Navigating the labyrinth of our memories and scar tissue inside of us is hard. We may want to learn more about why we are the way we are, or why we feel the way we feel, but knowing ourself can be surprisingly hard.
I recently wrote about about how Gretchen Rubin suggests shining an indirect spotlight on what’s going on inside of us by seeing what we’re doing. Identifying external “tells” can be easier for those of us who may not be adept at sensing their feelings, or those who find their own feelings drowned by the feelings of those around them.
Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves also suggest looking outward to develop a better understanding of your internal landscape:
If you’re having trouble looking within to spot your emotional patterns and tendencies, you can discover the same information by looking outside yourself at the movies, music, and books you identify with. When the lyrics or mood of a song resonate with you, they say a lot about how you feel, and when a character from a movie or a book sticks in your head, it’s probably because important aspects of his or her thoughts and feelings parallel your own. Taking a closer look in these moments can teach you a lot about yourself. It can also provide a great tool for explaining your feelings to other people.
Finding your emotions in the expressions of artists allows you to learn about yourself and discover feelings that are often hard to communicate. Sometimes you just can’t find the words to say what you are feeling until you see it in front of you. Listening to music, reading novels, watching films, and even looking at art can act as a gateway into your deepest emotions. Take a closer look the next time one of these mediums grabs your attention—you never know what you’ll find.
It’s strange for a 31 year old woman, but I find myself addicted to Let it Go from the movie Frozen. I listen to Idina Menzel’s strong and and powerful and vulnerable rendition of the song, and it seeps through my porous body into my soul.
Elsa speaks to me. Like I her, I am more accustomed to concealing or suppressing emotions instead of feeling them, of always being pleasant than allowing myself to be human, of being what I am expected to be. But like her, also creating things by plucking the emotions from my heart and drawing letters from them, my castle of words, strung together word by word. Like her, trying to let it go, trying to let go of things beyond my control.
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me I’m free!
Let it Go, Frozen