‘I love you, but I love myself more’ – Samantha Jones
What does it take to have a relationship like that with yourself? A little logic, some exploring and a lot of patience! Like any girl, I have been through phases. And without realization, during every phase, I was a totally different person. Sometimes a person I didn’t even know I could ever be. Life is an interesting journey and we learn something new every day. Then why do we not take notes? Yes, I am talking about journaling.
Like most of the socially active young souls, I hated keeping a journal. Mainly for two reasons:
- I could never stick to a schedule of journaling and most of the times I didn’t want to write about what I did that day; especially because I am the one who will read it and I know what I did!!
- I always feared that someone might read my journal. Well, maybe it wasn’t the fear of someone reading the journal but the fear of them judging me after that. (And I know my mom has read my journals – Sneaky mom!)
Recently I read a book – ‘Note to Self’ by Samara O’Shea. I think I liked it; very simple, assorted entries from her diary and some interesting quotes. Admit it. We are human and we seek joy in knowing the deepest secrets of other people’s lives; especially the ones we are somehow related to or someone really famous. I don’t know about a lot of people in my family who keep journals, but I know that my grandmother does. I just hope that she lets me read it someday.
Talking about reading others’ journals, I am thinking about starting my own. I know that I can’t follow the write-every-day schedule, but I would certainly like to keep a record of all the important milestones, lessons learned and wish-lists. The goal is simple – to get to know myself better. Owning up to your actions is the first step towards a positive change. Here are some reasons that motivated me to start keeping a journal:
- Get to know yourself better: A journal helps you see how you have evolved over time – different phases you have been through in life, emotions, relationships and your reactions to different life experiences. Reading back on these entries will tell you what you could have changed to make things better. Did you struggle with a decision? Did you do well in a certain situation? Did you do something you regret? A journal acts like your personal mentor when similar situations arise.
- Great people keep journals: I am not saying keeping a journal made them great, but life is precious. Why let it pass away without leaving behind a trace? Journals live after you die. They are a peep into the older generation and an insight on how things have changed over time. It’s like saying ‘I was here!’
- Its therapy: Life hardens us all. As we grow up, we learn to hide our emotions and put up a my-life-is-perfect show in public. Slowly we learn to live in denial about certain things. Research shows that letting your emotions out helps you stay mentally healthier. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on therapy. Just pick up your journal!
- Makes you a better writer
- This is how your great grand children will know you: You might not stay alive to see them, but you can still be there for them, through your journals. They can still get to know you years after you are gone.
What to write in your journal?
Anything. It’s just another blank page that you can fill up with whatever you wish. Some ideas are:
- Future: Plan your future, write about your goals, wish-list, what you want from life, what do you want to change, what do you want your kids to be like when they grow up, what do you think will happen in next two years, where will you be…
- Present: How do you feel right at this moment, what is going on in your life, what’s going on in the world, how do you feel about it, are you happy, what is your top priority in life right now, what are you trying to change in life, how is your relationship with family, write a letter to god/universe, how was your day, what did you like about today, what did you accomplish today, what are you going to do tomorrow…
- Past: What events have changed you as a person, do you have an old friend that you miss, how was it being you while growing up, milestones in life, your first crush, your first cell phone, what were you doing during the last earthquake, what do you wish was different when growing up, what did you and your siblings do together during summer vacations, your moments with your grandparents…
- Travel: How does it feel to be on the road, in a particular state, city or place, how is it different, how are the people around you, what is the food like, any good sights to see, what do you wish you had packed in addition to your stuff to make your trip more comfortable, any tips…
Other themes could be religion, work, age, college, family… the list is endless.
Personally I wouldn’t want to stick to any theme. I want to be able to write just whatever comes to my mind, add pictures to it, maybe doodle sometimes. Also, I prefer online journal (MS Word and OneNote are my favorites) over an old style hand written one — Just because it’s easier and faster and I don’t have to worry about hiding it from people. But you can choose whatever you like.
Today I am going to start a journal. Maybe you should too. If you already have a journal, but haven’t written in it in awhile, write an entry today. If you have a journal and write in it regularly, give yourself a compliment today.
Don’t forget to share your journaling experience with us!