An interesting thought has been knocking around in my head lately (inspired by Sons of Anarchy, of all things).
Our thoughts and ideas are the only things that are really ours. They’re the only thing that can’t be lost, destroyed, or taken away from us.
It seems like everyone has a platform nowadays, and they’re all using it. Maybe more than they should. To the point that it becomes an inescapable clamor, and you can’t even hear yourself think over all the noise. Maybe you think that because everyone is talking, all the time, you don’t have anything of value to add to the conversation. That’s an easy trap to fall into; I’ve fallen into it myself.
But here’s the thing: each and every one of us is a walking contradiction. We are all unique, and we are all alike — in different ways. No one has lived the exact life you’ve lived. No one has seen things exactly the way you see them. But there are certain common threads among all of us. Certain things that we all need and want. Relating to other human beings is one of those things, and it’s a big one.
By sharing your experiences and thoughts — by sharing yourself — you add another voice to the noise, yes, but you also give people a chance to see things from a different perspective. Maybe you’ll change some minds or hearts. Maybe you’ll make someone laugh out loud; maybe you’ll bring unexpected tears to their eyes. Maybe you’ll make someone feel better about the world we live in. Maybe you’ll save someone’s life.
Then there are the benefits you get. Writing is cathartic. When we write, we get to know ourselves better. In the very act of writing, we process what we think and how we feel; we crystallize and clarify our worldviews and opinions. We remember the things we need to hold close; we find closure on the things we need to let go of. When we write, we distill ourselves into our most undiluted form, free of the usual distractions and chatter.
So write what you think. Write what you feel. Write what you know. Even if you never publish any of it, bare your soul somewhere. You never know who might find it, or how it might help them. Or how it might help you.