One of the things I love about spending time with your own story is that it helps you understand things — and see them in a new way.
Last week on the blog, I talked about a time in my life that I remembered as one of hurt and anger, but as I explored it in writing, I realized how much that time shaped me. I don’t think I would’ve had that realization without writing. It’s less about thinking it through and more about understanding the feelings.
Spend some time writing about a time from your life that challenged you and see what comes out. Perhaps like me you’ll come to appreciate how this time affected who you are or you’ll see your own resilience or make peace with a hurt or failure. Or maybe you’ll simply write through something that has troubled you. The point is not really to change your view, though that might happen, but to go on the journey that writing takes you on.
Set a timer for 5 minutes make a list of hard times in your life. Think of things like health issues, losing a job, losing a loved one, a break up, disappointments, being hurt by somebody close to you. Just list them.
Pick one of these situations to write about more. Close your eyes and picture yourself in this situation or look at a picture or relic from this time in your life.
Set a timer for 15–30 minutes (whatever you have time for). Start to write about this time. Begin by grounding yourself in concrete details. Where are you? Who are you with? What are you wearing? Focus on your senses: I see …, I hear …, I smell …, I feel …, I taste …. Are there things you don’t remember? Write what you don’t remember. That can be as revealing as what you do.
When your timer goes off, read back over what you wrote. What feelings came up while you were writing? Did you have any new perspectives about this part of your life? What is something you learned or a positive that came out of this experience?
Diving into your past can be challenging, especially when you’re looking at more difficult times, but it can be rewarding and help us understand both our past and our present.
P.S. I’d love to know how this writing exercise went for you. Hit reply and tell me about your experience with it, and if you’re excited about the idea of creating a more meaningful life, download my free guide, 3 Steps to Having a Meaningful Life You Love. Start designing your best life —a life with more energy, engagement, and clarity.