Thursday, March 5, 2009

Writing to Develop Emotional Intelligence

Lately I've been reflecting on my love of writing and realize that it is a perfect tool for increasing emotional intelligence. Writing can help us reach unrealized parts of ourselves.

Discovering myself.
As I string words together, sentence after sentence, my conscious mind slowly gains access to a storehouse of impressions, ideas, memories, and knowledge from my past. From brainstorming, to rough, working, and final drafts, I become aware of what other parts of me already know. Psychologists and others (have you read Blink?) describe a delay between the arrival of new thoughts (or feelings), and our conscious awareness of them. Before a thought/feeling becomes fully conscious, we may only sense it through elusive moods, or physical symptoms. If we don't take the time to contemplate (sitting quietly, talking to a good listener, or journaling) the thought/feeling may never come to consciousness. We then can't retrieve the information, and if the thoughts/feelings are a trigger for us, we may react without ever knowing why.

With patience, writing pulls forth all this latent information. We can discover not only our hidden feelings and beliefs, but also creative ideas that have been haunting us. To reach our inner knowledge, we need only take the time to keep writing, through the clich├ęs and banality, until we find an idea that feels both familiar and new. We can then keep asking ourselves, what is this idea (or feeling)? What do I know about it? What else can I say about it? I am often astounded when, after withstanding the temptation to give up on a subject, I breakthrough and brainstorm many new pages on it.

Don't worry about aesthetics and form. Simply write to discover the goldmine of useful information inside. You have an inexhaustible source of knowledge, not only about yourself (which is priceless and exceptionally useful) but about any problem you face. I've always found that creative solutions are already present within a dilemma. We only have to dig for them. Journaling or blogging are great ways to begin.

Today I decided to explore the subject of writing itself. My experience in the writing also became the subject of the writing. Working through a labyrinth of ideas, I’m now beginning to understand WHY writing has become so dear to me.

What is your experience of writing?

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