Know Yourself Through Journaling
Hi friends! Welcome back to this weeks blog. Today, we are going to discuss how you can find yourself, or get to know YOU better, through journaling. If you have been keeping up with my blogs, you will know that I am an avid journal writer. This is not to be confused with bullet journaling. I understand that a lot of people use a bullet journal for daily journaling, but this is not what I am talking about. I am talking about journaling about your feelings, thoughts, emotions, day-to-day responsibilities and obligations and any other thing you could think of writing down on paper. The type of journaling that goes in a diary, and the type that existed long before Ryder Carroll was ever born.
I started my journaling career when I was six or seven years old; old enough to properly write words, anyway. The first journal that I kept (and still have!) was from when I was nine. Throughout the next thirty years, I have kept journaling sporadically. There were times I would stick with it every day for a few years, and then stop for awhile.
I would say probably for about the last nine years, I have journaled consistently every day at least once a day. I have an extra large rubbermaid tote in the basement that holds all of my old journals, and you can see all of my new journals (just waiting to be written in) in my journal collection video on youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUFeeXbXGXE
Peter Pauper Press Journals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QS34e9Jcq1g
In the past nine years, this period of consistent journaling was brought on by some pretty terrible things that happened in my life. A lot of people stopped supporting me and left me because of my actions and it left me, literally, alone. So, I ended up pouring all my thoughts and emotions into my journal and it allowed me to work through those tough times on my own. I also was in a deep depression, and counselling did not help. Sometimes I felt like my journal was my only friend.
As this example shows, and as I’ve also said before, there are many things you can journal about. I personally love to write things that happened throughout my day-to-day life as a memory keeping system. I also like to write how those things made me feel, especially if it’s something more negative that happens to me. Remember, you cannot always affect the outcome of events that happen throughout your life, but, you can control how you react to those events.
As I journal about the mundane things in my life, reflection on these things helps me to hone my skills of reaction. In other words, I can see what I did wrong in the past and make goals for the future to act or speak or do in a different way.
Another way to journal, rather than free-form is to pick a certain topic (i.e. prompts). It’s similar to what you do in “Health” back in Junior high. You can find journaling prompts anywhere — books, the internet, and you can even make up your own. The task is to find a prompt and journal as much as you can on the topic. Ideally, writing on this particular prompt would reveal insightful information about yourself. Prompts can be very straight forward (i.e. What gives me motivation?). Or, they could sound ridiculous (i.e. What would I do in the case of an apocalypse?) You would be surprised at how your answers reflect your individuality and basically tell you what makes you, YOU. The answers you have to these types of questions have evolved from your experiences and how you see the world. Your answers will typically change as you grow older. As you age, you gather more wisdom and knowledge and patience, and these things change how you view the world.
The most important part of this technique is the reflection on the answers you carve out for yourself. You will not get anywhere if you simply have yes and no answers to any question you may ask yourself. Remember, you are reading this because you may be interested in starting a journaling career. You are doing it for YOU; not for anyone else. However, the better you get to know yourself, it may improve your interactions and relationships with other people.
Journaling, and answering prompts can also help you to determine your goals for the next year. The basis of forming meaningful, intentional goals is to know who you are, what you value, and what your motivators are. This gets you in touch with the big picture and what you want out of life. This is why I started goal setting with the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets Goal Planner. This is not a sponsored post, but I do have an affiliate link if you wish to purchase the current copy of the Cultivate What Matters Goal Setting Powersheets. You can find it here: https://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=798554&u=2840420&m=62537. I have been setting goals for myself for the last two years, and I have done more intentional planning than ever before. I have also found a calling (my business!) that has set my soul on fire. I am more content in my life now than I ever have been before, and I feel fulfilled as an individual.
Despite it being a different type of journaling, bullet journaling is helpful too. Technically, a bullet journal (to me) is a personal planner. Personal, in that you can completely customize it to be anything you want. My bullet journal has changed over the last three years since I’ve started. Typically though, the thing that I keep regularly is a tracker. I track my moods and habits. Habit tracking is my way of keeping in tune with my maintenance goals. (The goals occurring day-to-day or week-to-week, that you want to accomplish.) When I track these things, I pay attention to whether I actually complete them regularly or not. If I notice that I don’t do them, at the end of the month, I will evaluate whether having that goal is helping me, or whether it’s acheivable or not. Remember, there are only 24 hours in one day, and no matter how productive you are, you can’t MAKE time. This reflection is also a way to learn about yourself.
Dream journaling is helpful as well. Have you ever recalled a dream as soon as you wake up, but then once you have had your coffee, you just can’t recall it anymore? If you keep a notebook beside your bed, and write down your dreams as soon as you wake up, you will remember more details. It has been said that the longer you do this, you will consistently remember more of your dreams.
When we sleep, our bodies are hard at work. This is a time when our bodies are healing themselves. Our minds are consolidating all the information that we have gathered throughout the day, and processing it. Whether you are spiritual or not, sometimes we have dreams that seem to be sending us a message. This is our subconscious trying to tell us something. This is why it’s important to write down your dreams upon awakening, so when a message comes through, you will remember it. In my experience, I’ve had solutions come to me through my dreams of difficult situations or questions that I’ve had. It’s your minds’ way of working through a problem. This is why people tell you to sleep on an issue before making a decision. Sometimes you will think of more solutions to a problem, and you will be more calm upon awakening. This is also why I create a to-do list the night before, and then add to it the very next morning.
You can learn a great deal just by simply listening to your mind, your body and your soul. It’s easy to get distracted and caught up in the business of your life, your family and the outside world, but it is healthy to feel things and express emotion. The simple act of writing things down helps you to remember, and you can come back at any time to re-read your notes and reflect on it.
Happy Jounaling Loves!