I think that any girl who grew up in a bedroom with walls painted in pink probably had a diary, kept somewhere not too obvious like inside the pillowcase, at the bottom of the closet or in a shoebox. I used to be one of those girls. But like most women I know now, we think that diaries or journals, like slam book with all its define-love-kind of questions, are childish. We grow up and throw them, burn them, or simply forget about them.
Well, I did not totally forget the habit. While I had long foregone the act of keeping an actual formal journal, I’d still write random thoughts and doodles in a small notebook, in my planner, or even in the notes app of my phone. I know that thoughts are fleeting and in just a few moments they can slip my mind. So I write them down. And then that’s when I forget them.
When I started blogging, I began to think that this is the modern form of journaling. Because what you write in your blog is quite the same as what you would write in your journal, isn’t it?
So a month ago when I saw a post by Make it Blissful about a journaling workshop happening at the A Handmade Affair event, I signed up, hoping to be able to use the learnings for my blogging. Luckily, I was chosen as one of the participants. And this was when I learned the thin line that separates journaling from blogging or other form of thought-sharing for that matter.
When Martine asked us the question “what do you write in your journal?”, answers from the group were quite the expected ones. Random thoughts. Devotionals. Prayers. Sometimes songs or poems. And I thought to myself, “yep, exact same things I could blog about” (or perhaps, even share to my closest friend).
But when she asked us to make an actual journal entry using the materials provided for in the workshop, that’s when the distinction began to appear clearer for me. That day, I had a petty fight with my husband and most of what I was thinking and feeling that day had to do with it. So naturally, what I came up with for the workshop was about my feelings for him. When I was finished, my journal entry made it clear for me why journaling is different from any other form of thought-sharing. You see, I could write a blog entry about my husband, yes. But what I poured out in that journal entry are a bit too personal that I wouldn’t have put it that way, had I written it in a blog post.
Journals are a great way to immortalize the moments in our lives – moments that made us happy, sad, grateful, hopeful, or sometimes even hateful. These moments do not stay with us forever but all of them contribute to who or what we become. I realized I stopped formal journaling when I was in college (the little random notes in random pieces of paper don’t count – I don’t even remember them or have them with me anymore!). And now that I think I’m a more mature person, what I have are only memories, sometimes even blurry ones. It would have been nice to look back with something tangible.
It’s also a great form of release – no holds barred -because it should be a personal and private thing for you. It’s the perfect place to put multiple exclamation points, to draw hearts all over, to paint the perfect abstract that nobody gets, because it’s your personal space and you understand it better than anyone. And after you poured it out in your journal, you come out more stable and confident and with better hold of your thoughts and emotions. More often, it’s how we can keep our sanity, right?
Then I realized, it does help you communicate better with other people because journaling can help you make sense of things. For others to understand you, you first must have a good understanding of what you think or how you feel. And that’s part of the therapeutic effect of journaling to our wellbeing.
I also learned in the workshop that journaling is healing and a proven success tool. Aren’t all the biographies of all the great people – the elite performers in business and leadership, of people who successfully battled a disease and are now testimonies of hope – inspired by their journals?
And your journal entry doesn’t have to be all written words. You can draw your goals and declarations, paint your feelings, make a collage of all your dreams, enlist your things-to-be-grateful-for, calligraphy your prayers. You can be creative about it! Make it a fun and purposeful form of ME-time, where you have the best conversation with yourself.
So, let’s make journaling a habit, shall we?