Credit: Photo by shutter41 at flickr

It's strange how we find emotional support in the strangest places sometimes. When I first started using a computer, the delete option kind of scared me. I realized that once I hit that, whatever I had just deleted would be lost forever. So I was very careful, but soon could hit it without a second thought. Too much junk mail made it easy to delete, delete, delete.

Recently I had a very different experience with this option. A friend I have known for over forty years contacted me. We had a falling out years ago because of his drinking problem and I was sad to lose the friendship, but knew I couldn't cope with his problem. I've had many losses in the past few years that have left me feeling vulnerable and lonely for those that I loved and lost.

When this past friend contacted me, I felt a huge wave of nostalgia wash over me. This was someone I had a history with, who knew me very well and it made me feel good. Having lost most of my family, and some of my friends in the past six years, has left me feeling rocky and alone. So, here was someone from my past and after we talked, I agreed to try to be friends again.

At first, I thought we could recapture that close bond we had, but as time went on, it was obvious that his drinking problem was not only still there, but had become worse. After many late night drunken calls from him, I finally confronted him about his drinking. This led to a nasty reaction from him and I told him we couldn't talk anymore, that it wasn't working out.

Well, to make a long story short, he kept calling and I eventually had to ignore his calls. He would email me and at first I would reply, telling him that I wished him the best of luck, but not to contact me again. The emails continued and one night, instead of replying, I just deleted his message. This may sound strange, but in that moment I felt a new sense of power over my life.

It wasn't a power trip in the normal sense. It was a realization that by being able to delete his message, I was also deleting him out of my life. I felt strong and centered, but slightly sad at the same time. I could have really used his friendship at this point in my life, but I knew it would bring nothing to me except grief, something I definitely didn't need more of. Another major emotion I felt was freedom. He still sends emails once in awhile and I sometimes read them, but I no longer answer...I just delete.

When we have control of our lives, we feel a sense of freedom. I have also used my delete button for other emails that I wanted no part of. It amazed me how much this simple funtion could help me emotionally. Sometimes we have to "delete" people from our lives for our own well being. So the next time you hit delete to an email from someone you need to get rid of, allow yourself to feel the emotional release of that action.