In my opinion, there’s no form of expression that allows someone to be as transparent and honest as journaling does. Journaling allows the writer to unapologetically express their true thoughts, feelings and experiences more genuinely than they ever could when talking to another person. For me, a journal is a place to deposit how I’m actually feeling about any given thing, clarify my emotions, and create something beautiful. I first started journaling when I was around six and there was a lot of change going on in my life. I wrote letters to my mom and to God, asking them questions about my circumstances. Since then, I’ve found solace in putting my uncertainties onto a page and leaving them there. Instead of carrying them around in my mind, I can deposit them into my private notebook and move on.
I’ve kept lots of journals since I was six, and I keep them in piles on my bedroom bookshelves. I love looking back at them, rereading what I once wrote and being able to fully submerge myself into who I was when I wrote it. Even though I never wrote out specific situations, reading old entries gives me free passage to the person I used to be.
However, if you’re new to the world of journaling, it can be kind of scary to start. You’re facing sifting through layers of thought and emotion that you probably didn’t have to look closely at before. All while it’s just floating around in your mind and you’re trying to express it in a way that’s somewhat coherent. However, when done with honesty and diligence, it can be incredibly freeing. I’ve found that by writing down everything I’m feeling, I’m not just able to get it out of my brain, but also create something I’m proud of. Some of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written have come from times where I’m confused and uncertain. Then as I write, I discover how I’m really feeling and create beauty from that.
The best part of journaling though is that it is completely judgement-free. No matter what you’re going through, thinking, or writing about, no one else in the world has to know unless you want them to. Unlike most other forms of expression, the art of journaling is entirely fulfilled simply by you writing. Your journal is a safe place to write whatever you want – grocery lists, crappy poetry, hour-by-hour accounts of your life, it’s all up to you. Some people choose to journal about their day-to-day lives, some incorporate art into their journals, some go for a bullet journal style, but no matter what, it’s all up to you. A journal is nothing more or less than what you make of it – it’s simply an amalgamation of your life.
Journaling has been an incredible asset to my life and my happiness, and I think that if it is utilized well, it could be beneficial for mostly everybody. Everyone could benefit from having a judgement free place to express themselves, their thoughts and their experiences. Journaling has helped me understand myself and the world better without the fear of judgement from others. I love the act of journaling and know that it is a practice I will carry with me long into the future.