When writing, you cannot hide yourself

What a lot of people do not appreciate enough is this:

Writing reveals even things you don’t want to share. That’s because writing spills out your guts to the world in ways you might not fathom. It exposes you.

Writing down your thoughts is a dynamic activity.

So, this means the writing on your Facebook profile will tell me things you might not want me to know about you. It’s a fascinating mental game.

I remember reading about that subject on a TED blog – the psychological factors involved in our use of social media platforms. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to find the link to that blog entry. Anyway, the writer shared that our writings and rants are multidimensional. I might be sharing some things as jokes but someone else can pick up other things, deeper layers of information, from my tweets. Things I didn’t intend sharing in the first place.

As a way of example of how dynamic communication is: please imagine for a moment, sitting in a strikingly simple yet posh office of a psychologist you are seeing about a personal matter. This individual is well versed on human behaviour and can make astute connections between seemingly unrelated subjects. So, when you talk angrily, venting, blaming your ex lover for your relationship’s breakdown, she might sense (after some digging) that the problem wasn’t the ex, but lay with you. She may proceed and detail that you fit a psychological profile of someone who self-sabotages every relationship because you are, in deeply buried truth, afraid of commitment.

Now, this may be as a result of a past that you’ve not effectively dealt with. A past experience you thought could be neatly swept under the rug and “move on”. Until . . . until it caught up with you, disturbed your life, demanding to be explored (however painful it might be for the moment) before the wound could properly heal. Reliving that hurt, unpacking it, is the way to make sense of why the current is being impeded by the past.

But, of course, the overall point is simply this: communicating breeds a certain level of transparency. It teases out underlying thoughts, emotions, motives. That’s why it is so difficult to hide behind language. Even more so when writing.

(Speaking on the other hand, the way one uses words, also reveals a bit about one’s intelligence or lack thereof. It could be said then that eloquence is something that is intertwined with brain power.)

I know this about writing from my own experiences, that it is exhausting emotional work. Totally transparent. And one of the loneliest activities there are, because often I write about things I know, things I notice around me, my feelings, matters that conflict me emotionally, my life experiences and, those are things I face alone and writing about them makes me handle them better.

“Books reflect your inner guts in ways you don’t fully control. Even works of fiction – perhaps fiction more so than non-fiction – are nuggets of confessions about your true self. Writing necessarily means putting a part of your private self out there for affirmation, criticism, engagement, ridicule, judgement.” So wrote broadcaster, author and world champion debater, Eusebius McKaiser, in the introduction of his book, “A Bantu In My Bathroom”.

Writing is beautiful. Writing well is even more stunning to witness. And having the ability to thread a story that has emotional impact on other people is a priceless gift to have . . .

As long as you can accept along with the gift the fact that it opens you up.

Advertisements