A Week’s Worth of Journaling Prompts: Metaphors for Life


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FOR FUN this week, we’re going to play with the use of common objects as stand-ins for different aspects of our lives (metaphor). Then, extend each metaphor as far as makes sense. Or if you want to be more playful, extend it all the way to silly.

First, I want to make sure that we’re agreed on the difference between a metaphor and a simile. A metaphor is when we use an object to represent something else — my life is a river. A simile is when we draw a likeness between an object and something else — my life is like a river. The thought processes are similar, but a metaphor is generally more powerful, more rooted in emotion, than a simile.
Let me give you an example using a common metaphor for family — a tree.
  • First extension — My family is an old tree with many branches and deep roots.
  • Second extension — Our branches rarely connect with one another, but we drink from the same history, the same sap runs through all of us.
  • To extend the metaphor further, I have to think, “In what other ways is my family a tree?” Okay, here’s one — In the last few years, the tree has lost a number of branches, but those that are left have only gotten stronger.

The purpose of this exercise is to help you think about your life and relationships in new ways. I’m going to name seven objects. You, then, get to decide what that object is a metaphor for in your life and play with the idea.

This week’s journaling prompts:

  1. Rain
  2. Mountain
  3. Forest
  4. Air
  5. House
  6. Road
  7. Bird (pick one)

After you’ve extended each metaphor as far as you can, freewrite for 5-10 minutes about why that metaphor works for you.

And if you want to have more fun, share your most inventive metaphors by leaving a comment below.

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