In any given day, as mostly all of us do, I experience a wide range of different emotions, thoughts, and feelings. These are a result of the happenings of that particular day as well as past happenings of days and even years gone by.
Some of these emotions and thoughts are wonderful and spill over into me being a joy filled pleasant person to be around.
These are the days where my husband and I get along well, we have so much fun as a family, I’m patient with those who I cross paths with and I spend good quality time with my children.
Other days, or even just parts of days, my emotions and thoughts, wow, good just does not come out of them. These are the angry, broken, hurt days.
Feelings and negative thoughts that are hard for me to contain slip out in reactions that are unhealthily protective of myself and hurtful towards those closest to me.
Well, usually targeting one person in particular who is closest to me, and that person is my husband.
My husband loves me well and continues to show me patience and forgiveness even when I lash out angrily at him. He is able to see past the blow ups and see the frustration, hurt and brokenness behind it all and once it’s over and I’ve calmed down he responds with understanding and compassion.
It is that love and compassion he shows me that makes me want to deal with the underlying issues that is keeping the cycle going.
He has really helped me to see that there has been a lot to deal with in the past few years and what I’ve done is not deal with it.
In the past six years we received a foundation shaking diagnosis for our son, our son went thru two open heart surgeries, I had two miscarriages, our daughter was suddenly born a little early and spent time in the NICU, a close family member attempted suicide and spiraled downward into depression, and we had what felt to us like a major fight at my son’s school.
All of my not dealing with it caught up to me in the form of health issues and anger, just to name a few ways.
As a way to attempt to work through the negative thoughts and feelings that continue to surface I’ve begun implementing regular sessions of journaling as a means to just get the ugly out, before it spills out uncontrolled on its own.
I’ve done this in the past and when I stick with it consistently, which for me means several days a week, I am able to process my feelings better and my angry outbursts lessen.
However, I recently realized that I needed to take it a step further and really honestly dig into the lingering heartache stemming from some of the situations I’ve faced these past few years.
I needed to be able to go deep and explore the true underlying causes of a lot of my reactions and I needed to be able to do it with absolutely no fear of judgement and without fear of anyone stumbling upon my feelings being poured out now or in the future.
So I have taken an important step toward emotional healing and recovery by immediately shredding what I just journaled as soon as I’m done writing it.
I literally write, write, write and then tear it out and right through the shredder it goes.
Doing this journaling and immediately shredding has given me so much freedom to truly write unashamedly about what is going on with me.
No more condemning myself in my journal and subconsciously writing my own thoughts and feelings to paint myself in the best light knowing what I’m writing could one day be read by someone else.
Instead, now, I am able to explore honestly what is going on in my heart.
As a result, I’ve been able to deal with the feelings I’ve tried to will away but won’t go away and just really need to be explored and dealt with.
Has doing this decreased my angry outbursts?
So no, not at first.
In fact, they actually increased as things I needed to process were brought to the surface and I hadn’t changed my way of coping yet.
I have, though, been able though to better articulate to my husband what is the root cause and descalate quicker as a result.
And as I continue to do this journaling and shredding and stick with it (key for me!) the outbursts are happening less and less.
I’ve just been at it for a few months and as I’ve explored some pretty shameful thoughts and feelings, those particular thoughts and feelings are no longer floating around in my heart and mind. Some things that were plaguing me are pretty much non existent in my thought life as a result of having a way to honestly get them out.
One important component of this, I’m discovering, and this is just as important as getting it all out, is once I get it out, I need to fill myself up with goodness and truth.
As a Christian, for me this means reading God’s word and allowing His truth to fill me up in place of what I just emptied out.
I’ve found this time of filling up to be incredibly beneficial coupled with getting the ugly out.
This filling up after can look different for everyone. Just make sure after you get it out, that you then fill yourself back up with truth about how loved and valuable you are.
So practically what does this look like?
Ok so I’m sure a lot of you reading this are like me and pretty strapped for time.
But I’ve learned this is important for my own health and for the health of my marriage, my children and other important relationships so I’m making sure I make time for it.
Ideally I like to do my getting it out at night when I’m winding down from the day and the happenings of the day are done and fresh in my mind. (Bonus: Doing this journaling at night also helps me sleep better!)
I then like to do my filling up in the morning with some time spent writing what I’m grateful for, reading my Bible and praying.
This helps me to start my day filled up with peace and love and gives me a running start to fight the negativity that surfaces throughout the day.
Depending on what is going on and how much time I have, I typically spend about 20 minutes getting it out and filling back up, respectively.
I’ve also done it just for 3-5 minutes when time is really tight and found that beneficial also.
Naptime has also been a great time spend to some time journaling and even when I’ve felt myself really boiling over, I am very comfortable with kids sitting and watching videos while I get out what needs to get out.
I would love it if I did this seven days a week but reality is I get it in two to three days a week and I’m still finding this practice of getting it out and filling up so impactful.
I’m definitely starting to feel much different inside as a result and I am pretty positive this will have a profound lasting affect on my interactions with others, especially my husband.
Tools of the Trade
Here are some of the items I use during my emptying out and filling up time. You definitely don’t need all of this but I love things like this so I wanted to share!
- Journal or Notebook (I’m currently using this one here)
- Pens or other writing instrument (Pilot G2 pens are my favorite!)
Nice items to have on hand:
- Music (I go through my Amazon Prime account for relaxing instrumental music, this is my current favorite)
- Lap Desk (It helps to be able to sit in your favorite chair, couch or bed and write comfortably!)
- Here’s the bible I’m using now. It’s the Daily Reading Bible and I LOVE that it has sections to read each day all laid out for me!
Let’s Talk: What do you do when you just need to get the emotions out? What struggles do you find yourself facing when you keep it all in?
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