WRITING TIP: Use writing to create new possibilities out of things that hurt

“Words are tricky. Sometimes you need them to bring out the hurt festering inside. If you don’t, it turns gangrenous and kills you,” wrote Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni in the novel, Queen of Dreams. She goes on: “Sometimes words can break a feeling into pieces.” Some feelings need to be broken to pieces — shattered and swept away to the compost. You can write the hurt in a way that makes this possible, rather than writing it in a way that will add concrete to the mud and make that negative feeling a permanent part of your identity. The key: write the story of the hurt a few ways, and see how it leaves you feeling. Once you get it out raw, can you find a meaning for it that wasn’t evident at first? Can you find the strength and resilience hidden in your response to it? Can you find the springboard to compassion and insight that it creates? All of these possibilities — and more — are in every hurt you carry, however negative it feels. To be the author of your own life story is to be the authority on what you become. You are the one who determines what things mean, and in doing so, create yourself anew.