TODAY I stumbled upon a blog titled “Extraordinarily Ordinary: Finding happiness and inspiration in everyday things,” and I thought, “Here is a writer after my own heart. That first impression was confirmed when I read Shannon’s recent post, “Writing.”
The post was about Shannon’s current struggle with time to write and her desire to change priorities in the coming year, to come back to herself as a writer. Which writer among us does not recognize him or herself in that struggle? But, as a person who encourages everyone to journal, I particularly resonated with her third paragraph.
In it, she talked about the high standards she had set for herself in school and in life. However, “ My journal writing was different. It was the one area where I didn’t have to be perfect … [My entries] were embarrassing, honest and truthful. They were scratched out when I realized I had written something that wasn’t exactly what I meant. … [My journal] helped whittle away at the things in life that I wasn’t sure about. … somehow by the end of my writing session (whether it be 20 minutes or 2 hours) I would feel like I’d come out on the other side of the tunnel. Like I had moved my feelings around in little boxes until they were finally compartmentalized and I knew what they meant.” (Italics are mine.)
Our journals are places where we can be imperfect, messy, unknown and unknowable. Where we can freely be the essence of who we are in the moment of writing, without judgment.
If you tend to judge your writing — even your journal writing — here are some affirmations you can use to turn self-judgment into self-acceptance. Pick one each day and write it at the top of your journal entry. And when these run out, see if you can make up a few of your own.
- I am a perfect human being, wonderfully imperfect and real.
- Through journal writing, I am learning about myself.
- I respect myself for taking the time to journal.
- Whatever I write in my journal is enough.
- I deserve to give my feelings and thoughts a sacred space in which to breathe.
- I trust myself to create my own, unique story as my life unfolds.
- I have the right and responsibility to express my thoughts and feelings in these pages.
- I know that I can master anything.
- I am proud of myself for writing today.