As an introvert, I have a rich inner world. One swirling with thoughts, emotions, dreams, angst, joy, depth and a side of weird. But unfortunately at times it just gets bottled up inside me. Especially my frustrations and fears. Maybe I think it's more noble of me to keep them inside, to not spill my issues on other people. But I'm finding that it makes me anxious and physically tense.
So as I finished up a run the other night, I sat down on a bench and decided to text my emotions to my wife Hillary. I didn't actually know if it would be helpful. I figured I'd try it and then if it didn't work, I'd just cross that idea off the list.
Here is an excerpt of the stream of text's I sent. I left out some of the more raw ones. (I'm authentic, not transparent people!):
I have anxiety about lots of things
all the people who watch me
Where are your priorities
Am I a good enough Christ follower
What if I died in a car crash
What if someone in my family dies?
where do I stand on the issues
dont disappoint people
people need you
You cant hide
maybe you should do yoga
text, email, alert, notification
Well to my surprise, as I fired off about 100 text messages to her about my various fears, weaknesses and thoughts, something happened. I felt lighter. I felt physically less tense. I felt more relaxed and at peace.
There was like a 100/2 ratio of my texts to hers but it didn't matter. The act of just sharing with her and being heard released something healthy inside me.
I'm learning right now that God didn't create me to just "have" emotions, (Ex. tearing up watching American Ninja warrior when the oldest competitor ever makes it to the finals) he wants me to share them with others.
I wonder if many of you, especially my introvert friends have a large and teeming inner life of emotions but they just don't always make their way to other people. And while I actually am grateful for social media, that it is a place where I can share pieces of myself (albeit edited) to the world, I want to do this more often in all of my relationships.
So, I am writing someone I love each week to really express my deep emotions/ thoughts toward them and I have really enjoyed it. I am also going to ask my friends if they just want to begin texting each other what emotions they are feeling just as an experiment to see if it has a similar healthy effect.
I feel like not accessing your emotional life is like living in black and white when there is so much color and beauty and depth to be experienced. Let's not settle for black and white.
Maybe you have a few friends you would like to try this with. Give it a shot this week.