A jour­nal is a place for pro­cess­ing our feel­ings

The McLeod River Post - - News - Gwen Ran­dall-Young

Have you ever con­sid­ered keep­ing a jour­nal? A jour­nal is like a diary, but with a dif­fer­ence. In jour­nal writ­ing, there can be a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent pur­poses that the writer might have. It is much more than a run­ning record of what you did each day. Keep­ing a jour­nal is a way of get­ting to know your­self bet­ter. It is an op­por­tu­nity to share your in­ner­most thoughts with some­one you can trust: you.

In our busy lives we can get caught up in do­ing things and talk­ing to oth­ers, with lit­tle time left for self-re­flec­tion. It is easy to be­come alien­ated from our­selves. In many cases, life has been a se­ries of re­sponses to oth­ers, in­clud­ing par­ents, teach­ers, friends, and the true self is buried un­der many lay­ers. The prospect of be­gin­ning a psy­cho­log­i­cal arche­o­log­i­cal dig can be a lit­tle bit scary. Some­times it feels like turn­ing over a rock in the woods, and you’re hes­i­tant be­cause you’re not sure if you re­ally want to see what’s been hid­ing there.

But jour­nal writ­ing does not al­ways make things quite that ob­vi­ous. Herein lies an im­por­tant pur­pose of the process. By writ­ing daily about your feel­ings and re­flec­tions re­lat­ing to what­ever is hap­pen­ing in your life, you may no­tice, in time, cer­tain pat­terns that emerge that you just don’t see on the sur­face. Some­times, in the be­gin­ning at least, your jour­nal may be the only place where you feel you can ex­press your hon­est feel­ings. If you are not be­ing hon­est in your jour­nal, then you are not be­ing hon­est with your­self, but that too is an in­ter­est­ing pat­tern that might emerge and is a very im­por­tant insight.

As you be­gin to learn more and more about who you re­ally are, you can be­gin to live your life in an in­creas­ingly con­gru­ent way. If you are spend­ing your time in cer­tain ways, and your jour­nal re­veals that it is not re­ally sat­is­fy­ing, you can be­gin to shift your pri­or­i­ties. If there are dif­fi­cult re­la­tion­ships in your life, a jour­nal can be an ex­cel­lent place to process your feel­ings so that you are less re­ac­tive in your in­ter­ac­tions.

You can vent a lot of your strong emo­tions in writ­ing, and de­cide then what you want to do about th­ese feel­ings. You may tone done the mes­sage that you want to give to the other per­son, and be clearer about the out­come you wish to achieve. The most im­por­tant per­son in the world for you to know well is your­self. The qual­ity of your life de­pends upon that knowl­edge. Give jour­nal writ­ing a try.

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