Friday, July 8, 2011

Let's talk about journaling

I've kept a journal since I was 8. Sometimes I've written in it daily, sometimes monthly, occasionally (like when planning my wedding) it has been quarterly. I have an entire shelf on one of my many bookshelves dedicated to journals that are full.

I have journals from middle school. They are about boys, boys, boys, Full House, boys, finger nail painting, and boys.

I have journals from traveling, they are much more interesting and far less embarassing.

I have journals from times that I was strong and times when I felt weak. I have journals from when I knew who I was and what I wanted and other ones from when I was still trying to figure all of that out. In those records are my first kiss, my first date, every single first day of school; my most humiliating mistakes, my trials of faith, my triumphs of endurance.

Even though I have learned to type a gazillion words a minute (thanks AOL Instant Messenger!), I still write by hand. And because I can't write as fast as I think, writing my thoughts out by hand helps me to slow things down, start at the beginning and work it through to the end. Also, I find that I am more honest with myself when I am writing in my journal... Something about writing for an audience of no one makes the lies and justifications seem so pathetic.

I am a nicer person when I've kept up on my journaling because I have been able to purge and to sort through my emotions on a regular basis.

One of my best guy friends recently called me for dating advice... Well, not so much advice. He was trying to find some kind of answer to why his dating life wasn't working out the way he planned, hoped and wanted. I told him it was because he was dating people for the wrong reasons. He liked them for their great hair, or their musical talent, or their (insert transient non-permanent characteristic here). I suggested that he keep a dating journal, and that after each date or encounter he had with someone that he might have feelings for that he write down exactly what it was that he liked about them. I also suggested that he start writing about the more permanent qualities that he would need in a true life partner. I thought it would help him to see more clearly.

He said it helped. More than that he hasn't said because he is not the kiss-and-tell type. *Sara grumbling*

Keeping a journal for me is not a method of recording my genius insights and great actions for posterity. Neither is it about ranting and raving about all of the things a person can't say in public. For me it has been an invaluable tool for connecting with myself and for seeing to my own emotional, physical and spiritual health.

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