Mollie blew a puff of breath at her wayward auburn bangs as she hung her head close to the tablet on her desk, scribbling furiously. Caught up in the excitement of the assignment, her purple ink pen burning her hearts desire onto the blue lines of the tablet, she barely heard her fifth grade teacher’s exasperated voice, “Mollie, stop writing this instant and pay attention!”
Mollie’s teacher had given them a simple assignment: spend ten minutes in your journal writing everything you love about your best friend. That was easy – Mollie’s best friend was her horse and that horse meant the world to her. No way could she put it all down in only ten minutes, but what she wrote was near and dear to her and put a smile on her face that lit up the room.
That’s what journaling is about – pouring your heart out. Pour out as little or as much as you want, but get it out there to see and touch. Start with a list of words; add phrases, graduate onto full paragraphs. It’s your stuff; it’s your baggage, your goals, your desires. It’s not a huge process – just get started and allow it to unfold.
The beauty of journaling is that you can be anybody you want to be on paper. Be your public self; be your private self; create a new self. Journaling allows you to see and take possession of all those facets of yourself that want to come together into one awesome balanced fabulous person. It validates you, and when you are comfortable reading your own writing, you can then “own” those facets that would shine with a little more (or less) attention.
Journaling will allow you to access and approach your core – your center – with more authenticity. More authenticity generates a healthier self-appreciation and esteem and isn’t that what we want when we greet our spouses, clients, and friends?
Are you already that awesome balanced fabulous person? Great! Use journaling for another purpose: to identify parts of you that you want to let go with love and gratitude. Approach it like Mollie the fifth grader: “Sally talks about me behind my back – I’m going to spend more time with Erica who treats me better”. An eleven year old can do it – so can you!
Getting started in journaling can be as grand or quiet as you want it to be. At first, I went out and purchased a beautiful hand-tooled leather journal and quickly filled it with thoughts, poetry, rantings, sketches, and other assorted personal doodles of interest. After that filled up rather quickly, I realized I needed some more economical versions of a journal and couldn’t wait to see the rows and rows of new school supplies set out each August, with all the great tablets and spirals and colorful binders.
I find that journaling works really well as a “self-check” system as well as a creative outlet. My goals are written in the front of my journal and then I start filling the pages. I can flip to the front and check myself – am I spending time fulfilling the steps to reach my goals (stick to the list, I can add to it once I attain this) or am I slowly adding more clutter (joining too many groups, looking for better, easier, etc), keeping me further away from the goals?
When I scan a weeks worth of journaling – or a months worth – I can quickly see if I’m adding too much in, diverging, or right on the track with the goals that I set for myself. I like that. I take responsibility for myself. Not my friends, not my coaches, not my husband – me. Journaling allows me to see growth that I would have missed had I not written it down. It’s very empowering.
Not all of you who read this will be willing to take the time to journal. That’s okay but if you take away anything from this, please take the “potential”, the “idea”, that to journal is to realize what an awesome fabulous person you are even when it feels like the whole world is sitting on you rather than holding you up. Maybe next month you will give it a try. Remember the fifth graders?
Journaling can bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart that nobody else can – because it’s all about fabulous you.