In all my life I have never been a fan of writing, especially journaling. I grew up watching TV shows like The Vampire Diaries where the main character kept a diary. In the very first episode, Elena Gilbert’s journal entry looked like this:
Dear Diary, Today will be different. It must be. I will smile and it will be believable. My smile will say, “I’m fine, thank you. Yes, I feel much better. I will no longer be the sad little girl who lost her parents. I’m going to start over, be someone new. It’s the only way I can get out of this.
I have to admit that the thought of buying or keeping a diary has crossed my mind many times, but then again, I’m not the type of person who writes down what happened throughout the day or what I felt. For this reason, I ignored that thought until I came across a cute little notebook in the bookstore. I’ve always been a fan of stationery supplies, so this was no surprise to me. So I bought it, thinking I’ll just put it aside with the other cute things I don’t use, which was true but only for a short time. After a few days I felt like talking to someone, especially now that we’re in quarantine and can’t really hang out with my friends.
That’s when my pretty notebook came in handy. I grabbed it off my shelf, sat down and started writing down all my feelings. Amazingly, I couldn’t let go. After I finished, I decided to read what I had written and that’s when I noticed I was admitting things I had never said out loud. No, it wasn’t exciting but it was really scary. I wouldn’t consider myself an introvert but I’m a little reserved. I always kept my feelings to myself. I was afraid of sharing too much information about myself and letting one person know so much about me.
I actually have a group chat that only includes me, where I’m sending voice notes to myself because I almost feel like I’m telling people about my feelings, even when I’m not. . Before you assume I’m crazy, let me tell you why I do it. I’m the type of person who fumes and sends voice notes crying, then regrets it right away. I end up deleting it right before the other person listens to it. So, as a relief, I created a group and then kicked the others out of it. So, there is only me in the group. Whenever I’m angry or want to get rid of what’s on my chest, I just send voice notes to this group.
However, I have never felt so comfortable opening up as I did when writing down my feelings. I feel like I should stop bottling up my emotions and really trust my diary. Believe it or not, I have already kept a journal for over 40 days and it has certainly taught me a lot. Here are some things that happened:
1. I had a purpose in life
When you have a blank page in front of you, you feel compelled to fill it all in, writing down anything and everything. Because of this, I found new ideas and new things to do. Tracking everything I do – or at least most things – made me realize how productive I am. I finally felt that I had a purpose in life. Even on the days when I felt lost, I knew what I was doing with my life and what I wanted to accomplish. I had goals and dreams that I never had before journaling.
2. I reached my short-term goals faster
Every time a new goal came to mind, I wrote it down in my journal. It helped me stay committed and persevering. The idea of not achieving my goal hurt me. I didn’t want to write something and not achieve it. Therefore, I was motivated to do my best to pursue and achieve it. I always felt like there was someone watching me and waiting for me to do it. I wouldn’t have had the courage to take my diary back until I did this thing.
3. I was always happy and relieved
Being open to my journal has helped me become less stressed and relieved. I have a habit of keeping a diary before sleeping, which helps me wake up happy and have nothing on my mind. It feels good to let go at the end of a bad day or a tiring day.
4. I thought a lot
I always had a lot of reflective assignments in high school, but I never really understood the point of it until I started keeping a journal. Reflecting is very important because it teaches you to explore and examine yourself. Sometimes we make bad decisions and ignore them. However, as you reflect, you will begin to analyze those bad decisions and learn from them. This is when you will begin to understand yourself better and be able to move forward in your life.
5. I finally had the courage to trust my decisions.
Once you write something on a piece of paper, you usually feel like you can’t erase it. It’s like you’ve admitted to something and you can’t undo it. It was actually something that made me very uncomfortable at first, but later taught me to trust my decisions. Sticking to your decisions is crucial and I firmly believe it’s the most important thing I’ve learned. I finally felt like I had a voice and didn’t care what other people thought of me or my decisions.
Overall, journaling has indeed changed my life and taught me so much about myself. If you’re wondering whether or not you should give it a try, I would absolutely recommend it. Plus, there’s nothing to lose so don’t be afraid to try new things.
“Don’t be afraid to try new things, whether physical, mental or emotional, because being afraid can challenge you to take it to the next level.” –Rita Wilson