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Self

Why We Write ONLY During Tough Times

Do you ever notice that whenever you feel like your world is falling apart, you suddenly turn into a master writer? Your emotions are rapidly translated into words on your paper, and they just flow like a strong unstoppable tidal wave. Emotions are a powerful tool in fostering creativity.

You suddenly have the voice of a thousand people, and you can’t help but pour the words into paper. Powerful emotions throw away our inhibitions. Writing in a vulnerable position expands your range of emotions- from anger to guilt to remorse to jealousy to any other emotion that feel unnatural to us.

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

Franz Kafka

When you are happy, you don’t rationalize being happy. When you are happy, you don’t ask questions like, “Why is this happening to me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?”. We accept happiness as a welcome emotion.

For example, when your dear friend arrives at your house with an excited and cheerful face, the first thing you will probably say is “come on in” instead of “what are you doing here?”. We have placed a premium on the “feel good” emotions and neglected to place value on the other emotions on the spectrum. Tough times bring the most uncomfortable of feelings and it is when we start asking questions laden with an unwelcome emotion that we tend to overthink. Because we ruminate on every little thing, we tend to want to keep record of our “sufferings” and “analysis” of our situation. I tell myself that one day I will look back on these and somehow there are lessons that I have written that I didn’t realize then.

For me writing when you are happy provides a completely different written material compared to the writing when I feel terrible. I find a little more character and depth. (This is not to glamorize creative suffering). This is expressing the truth of your experiences. You may compartmentalize your feelings into a specific written material and then let it go. You may feel relieved knowing that this part of you is expressed and preserved.

Writing is a form of therapy. This is the release. This is the catharsis. It helps you probe your own thoughts without a filter. It gives you an opportunity to realize and release these emotions, without having to share it with another person. Of course, a friend (or a therapist) is helpful to unravel your thought patterns but writing (and journaling) allows you to get to know yourself a bit better. It allows you to stay in your feelings and explore the depths of your situation.

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Self

How To Not Take Things Personally

Taking an attack where there isn’t one is one of the hardest things that we may be faced with. When we realize that nobody is out there to target us, we free ourselves from the burden of feeling hurt.

“The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it.”

Carl Jung

Don’t create story lines (mental movies) in your head
In other words, stop overthinking. Even the best of us overthink, it’s totally normal, but try not to elaborate on hypothetical scenarios going from point A to point Z. People generally don’t do things to spite other people. If a colleague or a friend has ignored you or was curt with you, don’t jump to conclusions on how they hate you. Usually, there is something going on with them or you caught them in a busy moment.

Be brave and ask
If there is something unclear or bothering you, spare no time and ask the person involved immediately. Sometimes leaving things be or ignoring the obvious problem would tear any relationship down over time. Opening-up and being honest, instead of being fake-polite, will clear any misunderstandings between you.

Learn to differentiate a neg from feedback
People see things that we can’t with ourselves. It’s called a Blind Spot. and because we are blind sided about ourselves, people offer their feedback. We can be a little unreceptive to this due to a number of reasons. Don’t be defensive. Be careful though, because some people offer up advice and say nasty things under the guise of “constructive criticism”. How to know if the feedback is valid? Take points only from people who you would ask for advice from.

The only opinion that matters is yours
People will say a lot of things about you. How you dress, how you cook, what your job is, where you live, what car you drive. All these things are projection. Projection is the mental process by which people attribute to others what is in their own minds. For example, individuals who are in a self-critical state, consciously or unconsciously, may think that other people are critical of them. When a person questions your lifestyle and makes judgement about you, most likely this same thing are things that they want for themselves. Don’t let anybody that resents you, make you question your beliefs about yourself.

Don’t think about it!
The last advice is to let the comments pass you and don’t think about it. People will say a lot of things and a lot of those they didn’t even think about. Don’t create a mental space for boring comments and park it in your head. People say things and it’s not that deep. Their opinions are really not about you- it’s about them.

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Self

Stay With Your Feelings

8 Steps to Acknowledge Your Feelings

Keeping our emotional health in check is a habit that we must cultivate. One of the ways that we stay emotionally healthy is by acknowledging the existence of our emotions both positive and negative. Unfortunately, we tend to disregard the emotions that make us feel “bad”. Over time we have accustomed ourselves to tune out these “bad feelings” and we’re left with an unfillable void in our mental space.

Feelings Vs. Emotions

Even though Feelings and Emotions are used synonymously, we must know their slight differences.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), emotion is defined as “a complex reaction pattern, involving experiential, behavioral and physiological elements.”

Feelings, on the other hand is “self-contained phenomenal experience. They are subjective, evaluative, and independent of the sensations, thoughts, or images evoking them.”

For the purpose of this article, feelings and emotions shall be used interchangeably.

Do you allow yourself to feel your feelings?

Below are eight steps to acknowledge and allow ourselves to feel the broad spectrum of your emotions.

Set aside a time to “feel your feelings”

Daily life can be a struggle and most of the times, it is hard to find time to relax let alone to face our emotions! The idea of confronting our demons and unravelling the reasons why we feel bothered and uncomfortable something seems like a counterintuitive task. Of course, we should just run away with any uncomfortable feeling and call it a day. But there is danger in letting emotions bottle up. Think of it as a daily check-in with yourself. What are the feelings that I experienced today? How did I handle myself in those situations? Is there something that I would change given I feel the same again in the future?


Realize that you are not selfish for feeling your emotions

One of the best gifts you can give yourself (and others) is self-awareness. You are not being selfish for having them, for understanding them, for trying to process them. Your feelings are unique to you and having the awareness of the emotions you feel and the behavior you exhibit is a gift to you and to others.

To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.

Socrates


Don’t focus on the “feeling”, focus on the sensations

This means being conscious of the sensations in your body. If you feel angry, how does the body react? Is it tense? Is your head hot? Is there a lump on your throat? If you’re sad, does your eyes droop a little and feel sleepy? Is your breathing shallow? One technique is called “Body Scan Meditation”. Body scan meditation is a form of mindfulness meditation where you scan your body for tension, tightness, pain, or anything out of the ordinary. This may be difficult to carry out when you’re not used to “checking in” with the body, but this essential tool is helpful in identifying how your body responds to your emotions.


Use an emotion wheel (Plutchik’s wheel of emotions)

Identifying your emotions is a complicated process. Sometimes, you feel happy or lonely. Most of the times you feel a spectrum of feelings all at the same time. Robert Plutchik is a German-born American who created a wheel of emotions to illustrate different emotions. There are also variations of this model that shows specific emotions. Refer to this wheel when you are having a tough time identifying what you really feel.


Explain the feelings to yourself
Imagine a friend is feeling the exactly the same way you do. You would stay with your friend and try to make things better, right? Staying with your feelings is an act of choosing to be a friend to yourself. This is not rationalizing your feelings. Explain to yourself the events that led to this, prior to those feelings. This is having a conversation with yourself about how you really feel. Saying things aloud makes it more real and tangible.


Be accountable.

Feeling your feelings is good but acting them out to others is not! Remember, you are responsible for your own feelings, only you. Help from a friend is great and could be insightful, but at the end of the day how you process your emotions is up to you. Don’t rally people behind you against another person, nor blame other people. Be accountable with your feelings. Own it.


Thank yourself and let it go
Once you’ve sat down and did one or two (or more!) of these exercises, thank yourself for being brave and facing your inner self. Imagine your emotions as a soft tangible object (butterfly, cloud, small wind, etc.) slowly moving away from you. Feelings pass by, they don’t stay long if you’ve acknowledged them head on.

Conclusion: Allowing yourself the necessity of identifying your emotions and allowing to feel them completely will help you understand yourself better. Staying with your feelings is an opportunity to get to know yourself a little better.