We’re all going through our own shit. Whether we’re worried about finding a job, finding true love, or finding meaning in our everyday lives, everyone has their own internal struggle.
Here’s what I wrote almost three years ago about why keeping a journal helps me figure out my own feelings:
In some ways, I consider myself my own therapist, because every journal entry reads as if I were responding to the prompt, “and how does that make you feel?”
In all of my years of journals and free writes, I have never grown tired of asking myself that question. – “Writing: a form of therapy?” (1/7/15)
And I still feel very strongly about this today, even though I don’t write for myself nearly as much as I used to.
I’m not saying that writing is going to make you feel better instantly – that’d be a lie.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself from being an active writer since high school, it’s that you’ll learn a lot about yourself. You’ll write when you’re sad or when you’re happy, and you’ll feel so liberated being able to say what’s on your mind, with no filters or sugar-coating because no one reads it but you.
I’m insecure about my neck fat.
I feel guilty for seldom talking to my grandparents.
Or when you’re happy, you can brag to yourself all you want.
And I don’t mean writing an essay, or a blog post – there’s no pressure to spell things correctly or stick to a format.
In journaling for yourself, you will learn about how you deal (or don’t deal) with hardship and stress. You’ll see your emotions fluctuate over months and years, and you’ll see what you think about on a regular basis.
I like writing when I’m stressed.
I remember being at a hotel after a debate tournament late into my senior year, heartbroken and on the verge of crying.
At the time, I thought I was in love with a boy, but it was a long-distance thing and I was processing the undeniable fact that we would never really be together because we lived in two different states and were going to different colleges.
I was listening to Daft Punk’s “Instant Crush” on repeat – that song has a very special place in my heart, after that day.
Anyways, I was pounding at the keys, a bunch of nonsensical thoughts spilling out. But I wasn’t looking for a point or rational conclusion, and I wasn’t trying to make myself feel better. But after a good half hour or so, and 2,000 words later…
I felt a lot better, and packed up my stuff, and rejoined my friends on the debate team and went about my life.
Reading back on my previous posts – both in that moment, or even years later – I reflect on the way I felt like I was in love with him, the language I used, the memories I continually thought of, and the way my whole world seemed to revolve around him at the time.
Writing helped me understand the progression of my thoughts. I never would have been able to understand and get over him as quickly as if I just forced myself to live through it.
As it turns out, we’re obsessed with how we feel in the moment, but we forget about how things were fine before someone came into our lives, before this whole big tragedy struck. Writing helped me feel better and more assured that I’d be fine afterwards, even if I didn’t feel so great in the moment.