Freewriting Exercise for Uncovering Hidden Emotions

What are you feeling right now?

Maybe you are interested. Maybe you’re bored. Maybe you’re not really feeling anything.

I used to think that I was just feeling one thing. I used to believe that I was a pretty rational guy. I didn’t think I had emotional problems.

But I do. And so do you.

I didn’t know that I was feeling a whole cornocopia of feelings at the same time.

Now I am coming to realize that at any given time, I feel all sorts of things. It’s fantastic. It’s a breath of fresh air. I feel like I am more in my own life.

Some feelings are more in the background. Some are loud in the foreground.
Some are loud in the background as suppressed emotions.

Anger is one that particularly we don’t have much of a place for — in America especially. It’s not OK to get angry! We judge people even just for the fact that they got angry.

This is something that I have definitely done. A lot.

It took me going inside and finding that not only do I have anger but part of the reason why I was judging someone’s expression of it was that I wasn’t remotely OK with how I could express it.

It came out in weird ways. I would unconsciously do little things to provoke people. Then they would get angry, and I would get to feel distant. I was better than them.

This wasn’t good for relationships. Heck, it wasn’t good for my own health.

We are civilized humans and we have laws and rules and expectations of social conduct.

We try to be fair.

But we’re also cavemen, primates, animals. monsters. We have pits of despair and mountains of rage-lava within us. We are wild and goofy and desperate, fearful and ashamed.

We believe that if we control our feelings, if we show the correct feelings at the appropriate times, then we will be OK.

But we’re not OK. The better we can compartmentalize, the less OK we feel. Deep down, there is the truth.

Freewriting exercise

Writing is a great way of safely getting in touch with your emotions. To expose what is there beneath the surface. Start with simple questions and simply stay in the flow at an emotionally-real level. If you get stuck, just ask yourself more questions and see what you feel.

  • Who are you really?
  • What do you really feel right now?
  • What else?
  • What else?

Write it down. Flow with it.

How do you feel about how you feel? Where do those judgments come from? What would happen if you let yourself feel however you felt? Can you feel that way without acting on the feeling?

It’s scary. Flows of emotion are anything but simple. Reveal one layer and find another. Dig deeper and there is a whole other side of you.

Just because it’s down there deep doesn’t mean it’s not affecting you. If it’s you, it’s you.

Healthy outlets

The next step is to see if there are some things you can do to find outlets for these emotions. Are there activities you can do that help get you into states where you feel these emotions and can express your feelings without there being any risk of catastrophe?

Maybe you want to try boxing or horseriding or hang gliding. Maybe it turns out that fishing is a profound outlet for emotions for you.

Writing will not “solve” your emotions. Emotions do not need to be fixed. The purpose of writing is to reveal what is there, and if you want to find some outlets for these emotions so that they don’t come out in unproductive ways or so that they don’t stay bottled up, writing is a way to explore this.

If you actually go there, it can make all the difference.

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