Blogging is my Life Coach
Last Friday, I wrote about how disappointed I was with myself for some bad behavior, and that post has been on my mind all week. Which is not a bad thing. I want to change my behavior, so it’s kind of important that I put some focus on it. As I was thinking about all this, it occurred to me that were it not for this blog, I probably would have abandoned my pursuit of Thankful long ago.
That’s not an astounding revelation, it’s simply a matter of accountability. Still, this was not one of the expectations I had when I started blogging six months ago. Other than working on my writing skills, I certainly had no idea of using my blog as a means of self-improvement. But then, I had no calculated intentions of divulging anything as personal as I find myself sometimes doing. Who knew a blog could be such a good listener? It coaxes things out of me that I didn’t know I needed to talk about. And then it gives me excellent advice.
Wow. Blogging is my Life Coach.
It’s no secret that unburdening yourself does just that – it lightens your mental load. Vocalizing your problems releases a kind of emotional pressure. Blogging about it goes one step further in that it adds the element of editing. Venting helps me, but by that point, the emotions are so strong that I have difficulty filtering them. This is also true when I vent in writing, except that I’m able to go back and consider what I’ve said before it reaches my intended audience. Editing forces me to really consider what I’ve written and it’s validity. Through editing, I have the ability to ensure that my words are more precisely what I mean them to be.
Writing for public consumption is helpful, and I’m beginning to feel that it is imperative to my growth. I’m not just releasing the pressure, I’m also practicing honesty. Honesty with others, certainly, about who I am and sharing my thoughts and emotions. But greater still, is the forced honesty with myself.
Perhaps most importantly, writing allows me some distance. I can purge my emotions when they are at their rawest, and later, I can return to examine them exactly as they were originally felt. Memory no longer supplies the truth. The written word is proof positive that this is what I said and thought and felt. It forces me to re-evaluate me, which is good. When I have this opportunity to review what has passed, after the emotional surge is over, I am able to analyze the situation with more reason than emotion. Distance allows me to ask myself questions, such as, “Is this how I really feel?” or “Was I really acting reasonably when I did that?” It puts me in a better position to admit my own culpability and see more clearly where I need to make changes.
What blogging has provided me with is a trail. The thing about a post is that unless I delete it, the words are there. The reminder is there. Without blogging, I think the importance I place on some things would fade rather quickly. I go through various joys and frustrations, failures and triumphs…and it all passes out of my notice in a blink. If you’re over the age of 35, then you know this to be true, that the days and the weeks, the months and the years begin to fly. Life is packed with so much living, that it’s terribly easy to go about your daily existence without really giving it much thought.
Reading and Being Read
The biggest blogging surprise for me was the community, and I’ve learned so much from reading other blogs. Funny or serious, uplifting or sad, there is so much great writing out there, and so many wonderful things being said. But the post is only the beginning of what there is to be gained. Through comments, we bloggers are able to have an actual discussion, whether we agree or disagree. Comments support our arguments, offer us alternate viewpoints, and generally provide more food for thought. Often, what I learn most is about myself. How I react to a post or comment, what emotions they elicit, tells me quite a bit about who I really am. What makes me laugh, what offends me? What can I relate to and what do I have a hard time understanding?
I only have a handful of subscribers and a few others that stop by from time to time. But from this small group, I have received so much. Comments are like the life-blood of my blog. Without them, I really think this thing would shrivel up and die because, although I still write primarily for myself, I desire feedback. I want to be heard. And more importantly, I want to be understood. The people who comment on my blog must be some of the best people out there. Within this group, I have found not only conversation, but compassion, empathy, joy, laughter, solace, camaraderie. In short, I have found that I am not alone, that anything I am experiencing has been and will be experienced by others. Sure, I already knew that, but it helps to hear it all the same. You all are people who help me grow.
How could I have known six months ago that blogging would be able to offer me so much? Outlet, teacher, cheerleader, coach, counselor…
That’s pretty cool. I think I’ll stay a while.
Items of Interest:
I don’t feel like writing this post (in which I talk about being honest with myself and others)
Not so Thankful in September (in which I’m angry with myself for behaving badly)