Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Write it Down

One of the things in my life that has been very beneficial for processing my feelings is writing. I know not everyone is inclined to or enjoys writing, but let me tell you why I think it is a great idea...
  • I have known so many people (myself included) who are better at expressing themselves in writing than in speech.
  • Writing gives you time to think through what you're feeling and what you want to say. Conversation puts you on the spot and requires you to put your thoughts and feelings into words in the moment. The more emotionally meaningful a subject is, the more difficult this might be.
  • In writing you can be brutally honest. Here I'm talking about the kind of writing that no one but you and God will ever see. When I am writing someone an email, I sometimes feel as though I can express myself better than I would be able to in person, but I am still thoughtful and purposeful in my writing. In an email I don't explicitly say exactly what I'm thinking. And that's not dishonest, it's polite and self-controlled. If I always told people (in writing or speech) exactly what I was thinking and feeling it would be too intense or...rude. Censorship is a good thing. However, I believe it can be amazingly helpful to be brutally honest and intense and rude and even a little crazy...in writing that no one will ever see. I've written letters to God, letters to myself, letters to others.
  • Honest writing can help you discover what you're truly feeling and wanting. When I am in turmoil about something or overanalyzing a situation, it really helps me to just start writing what I'm thinking and feeling. Like a stream of consciousness. Usually by the time I'm finished writing I feel so peaceful and I've often discovered what was at the heart of my turmoil. Knowing the root causes of our feelings can then allow us to communicate them to others in tactful, respectful, loving ways. For instance, if I realize I'm upset with a friend, instead of spewing my emotions all over my friend I can process them through writing and then find a way to express my honest feelings with my friend in a way that will be beneficial to both of us.
  • Writing organizes your thoughts and feelings in a way you can clearly see. Sometimes when my mind is whirling with thoughts and feelings it just feels like a jumble, but when I write them down I can see links, causes, and effects. I can read over my thoughts multiple times and get to the heart behind them.
  • Writing can improve your relationship with loved ones, with God, and with yourself. Family relationships can be very difficult. There might be something you want to say to a family member that you know you would never say in person - a declaration of love, an apology, or outrage over pain they've caused you. Write it down. Even if you never, ever say it to the person, you will feel better when you have expressed it. And feeling better just might effect how you behave and interact with that person.
  • I believe that writing can even improve how you feel about your relationship with someone who has passed away. Especially when a relationship with a loved one was conflicted, their death can leave a person feeling very unsettled and miserable over the unreconciled relationship. In this situation, I really believe that writing a letter to the deceased loved one, saying exactly what you wish you could say to him or her in person, can be so healing and helpful. The person may no longer be on this earth, but your love for them is.
  • If you're not a person who thrives on writing like I do (I can't imagine such a thing), I suppose you could try this with talking. Go in a room, close the door, make sure no one can hear you and then say whatever you want to say - to God, yourself, a person or group of people. If you wanted to analyze what you're saying (I know, I'm crazy), you could record what you say and then listen to it. This is not how my mind works, but it could be beneficial to someone who feels they communcate best in speech.
So, those are my arguments for the benefits of writing. I urge you to just try it. The next time you're feeling upset or unsettled, get out a pen and paper or a Word document on your computer and just start writing exactly what comes to mind. Just don't show it to anyone....or they might think you're schizophrenic. :)


Laura said...

You have a counselor's heart and God will work in your life and the lives of many others through this gift. And you are an amazing writer as well!

InterestedCommentator4 said...

I made the mistake of sharing some of my "conversations with myself" with others and now I am regretting it. Writing is a good release of emotions and a good stress reliever. It can take you into a better place and it sometimes better to share the Gospel with people through writing. I love to write!! After all how did the Bible get written? Somebody had to write it down.