The Benefits of Journaling
This post is an excerpt from ‘The Ultimate Guide to Journaling’, available now through Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. With over 100 suggestions and prompts, plus everything you need to know about journaling, it’s the perfect Christmas gift – if not for someone else, then for yourself!Most of our journaling focuses on how we relate to ourselves and others. We get to know the voices in our heads, the ‘parts’ of our personality behind our raw emotions, and explore how these internal parts interact with each other. We learn more about our relationships with others, and how we relate to them. We have the opportunity to turn unhelpful patterns around, improve our communication, and live more consciously.There are parts of us that might never have had a chance to express themselves before now, parts that have been around for a long time but lie just below our conscious life. In childhood, we adapt our personalities, thoughts and feelings to meet to the needs of our caregivers. We have to, otherwise we risk emotional and physical rejection from the people we depend on. It’s not something we consciously choose to do, rather we inherently understand that if we don’t conform, we lose our caregivers’ love, which, on a very primal level, could jeopardise our survival.These parts have been waiting since before you can remember to speak their truth to someone who will hear them. What they have to say might not be pleasant, feel acceptable or comfortable, but they’re part of you.Without listening to these parts, they stay split off from our true selves. They come out in other ways: in acting out, in addiction (alcohol, drugs, or any other compulsive habit) and in negative, untrue, and unquestioned beliefs about ourselves and others.At the same time there might be hidden parts of us that feel what we’d describe as ‘positive’ (or comfortable, pleasant) emotions. Just as we might grow up repressing feelings of hurt, anger, loneliness and pain, sometimes our history might also lead us to suppress feelings and expressions of joy and happiness.Journaling helps us give these parts a voice, it helps us tap in to their experiences, their feelings and all the things they want to say. It helps us discover who we truly are. We can’t negotiate with ghosts that we can’t see and, through journaling, these parts become visible. They no longer act out their beliefs and stories through unconscious actions that we can’t explain and can’t understand. Instead, we have a chance to develop an awareness and, eventually, acceptance of them.
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