The sense of wishing to be known only for what one really is is like putting on an old, easy, comfortable garment. You are no longer afraid of anybody or anything. You say to yourself, ‘Here I am — just so ugly, dull, poor, beautiful, rich, interesting, amusing, ridiculous — take me or leave me.’ And how absolutely beautiful it is to be doing only what lies within your own capabilities and is part of your own nature. It is like a great burden rolled off a man’s back when he comes to want to appear nothing that he is not, to take out of life only what is truly his own. -David Grayson, journalist and author (1870-1946)
I was wondering what to write about this morning and I saw this quote, which made me realize how important it is to write from the heart. I spent much of my writing career doing exactly the opposite. I wrote technical and training manuals, white papers, and scripts for corporate videos. It’s not as if this was a bad thing. It paid the bills and served me and my family for a significant period of time. It was safe in the way writing about things rather than feelings can be.
To write about feelings or to write from the heart, takes courage. It means not being afraid of anybody or anything, and in many cases, telling your inner critic to pay attention to something else. Some of us are able to do this right out of the gate. Anne Lamott, for example, did this in Operating Instructions, published in the late 80’s. I remember reading about her experience of being a new parent and the loss of her best friend, and wishing I could put myself out there like that, something that took me another two decades to accomplish.
When some people read my memoir, they are astonished at how much I reveal about myself. I understand that this is something many people are unable to do. They are afraid to speak their truth, and I understand how that happens. Years of conditioning by parents and peers about how we should or shouldn’t behave, stop us from speaking out or writing it down.
Often our truth is tied to our shadow side, and we are afraid that if people knew who we really were in all of our raw vulnerability, they wouldn’t love us anymore. In my experience, the opposite is true. The more you write from the heart, the more you speak and live your truth, the more love you receive.
Just for today, you might want to give it a try: Write something from the heart. See how it feels.