I have been journaling since as far back as I can remember. It started in my early years with the typical “Dear Diary” books of a young girl. I started to purchases pretty journaling books when I was a teen. Those were the kind with beautiful pictures on the front and built in bookmarks. In college, I journaled on my computer. And when I first became a mom, I began journaling on a blog.
A quick note about journaling on a blog – I don’t do that anymore. Yes, I blog, obviously. But my actual journaling has gone back to paper. Not every thought needs to be placed in cyberspace for eternity. I learned that the hard way. I lost a very good friendship by oversharing on a blog.
But that’s a whole other story.
Back to journaling… I love to journal. I always have. Do you journal?
One would think that with journaling as long as I have, I would have stacks and stacks of books recording my life. But I don’t. My journaling style is slightly different from what I understand the norm to be, so I thought I would share with you a bit about it.
I guess the biggest difference in my journaling is that when I am finished with a book, I destroy it.
Yep, I said I destroy it.
I will rip it apart, tear up every single page, sometimes shred it, and then dump it deep into the trashcan never to be seen again.
Why would I do that?
The answer is so simple… It’s therapeutic.
I’m sure that some people will think this is silly considering that I destroy the final product, but I always buy nice journals. I like them to be visually appealing. In fact, my inspiration for today’s post is that for Valentine’s Day my husband ordered me a fancy new journal. It hasn’t arrive yet or I would share pictures… Maybe when it gets here I will revisit this subject so you can see.
Actually, to be more accurate, what he ordered me is a journal cover with four separate journaling books inside. With four books, I can have four categories for journaling all located in the same package – nifty!
I like my journals to be pretty. I even sometimes decorate them. I use different colors for writing. I draw pictures. I do all kinds of creative things – and pretty books inspire me to keep doing it.
Staying Calm and Releasing Emotions
I tend to become overly anxious about things. I get worked up pretty easily. When I sit down to journal, I let out everything. I don’t care about my handwriting, I don’t care about grammar, I don’t care about the words I choose… I just release. My writing style is known as free-form. That means what I write is raw. It is real. It is unedited life.
I sit and I just write down everything that comes to mind.
If I had a crappy day, I write about it.
If I argued with my husband, I write about it.
If I’m mad at a relative, I write about it.
If my kids acted up and I’ve had just about all I can take, I write about it.
If life is beautiful, I write about it.
If my husband made me feel like a queen, I write about it.
If my family showed me love, I write about it.
If my kids made me feel like the best mom on earth, I write about it.
In other words, good or bad, up or down, happy or sad… I write about it.
My fears, concerns, desires, worries, anxieties, emotions, hurts, wins, loves, losses, etc… I use my journaling for it all.
I dump out everything in my brain onto the paper. And most of the time, I don’t ever read it again.
Creating My Best Self
I know… most people think it’s completely odd that I don’t read it again. But why should I? Those emotions need to come out. They need to be put somewhere. Sometimes, the best therapy one can have is to just find a way to let things go. Journaling does that for me.
And in letting things go, I make room for those things that improve me.
And those are the journals that get read again.
Because on the flip side of the free-form emotional release journal are my gratitude journal and my prayer journal. I still destroy those when I’m done with them. I don’t need to keep them forever. But before I destroy them, I read them. I read them to remember what I have been thankful for. And I read them to remember what I prayed about, and to recount the ways in which God answered my prayers.
But these things are incredibly personal. I don’t want to write a book from them. I don’t want to share them on a blog. I don’t want people finding them long after I’m gone from this earth and trying to know me through the words on a page. Nope, that’s not their purpose.
Their purpose is in the moment – to get my thoughts down, out of my head and onto something tangible.
It helps me feel what I think, and that feeling helps me live more.
Yes, feeling the emotion come out, no matter what it is, helps me live a more full life. I’m not suppressing it. I’m not hiding it. I let the feelings come, and I let myself grow from those feelings.
That is what journaling does for me. Free-form emotional release, gratitude, prayer… it doesn’t matter which journal it is, I grow from the feelings I let out on the paper
Journaling is self-care for me. It is me, using my own words and thoughts, growing into a better person. And from time to time, I even write down someone else’s thoughts. Sometimes an author or speaker will inspire me and I will write down what they’ve said. Just the simple act of writing it down allows the words to penetrate my soul – and I grow.
I always grow.
So, if you journal, I’m curious how you go about it. Are we similar, or do you think I’m a bit nutty?