I’m being serious, well kind of. Usually, we’re so wrapped up in a backlog of ‘stuff’ that we need to crack on with, that it doesn’t occur to us, that actually, we might be better off pressing the ‘pause’ button for a moment. If you have experience of personal writing and want to try something a bit different, just start by asking yourself some questions: Is anything getting you down at the moment? How are you feeling, really? We’ve become so conditioned to saying we’re ‘fine’ when anyone asks us, that we convince ourselves that’s the case.
For decades, I told everyone I was fine; people who knew me thought I was so laid-back and relaxed, I was convinced of it, too. Then I became ill, and my life was put on hold. I had suppressed my emotions all my life, and my body had decided enough was enough; it decided I needed a good talking to. Our relationship was quite difficult at first: I was angry that I couldn’t work or go for walks, let alone achieve my goals. But after a while, we learned to collaborate; we had regular dialogues and I began to feel love and compassion for the body that had tried to protect me for so long. Luckily for me, an interest in psychology and the power of personal writing had convinced me to start an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes at the Metanoia Institute. In effect, I had the chance to study therapeutic writing with myself as a willing, research guinea-pig.
Of course, you may be absolutely, genuinely, fine, and that’s wonderful; in this case, celebrate your life and express your joy! Or if, like me, you realise one day that you are not at all fine, then grab yourself a notebook and pen, find yourself a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed, and have a chat with yourself.
- Always treat yourself with love, respect and compassion.
- You could try using different coloured pens to represent your questioning and answering selves, or you could write with your non-dominant hand when responding as your ‘inner’ self.
- There are many selves that you can talk to: this can include body parts, or aspects of yourself that you’d like to improve. I’ve had chats with my feet, energy level and procrastination selves.
- Sometimes, writing can bring up emotions that have lain dormant for a long time. Respect how you are feeling and stop if your emotions become too intense. Acknowledge how you feel and perhaps, when you feel able to, write about the experience in your journal. If you feel unable to deal with what has come up for you, then please seek the help of a trusted friend, counsellor or psychotherapist.
- Oh, and in case you missed it: always treat yourself, with love, respect and compassion 🙂
You may feel self-conscious and a bit bonkers at first, but believe me, you will be amazed at what can come up in conversation. Treat yourself as your closest friend, and take time to listen. It could be the start of a beautiful, fulfilling relationship(s).
Photo by Mehrad Vosoughi