Dear Self – We Need to Talk (Part II)

IMG_2017In my previous article, I offered a glimpse into how journaling may help a person connect with their best self and allow their soul to speak.  I even shared a bit of my own discovery in deciding to journal.  I admit that my introverted self has a bias that leans toward writing as a tool for personal growth and I know not everyone is that easily convinced.  So, I thought I’d add to “Part I” and lay out some more specific benefits to using a journal on your personal growth journey.  Having a conversation with your own self/soul can free you from the tapes of others who have spoken into your life.  Many people have our best interests at heart, though are challenged by not allowing their own projections to pour into our development.  Journaling can erase any erroneous messages and make space for your own soul to exercise its voice.  Take a look at some of the benefits of journaling as an option for a more peaceful being.

Benefits of Journaling:

1.  You are in complete control.  You decide which words to write down, how deep you want to get, and how much time you want to spend focused on just yourself.  I often suggest to clients setting a timer for their journaling experiences.  A good start is 15-20 minutes.  Making it a time-limited exercise allows you to experience a greater sense of control over emotions and thoughts that have been bothersome.  You get to say to your soul “I’ll give you a voice”.  This way your soul doesn’t have to scream for attention through those thoughts and emotions that interrupt you throughout the day and night.

2.  Journaling allows you to be mindfully present of where you stand emotionally without harsh judgment.  In fact, you get to experience being you unapologetically.  This may be the first time you learn how to accept yourself without that harsh judgment.

3.  Journaling allows you to practice important communication in the event you want to express it openly to another person.  This can be helpful if what you need to say has been fueled by strong emotion that often clouds clearer expression.  In this way you can read it back to yourself and “listen” to how you “sound”, ensuring you’re going to say what you mean and mean what you say.  Clear communication of self is the best way to get our needs met.

4.  Journaling allows your emotional self and thinking self to synchronize – to finally agree on what’s really going on.  You get the chance to see who you really are without the defenses and smokescreens you typically use to survive the day-to-day.  When you are in sync with your truest self, you can experience health benefits, more fulfilling relationships, quicker access to contentment in your vocation, and a straight line to peaceful and joyful living.

5.  When your emotional self and your thinking self align, it allows you to clarify needs, values, and even spiritual beliefs.  When these parts of your self are clear, you can make better decisions on how to live.

6.  Journaling has never been easier.  With technology, we can often record a feeling or thought as it’s happening rather than waiting for that uninterrupted moment late at night to finally reflect.  Of course, I advocate using those uninterrupted moments when we can be more reflective.  And the privacy of an intentional journaling episode allows you the safety to be completely honest without fear that your office mate is looking over shoulder.

7.  There are very few rules to using journaling as a tool for growth.  No judgment.  Complete honesty.  It doesn’t even break a rule if you sit down to write and 10 minutes later there is still a blank page.  Many times, my clients will return to a session and announce they “failed” their assignment because they didn’t actually write anything down.  Then, they proceed to courageously process their feelings, thoughts, and experience in full. In essence they did complete the assignment – having a dialogue with self, listening carefully as their soul began to speak.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m aware of my bias toward writing as a way to connect with your self, or more accurately, your soul.  You may be more prone to use something like meditation or prayer.  I use these tools as well. In fact, I spend just as much time listening to music, reading the inspirational writing of others, or prayer within my own spiritual constructs.  Though, over time, I’ve also learned that journaling has been the key to unlock the best in me so that I can successfully use those other behaviors as steps toward the person I was created to be – compassionate, strong, and more graciously comfortable in my own skin.

Journaling – Conversations with Self that can lead to more peaceful being.

About L. Chris Cannida

I am a licensed professional counselor living and practicing in Tulsa, Oklahoma
This entry was posted in Counseling and Mental Health. Bookmark the permalink.

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