Experiencing hurt and anger are a part of life. We all experience it. If we’re honest, we probably all cause it as well.
It’s hard to know whether to protect or share our wounds, whether we want to write about it. If we do, we write when our anger is still red-hot. Though cathartic, that piece of writing may not be something we want to include in a legacy.
When, then, do we want to preserve our feeling of hurt and anger for prosperity?
When you can make sense of a major issue
I have an incident that, so far, I’ve chosen not to write about it. The hurt is personal and not universal. I’m not at a point of understanding. Other than venting, I don’t see value in sharing. No one would gain any edification from my story of betrayal.
On the other hand, if I felt that explaining why the incident was hurtful would help others, I’d be tempted to bleed my emotions onto paper and screen.
When hurt and anger are part of your story
My mother experienced an instance of betrayal that was both personal and professional. I honestly don’t know if she would have ever written about it. It’s something over which she cried many tears. It also informed many of her subsequent career choices. As her daughter who’s a little fuzzy on the details of the event, I wish she had.
Likewise, if an instance of hurt and anger explains the course of future family relationships, it might be worth explaining.
Particularly for victims of abuse and violence, writing can be therapeutic. Writing, sharing, and educating can foster healing. Consider writing about your hurt and anger in light of how you’ve grown. These stories of recovery that emerge out of rage and outrage will be particularly poignant to your loved ones. (Example: How healing my hurt has helped me grow)
When not to share your feelings
That’s a personal decision and no one can, or should, dictate you right to write—and share—your own story. Moreover, since situations can vary, there really are no hard and fast rules. At best, there might be a moral or ethical roadmap. This subject is covered in depth in my book. In general though, think about the likely effect of your story before sharing too widely. Is writing (and sharing) about an episode is likely to perpetuate hurt and anger? Will your story lend insight or understanding?
How you want to balance those two things is up to you.
When have you chosen to share or not to share your feelings of hurt and anger? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.