Life is a series of thought-provoking moments, eliciting our emotions and imprinting our psyche. Life is creation in-action. No one gets a free ride. We all love like crazy; maybe feel pangs of hate; take a deep breath before a leap of faith, and sometimes we get hurt — we learn and grow through pain. We sing with angels and rejoice with heart — we bleed, break and scar. Whoever ever said that life was easy, huh? It’s not. And neither is sitting with your emotions to confront your deepest truths.
Consider what Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Carl Jung had to say about the meaning of life:
“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls. We meet ourselves time and again in a thousand disguises on the path of life. Real liberation comes not from glossing over or repressing painful states of feeling, but only from experiencing them to the full.”
Hmm… that explains a lot. I may have just had an epiphany.
If, as Jung suggests, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being, then the expressive use of a pen may surely help pave the way toward enlightenment.
How about using your writing in a more meaningful way — as an outlet to document and sift through your human experience — and then bring what’s on the inside to the page?
“Who looks outside, dreams’ who looks inside, awakes.”
- Carl Jung
I’m talking about the deep, convoluted feelings that make you tick and drive purpose in your life — there’s a wealth of experience and lessons learned buried in your past. Use those little wisdom-nuggets.
Writing emotional responses evoked from our experiences is a great asset to writers. It’s the perfect outlet to work through your emotions, drive home your beliefs about the world, and then incorporate them as an important theme in your stories.
Right? Every great book brings an authentic message delivered with its underlying story theme. The way I see it, story theme gives us the opportunity to spread change to the world in our own small way.
Like layering up the good stuff.
It’s the reason you probably started writing in the first place.
The fact is that you are a complex creative-creature with many layers and depth. No one sees the world in quite the same way as you.
You view life through the fluidity of your unique perspective as you evolve, change and reach for new experiences.
Don’t be afraid of what’s deep inside.
More from Jung:
“Sometimes you have to do something unforgivable just to be able to go on living. We only gain merit and psychological development by accepting ourselves as we are and by being serious enough to live the lives we are entrusted with. Our sins and errors and mistakes are necessary to us, otherwise we are deprived of the most precious incentives to development.”
Sounds delicious, does it not?
Making mistakes and doing something that may be considered unforgivable might sound absurd to some, but I think it sounds more like living your truths.
I also feel as if more of us need to embrace the flaws that make us who we are instead of feeling ashamed about them Imagine if we could drive home that message in our stories? Or something similar?
Bringing your flaws and unique worldview to the page by exploring your inner-most emotions, perspectives and feelings is a gift not only to yourself but to others.
Think of it like this: You are the flesh and blood; the tangible and malleable. Yet, you are also a part of the mysterious — the light and the dark. Which ultimately means you have so much of the rich stuff to offer through your words.
Your emotions are your greatest muse.
“Everything begins with words — our stories, thoughts, messages. Each word has its own vibration, too. It is these vibrations that create the reality that surrounds us. Words create more than just stories; they inform our universe, our lives and our reality — and they teach us. Through creating words, I have managed to reacquaint myself more fully with my soul and to live a more authentic, love-driven and passionate life.”
– From Creative Writing Energy
Other benefits of exploring your feelings through writing:
By expressing yourself and communicating complex ideas in a much more effective way, you will discover more about yourself and learn how to honor it by bringing your deepest truths and beliefs into your work.
Emptying your mind through writing helps to eliminate stress. Capturing those moments, developing and working through your ideas produces a ripple effect; since not only do you declutter your mind, but it is also a process of rationalization — story themes right there.
Writing activates neurons in your brain and gets you set to face the day. Serious writers have demonstrated that setting goals or systems in their daily writing habits significantly increases the possibilities of achieving them.
Some fellow writers swear by starting their day with a little self-reflective journaling. Journal writing your feelings teaches you about you and helps to strengthen your writing skills and find your voice.
It also encourages greater self-awareness.
“The only meaningful life is a life that strives for the individual realization — absolute and unconditional — of its own particular law.” — Jung
Writing down what you have in mind regularly — your dreams, worries, fears, deepest desires, is a viable path toward self-realization.
Writers often use snippets of their self-reflections in their work because it’s important to create characters that feel real to our readers. Well, I know that I tend to lean on my past experiences and feelings when tapping into the essence of my characters.
“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your writing.”
– Gustave Flaubert
So, if I’m feeling a little like:
I might use the edge to help drive story conflict. You know, inject some attitude into my words. Helps to release the tension too, by the way.
Then I take it deeper, spinning my characters with sass and diving into the gritty, dark, even profane.
Even better. Well, maybe not so much for me, but my character’s benefit from my soul-crushing pain. Lucky them. The fact is that words created from an aching heart have a way of bringing depth and authenticity to the page.
Real feelings mean readers will relate to, care about and resonate with your character and their world because everyone has been hurt in some way.
Need I say more?
We can’t get enough of the love-stuff. It’s where alchemy and magic abounds.
Personally, I spend more time than I probably should contemplating the concept of love and exploring its meaning, and I’m not even a romance writer, per se. Regardless, love always winds its way into my writing. Every time.
Love affects us all. It’s the universal language we all know and understand, and bringing it to your story creates real-world feelings and connection.
Go on, give it a try — dig deep, unravel yourself from the inside out and let your emotions be your greatest muse.
Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium