and everything and and she even said she said, you know, Kim, I really think it would just help if you would stand in front of our entire faculty. And you would let them know that you have all these problems. You know, just let us know that you don’t always like what you see in the mirror or that you’re feeling you know bad about the braces that you have. Can you know just stand up there and tell everybody that so so that we can all feel better about you. And you all when she said that back to me. I was so pissed off. But I wasn’t pissed off at her. I was pissed off at myself. Because I had number one, revealed my vulnerabilities to a person who did not deserve to hear them. She was not trusted. She was not a confidence. She did not deserve to hear my vulnerabilities. The other thing is I walked out of that meeting. And I thought, I am never again, going to make myself smaller so that someone else can feel better about themselves. And that was really a turning point for me. I was tired of constantly diminishing myself so that the people around me could feel better about who they are. Now, you might be wondering, what does this story have to do with the poison pen letter? Well, I’m just going to tell you that while I have worked hard to get through the resentments that I hold towards people who have done me wrong, it is still a difficulty in my life. And I want you to To think about this, you know, do you have people in your life? Who really wronged you? Who did something to hurt you or abuse you or shame you or ridicule you? Do you have those people in your life? I think we all do. But the second question is probably the more powerful one, which is, do you still let them steal your joy?Because you are still so tied up in the anger and the resentment, maybe even the hatred towards them. And I will tell you that this is something that I have to continually work on. I have certain people in my life I feel like I have more than the average person not that we need to be comparing but I’m like, I’ve had a lot of people do really shitty damn things to me, right. And I always joke with my counselor because he knows that I believe in past Slides too. And he’s like, you know, Kim, when you charted this path of, you know, reincarnating in this world and, you know, having all of these experiences, you chose to have a lot of really tough experiences in this life. And I do feel like a lot of us women, we do have like anger and resentment in sorry, see, there’s my dog. He’s like scratching in the middle of this podcast, right? So that’s, that’s the problem with having a dog in here. All of a sudden you hear this like thump, thump, thump, thump, thump in the middle of my podcast. And it’s because George has decided to get up and scratches itchy spot. But going back to my statement, I feel like so many of us do have feelings of anger and resentment and pissed off pneus towards people who have wronged us. And many times, you know, we have to work towards forgiveness. And we know we’ve heard this a million times, right. Forgiveness is not about that. Person forgiveness is the gift that you give to yourself because it releases you from all the negativity and all the ill feelings that you still hold towards that person. Because when you have these negative emotions that you allow you think about this person, you spend energy and time thinking about what they did to you and what they took from you and how they changed the trajectory of your life. What happens is, it takes your energy, it takes your joy, it takes your creativity and it takes your happiness. And so for me, I know for a fact that I spend too much time thinking about people who have wronged me, and that it zaps a lot of my good energy. And so one of the skills that I’ve been using in my life that I would invite you to use if you can think of someone who you hold anger and resentment towards is to write what is called a poison pin letter. This is a letter that you actually sit down. And right now I typed mine on my computer, you can handwrite it, you can type it, it doesn’t matter. But you don’t actually have to send this letter to them. This is a letter that you’re going to use to process all the pain, all the hurt all the suffering and all the resentment. Because what happens is those emotions have a vibrational frequency to them. And they become part of our cellular makeup, they affect everything in our life. And I think it was Oprah or somebody said, like, you know, when you hold resentment towards someone, it’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die from it. Because you’re the one that becomes poisoned. You’re the one that lets, what that person did to you define and have power in your life. So the way that a poisoned pin letter works is you’re going to pick one person Frankly, I have seven poison pen letters that I need to write. I can think of seven people who I still feel extreme resentment towards. And I’m just being very honest with you, you know, you guys know me, I’m a happiness coach. But the happiness coach has their own struggles. And I have to do a lot of work on myself, I am a work in progress. And so I have like, seven people for sure that I hold like deep resentment towards. And so what you’re going to do is you’re going to pick at least one of those people. And you’re going to write a letter to them. And this letter can be as angry and mean, and hateful and vicious as you want it to be because the point of this letter is to get all of this ugliness out of you, and to release it. All right. And so you’re going to let all of that venom and all of that poison, come out, and you’re going to tell that person in a letter every thing you think of them, everything they’ve done to you every awful thing that you want to say to that person. But you’re not necessarily going to send the letter to them. You see by you externalizing it and putting it down on paper. It is freeing you and getting it out of your system. All right. Now what I do with my poison pen letters and let me tell you, they’re ugly, they’re vicious. They’re mean like, they are terrible because my golly, I’m letting this crap out. I got a lot to say to this person. But what I do is I write my poison pin letter. And then I burn it. And I watch the letter and the words I watch it freakin burn. Because what I’m wanting to do is to release that from myself to give myself some Have the joy back that I deserve because I am the only one who is hurting from that person. I’m allowing that person to still have power in my life to take pieces away from me. And, you know, so many times we know that the person who hurts us, right? It’s really because they are hurting themselves. We know this, we understand it. But it’s a deeply personal thing, right? They attack because there’s something deeply inside of them, and I’m triggering them and that they choose to use me as their scapegoat. I mean, I even have someone who I have no choice about this person being in my life, and they use me completely as a scapegoat. And again, it causes a lot of havoc and resentment and ill feelings towards me and so I’m I’m trying to figure out how to not let that person affect me anymore, but also how to not let that person continue to use me as a scapegoat. And so, I want you to think about is there someone in your life that you need to write a poison pin letter to so that you can release the hurt and the trauma that is inside of you. And so I want you to write this poison pin letter. Okay, but I’m gonna, I’m going to tell you how I ended mine. And what I did so I wrote the first one, about five days ago. Now I’ve written them before, this is a newer one to someone else that I really needed to release some of my anger and resentment towards. And so I sat down at my computer for about 45 minutes and I was just a banging on that keyboard. I was telling them everything that they did wrong. Everything that they did that affected my life, how terrible crappy shitty they are to me. I mean, I just let it all out. Okay. As for me, I didn’t handwrite it, I simply sat down at my computer and I typed it out. But at the end, I also reached out and I asked God for help in releasing it because I have not been able to release this on my own. Like, I need a spiritual guidance to help me finally rid myself of all of this. And so for me, I ended my letter by saying, I am releasing all of the bullshit and trauma you have caused me. I release myself from you. Your actions and you no longer get to have power in my life. Yes, you have caused me tremendous pain, suffering damage and heartache. But it’s time for me to reclaim my joy when it comes to you. Today, I choose to let it go. So I can heal myself. I release you. And I will actually copy and paste that and put it in the show notes in case you want to end your letter like that. But as I burned it, I actually repeated those words, as I let it burn. And I really did I really did ask God, help heal me Help me truly be able to release this, you know helped me to quit letting it have power over in my life. And this is just a therapeutic thing that we can do, to try to take 100% responsibility for our lives and to heal the trauma that is inside. Each and every one of us. And I had somebody in my facebook group and by the way, if you do this jump over to our Facebook group, I want to hear from you shoot me a picture, post a picture in the group, have you burning your poison pen letter because that’s exactly what I did. I posted a picture in my group and I was like, here it is, folks, and I burned that bad boy today. But I had somebody in the Facebook group say, I need to write a poison pen letter, or they did they wrote a poison pin letter to someone who had sexually abused them. And she said, I actually sent my letter to that person. And I said, Absolutely, like you have a choice to send it. You can send your poison pen letter. If you need that, then absolutely, you can do it. But here’s what I know my friends. I know that anytime we let bad feelings stay in our bodies and in our minds and in our hearts. We are the only ones who suffer for that. And so we have to do the work to transform that, to get that out of our system, so that there’s more energy freed up for us to walk, navigate and align ourselves in the world in a way that matches up to how our super shiny soul wants to shine and burn. Good luck and I hope to see your poison pin burnings in the Facebook group.