While talking to a friend about how just talking and speaking our thoughts out loud helps us get clarity on our thoughts, I realised that’s exactly how “writing” works, at least, for me. It’s similar to one of the things a therapist does. They keep asking what are you thinking and why you think in this particular way. They basically ask questions for which we have the answers, but don’t want to accept, because we feel they are not right, or that the portray us as narrow-minded. Saying or writing your thoughts means admitting to and accepting them. However, if you don’t express your thoughts in any form, it gives leaves your brain confused by different theories, or simply keeps you in denial.
There was a conflict I was facing once, and I couldn’t figure out why I was thinking the way I was. The conflict was regarding how any mother can leave their child for work. My first reaction was that the mother doesn’t care enough, and I thought “What kind of mother does this to such a young child?”
Believe me, I know how ridiculous this sounds, and how narrow-minded a response it is in the age where women have achieved so much and are doing excellently in many spheres. Though I understand that this is the worst response, especially being a woman myself, I couldn’t figure out the reasons behind my reaction. Just to put myself at ease I started writing about it and putting whatever I was thinking into words. While writing all this, I remembered that Indra Nooyi, the first female CEO of PepsiCo, has also spoken about the guilt a woman has to face while trying to balance her career, home, and children. She also mentions that, to overcome this, one needs to reach out to extended family for support. This made me understand that, as a mother, a woman is already going through a guilt trip, and rather than judging her and adding to her guilt trip, we (I) need to create an ecosystem for support which enables them to make choices without judgement or guilt.
Coming back to what writing means, for me it is not about correct grammar, or making sure there is a structure, or even worrying about whether it making sense. Instead, it’s about putting all my thoughts, even the chaotic and confusing ones, in words. Once my thoughts are words, it helps me notice links, if any, and make sense of those words. It helps me introspect, understand myself, and find the answer to all my “whys”.
This is something we can be taught in schools and higher educational institutes as writing might be one of the best tools to make us more articulate in our thinking. I am sure rather than forcing us to mug up answers in school, it will help if we are given the space and opportunity to learn how to articulate our thoughts.
I remember when I was in Class V or VI, we were asked to write one page every day from any book with the objective that this will help in improving our handwriting. Isn’t improving our thinking process more important than our handwriting? Maybe both are equally important, but I believe as parents, teachers, and guardians we should encourage our children and each other to write more often. There are many apps which encourage one to write and re-read what you wrote in previous years to understand how far you have come, and how one felt years back at a particular time. Hopefully, these practices will help each one of us to understand ourselves, the “whys” behind our thoughts, and maybe it will make us better human beings.