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The Therapy of Writing

December 20, 2010

The path to happiness involves recognizing potential obstacles in your life. Once you’re aware, avoiding or preparing for them becomes manageable. Think of a blind man running 200M hurdles. Would it benefit him to ask a friend the exact location of each hurdle? If he has no friends to ask, would a walk-through in advance help? At the very least, if he’s aware of hurdles on the track, he can bring a first-aid kit and patch up the wounds he’ll endure on his journey to the finish line. The point being, since you can’t predict the future and life is certain to present obstacles, do what you can to prepare.

In the last few years I’ve come to understand how recognizing potential obstacles can prepare me for situations I have no experience with. Obstacles exist in many forms: a physicality (a broken leg), financial (job loss, medical bills), or mental (self doubt, low self esteem, a tough decision). Call it any event causing stress or inefficiency in your life. letUbeU focuses on the mental obstacles in life, the most difficult to overcome. Why? Simply because there is no easy answer. Everyone’s situation is unique and we all could use a helping hand.

Squeeze it out!

I see it everyday on Facebook and Twitter. People immersed in doubt and potential failure. They soak it up like the Bounty quicker picker-upper with no one to give them a good squeeze. BUT…there is always a positive to find- a light at the end of the tunnel (my grandma taught me that). Although you may not see it, there are steps you can take to become aware of the obstacles holding you back. I’ll briefly explain one which helps me recognize potential obstacles, analyze them, and react appropriately.

The Therapy of Writing and Solitude

This line from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography sums it up well:

Although I am a gregarious person, I love solitude even more. I welcomed the opportunity to be by myself, to think, to plan, to plot.

I read this today and am happy to know I have something in common with Nelson Mandela. For the last 10 years, every 3-6 months, writing has been a form of therapy for me. I’d find a moment to isolate myself, sit at a computer and type. I’ll have nothing in mind to write about, I simply spew thoughts and words from my mind into the computer. To get started I usually ask myself one question, “What’s up?” 

Getting started may be difficult; you’ll only spit out a few thoughts. Then a few more words spew out and finally you have a full blown geyser of thoughts on your computer; like blood flowing after an aspirin, there is an uninterrupted flow of writing.

Here is the tricky part, DON’T STOP to edit, DON’T REREAD. Write until your time of solitude is over. When you are done, CTRL+S and close it down (maybe you don’t want it on your computer, then print it, fold it up and hide it somewhere). At some point in the future, revisit your What’s Up Note (WUN) and analyze your life at that point–plan and plot. What were your thoughts? What obstacles were in the way? X months later, how did you hurdle them? You’ll see the mistakes or corrections you made. Implement these ideas toward future obstacles. Basically, learn from your past to prepare for the future.

Scientists can track the process of evolution through our DNA; you can track the process of your life through writing a WUN. Where a doctor can look at your genes and prescribe the most accurate medication, you can look at your WUN and apply the most accurate solution. The human mind has an uncanny ability to bury memories, especially negative ones. Keep them out in the light and type. No one is looking, always be yourself, LetUbeU.

Related Article

Decades of research have shown that writing down your emotions has concrete health benefits (via BBC Health)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. val permalink
    August 13, 2011 1:29 PM

    I like it tommie, maybe i’ll try 🙂

    • August 15, 2011 5:42 PM

      You’ll learn a lot about yourself, and it feels good when you get thoughts out of your head and onto paper (or a computer screen).

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