Guest Post by María José Bianchi
I STARTED JOURNALING when I needed my truth the most. It was a time in my life when I felt stuck, lost, and miserable, but I didn’t know why. At the time, I supposed my unhappiness had something to do with my career.
Five years had passed since I finished college, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. On the outside, it seemed like I had it all figured out: I was working as a freelancer and making enough money to travel abroad. I set my own rates and hours and worked from home. It was everything I ever wanted. Or so I thought.
The truth was that everything job-related I did felt like I was giving up a portion of my soul. I felt unhappy. I started binge-watching Ted Talks, motivational speeches, and every personal development video I could find on YouTube, because they made me feel better. Consuming all of this content made me feel like everything would be all right.
Then, I started to notice a word come up over and over again: journaling. People spoke so highly of it that I had to look it up and try it. I was desperate to find my way out of the hole I was in.
Long story short, journaling became a lifesaver for me. At first, it helped me release all of the anger and frustration I had inside, which helped me understand my life better. And then, day after day, it helped me see more clearly what was making me feel so stuck, and only then was I able to start working it all out.
I’d like to share what I’ve discovered about how to use journaling to uncover your truth, because I know many people struggle with feeling stuck, and people who want to get out of a rut but have no idea how.
How to use journaling to uncover your truth
- Be consistent. When it comes to journaling, consistency is key. The more you write about how you’re feeling, the more you’ll be able to uncover and understand about yourself. Use habit stacking (practice journaling right before or after something you already do every day) to help you build the habit faster and more efficiently.
- Be honest. Writing what sounds good or politically correct won’t take you anywhere. When you’re a beginner at journaling, it’s common to write as if you’re writing an autobiography people will read later. But you’re not. So, don’t censor yourself. Write down your thoughts and feelings exactly how they are.
- Protect your privacy. This one has a lot to do with tip #2, because worrying (even if it’s just a little) that someone might read your journal can make you censor yourself. If you’re afraid someone might poke their nose into your journal, go digital; instead of writing in a physical notebook, create a folder inside several other folders in Google Drive and write on a document there. You can also use the notes app on your phone or keep your journal hidden. But whatever you do, make sure you feel entirely safe when putting your deepest feelings down on paper.
- Flip it. When you’re writing about something that makes you feel heartbroken or angry, shift your perspective. Ask yourself:
- What is this experience trying to teach me? Can I turn this into a powerful life lesson?
- Is there something I can do to fix this? Or do I need to accept the situation as it is?
- Am I putting myself in the other person’s shoes?
- What were my expectations about this? How can I handle them better next time?
- What could I have done better?
Personally, I try not to indulge in negativity when I’m journaling. When I write about something small that saddens me or pisses me off, I try to be as objective about the situation as I can. I’ve found that it’s easier for me to let it go and understand the situation (and myself) better when I do this.
Reasons why I love journaling
To me, journaling feels like an honest conversation with a best friend when you need it the most. Magic happens when you give yourself permission to be who you are and bring out what’s in your heart.
It’s been a couple of years since I started journaling, and today I can confidently say that journaling has helped me:
- ease anxiety
- find my way professionally
- become a better person
- release repressed anger
- love me more
- practice gratitude
Nowadays, journaling’s the first tool I turn to when I’m anxious, sad, overwhelmed, or feel like something isn’t right.
The bottom line
Journaling will always lead you to crystal-clear honesty if you stick with it. Make it your own. Follow the rules and then break them. Journaling is like art: there are ways to make it right, but then there’s how to make it your own. Make it your process. Make it a part of your day and your self-growth journey.
Only then will you learn everything journaling can teach you about yourself and your truth.
About the Author:
Maria is a writer and journaling lover whose main mission is to help you get unstuck in life. She believes there’s more to life than feeling detached from what you do day after day. She’s determined to help you use journaling to find your way in life. Visit her website at aimlief.com.