The power of journaling

Growing up I spent many many weekends sleeping over at my Grandma’s house.

I absolutely loved these sleepovers because they meant special time just for me, staying up late, playing games, and eating lots of junk with one of my favorite people.

My Grandma has been an amazing example to me in my life. One thing that she taught me from example is journaling. There was not a night I slept over that I didn’t see her writing in her journal before bed. Every night like clockwork there she would be in her nightgown writing in her journal before her late-night English shows came on. She NEVER missed a day.

When I was closer to adulthood I asked her why she was so diligent with her journaling. She told me that she thought that her family would enjoy reading the record of her life when she was gone but then admitted that she was now thinking that no one would want to be bothered reading the silly pages of her life.

Many years later I found out that she ended up getting rid of all her journals. Years and years of her story gone. Hours and hours of writing wasted.

I was shocked and disappointed. I would have loved reading about her life and discovering more about her thoughts and feelings from the past.

Lately, I’ve been thinking…… was all that journaling really a waste of time, paper and ink?

Here’s what I think.

Anytime we take out a pen and paper and write about our life we are actually reflecting. Reflection is so important because, without it, we don’t get to know ourselves as deeply as we could.

One of the benefits of knowing and understanding ourselves on a deeper level is learning why we hold ourselves back, what we fear, and the emotions behind everything we do or don’t do. Essentially all of our power to become who we want to be comes from recognizing who we are.

When we write, we are not only fostering this reflection but we also release the commotion from our brains. We give all that commotion a safe resting place where we can then look at it head-on rather than just spinning in it from the inside out.

One thing I love to teach my clients is the importance of self-reflection through writing. It doesn’t need to take an hour. In fact, 10-15 minutes a day is what I recommend.

I am not sure if my Grandma noticed any benefits in her life from doing her daily journaling. For her it may have just been a part of her routine that she never questioned, but I would like to think that she was better off because of doing it.

I know that on the days that I make the time for my own self-reflection I am more productive, confident and present in all areas of my life.

There are some of you out there reading this that fear writing because you fear the words that you will have to read back to yourself. I know this, because I’ve had clients who’ve been there. I know it even better because I have been there. I have days now where I’m there.

To you I want to say that the things we fear the most are also the same things that change our lives the most when we decide to face and conquer them.

I can appreciate that the older I get there is not much I can do to change the physical reflection I see when I look in the mirror, but by reflecting from the outside and looking in, I have the power to transform my life.

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