By this point, most of you reading this post know that I am a handwriting expert and that I’m always pestering you to let me analyze your handwriting to glean information about your personality. Does that answer the question of why you might want to have that happen though? Not really. Here in this post (okay, full-length paper – I’m a liberal arts graduate, what can I say? It’s in my blood now.) I hope to answer that question: Why? Why, if you already know yourself pretty well (you grew up with yourself, for goodness’ sake!), would you want to have your handwriting analyzed? What will you learn from it? How will it help you? As a start, let me explain a bit about how exactly handwriting analysis works and why it is accurate.
Handwriting as a Mirror
Handwriting is created primarily from your sub-conscious mind. Think about it – unless you don’t know what to say or you’ve forgotten how to spell a certain word, do you normally have to consciously form each stroke of each letter of each word your pencil forms? Hardly! Our minds and hands remember, and each one of our minds and sets of hands has a slightly different way of remembering and, hence, forming letters. Often we can’t even recall how exactly we make certain letters when asked until we actually write it and look to see. It’s like trying to tell someone how to tie their shoe – it’s nearly impossible unless you’re doing it. The sub-conscious, not the conscious, part of our brain is the factor heavily involved in the strokes of our handwriting.
If you are skeptical about whether your sub-conscious mind even comes into play in your normal physical existence, consider body language. Remember when your older brother used to unexpectedly jump around the corner and yell, “BOO” in your face? There was no conscious decision on your part that ran thusly in your mind, “I will now leap three feet in the air and scream at the top of my lungs.” Instead, your sub-conscious “fight or flight” instinct came into play and you acted without thinking about what you were doing at all. Body language is incredibly easy to spot in babies or young children. Everyone knows when the baby is happy because he smiles and laughs. And everyone knows if he’s crabby as well. Adults have learned, to some extent, to conceal their emotions and reactions when it is necessary or if they are feeling particularly defensive. Nevertheless, if we observe carefully, people are subconsciously revealing their state of mind through their stance, facial expressions, etc. more often than we may suspect. Handwriting is another science, like reading body language, that gives insight into one’s subconscious thoughts. It’s your mirror, and it reveals you and your traits accurately and objectively.
Whereas handwriting analysis is the science of looking at handwriting strokes to spot traits, graphotherapy is the process of actually changing certain personality traits. This is accomplished by forming a particular stroke in a different way than you are accustomed to. Certain pen-strokes have been proven to access very specific parts of your brain that have to do with a particular personality trait. When we change the way we form a certain letter and make it habit, our brain is rewired in such a way that we have altered that trait.
The study of the brain is on the rise in neuroscience, and we know much more than we have in the past. Former bishop N.T. ‘Tom’ Wright’s 2010 book called After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters touches on this topic quite a bit. His thesis is, in a nutshell, that we as believers are to have our characters transformed “in the renewal of our minds” as Paul writes, and that begins right where it says – in our minds. And in order to renew our minds in such a way as to completely transform our naturally sinful and corrupt nature, we must practice. Just because we are under grace does not mean, Wright stresses, that we now have that special “authenticity” that spills over in good deeds and morality. Instead we must practice virtue (in fact, the British title is Virtue Reborn). A strict set of rules won’t work to keep us in line either. They may treat the symptoms but only a true renewal of the mind can rid us of the need for rules and regulations.
This relates to my point because Wright several times explains that when we act in a certain righteous way or suppress a particular bad habit or impulse, a new neuro-pathway is formed in our brains. And each time we act the same way again, that pathway becomes wider and wider until it eventually takes very little conscious effort to go that direction. Wright gives this example: He’s made the drive from Durham to London so many times that when he begins down that road and happens to be going somewhere other than London, it takes a lot of reminders and conscious effort to take the correct turns. If his mind was other things, he’d end up in London even if his destination was some other town. I’m sure you all have experienced this sort of thing before. I know that, personally, if I am preoccupied with thoughts or with a conversation with a passenger, I’ll end up in one of three places in my car – the school at which I teach, the college I attended, or my house! Those roadways are well-used and lead us to the same place as soon as we sink into auto-pilot.
Similarly, if you have a bad temper and fly off the handle at the slightest provocation, there is a pathway in your brain that has been used so often that it’s almost impossible to steer in another direction. To remove this from your “auto-pilot” list takes a lot of work. Graphotherapy, however, gives us an aid toward that end. With consistent handwriting practice, another pathway widens, and the wider it gets and the narrower the old one becomes, the easier it becomes to take irritating situations and treat them wisely.
Is There a Point?
So, is there a point to analyzing your handwriting and considering graphotherapy? I honestly believe the answer is yes, and I hope to show why that is the case. My four basic arguments are these: 1) handwriting objectively reveals who you are, 2) it gives you insight into how to reinforce and use your strengths, 3) shows you what traits you ought to retrain to overcome your weakness, and 4) it helps others understand you and you, others.
To be continued in part 2…
All the best,