When you pick up your journal to write, what is your purpose for bringing the pen to the page?
Some days we just want to write down what’s been happening. It could be that your life is really great – rocking and rolling even, and you just need to capture the intense happiness and joy that you feel.
It could be that a whole bunch of crap has been slinging its way through your life and if you don’t write about it, you’re going to hide under the covers for more time than you really mean too. You use your pen to get it out and somehow you feel better. When all that stuff leaves your head and lands on the page it lightens up your heart.
You might pick up your pen for the simple purpose of writing down what you ate throughout the day. Maybe you’re keeping a gratitude journal.
All of these are awesome reasons for a journaling practice.
There’s one more really cool thing that happens as a result of picking up the pen.
And this one really cool thing is one of the most awesome reasons to keep a journal.
Want to know what it is?
Its your connection to YOU! Its taking the time and creating the space to honor who you are. To air your thoughts, be open about your doubts, and let your pen wander through both YOUR reality and YOUR imagination.
Taking the time to reflect on the circumstances in your life and explore your thoughts and feelings about those circumstances is one of the ultimate tools you have for connecting to yourself. For gaining clarity about who you are as a person.
Connecting and honoring your true self is only the first part of this really cool reason to keep a journal.
Want to know the second reason? Why it’s so incredibly fantastic to have a tool that regularly lets you connect with yourself?
It’s because your relationships with other people will improve as your relationship with yourself gets better.
When you can empty out the twenty thoughts you were trying to keep in your brain (everything from what you need at the grocery store to the topic of your next blog post), you shift your energy from a frazzled and high-stress place to one of calm and focus.
That attitude of calm and focus will go a lot farther in relationships with others than will your highly energized, frantic attempts to cross out items on a to-do list.
I call this process “go in before you head out.”
When you write in your journal on a regular basis, this will happen naturally. You will develop the habit of connecting with yourself and see an increased level of comfort in connecting with others.
You can also use this as a strategy to help you prepare for more challenging conversations. Before you head into an emotionally charged situation, write about it in your journal. Play with different ideas and scenarios about how you think it could go. Write down some points you want to make and read over them. Take the time to let some of your anxiety transfer to the page and allow your pen to lead you to the answers you need for how to approach a situation that could be potentially difficult or stressful.
This applies to so many instances in life. Job interviews. Talking to your parents about end-of-life arrangements. Asking for a raise. Having a difficult conversation to change or end a relationship. Or building up the courage to start a new one.
When we take the time to connect with what’s important to us, we pave the way to make it easier to connect with others. The ancient Greek’s coined the phrase “Know Thyself” and maybe the rest of that could be “Know Thyself to Know Thy Neighbor.”
Like this article? Please feel free to use it on your own blog or newsletter. I simply ask that you please include this blurb:
Sara Marchessault is a coach, writer, teacher, and mom who helps busy women use journaling to create more space in their life for being productive without feeling overwhelmed. To learn more about Sara and her work in the world, please visit joyfulbydesign.com or saramarchessault.com.