When I was a teenager, I kept a diary. But life got busy and I stopped journaling consistently. I’d write creatively sometimes, but journal entries were only written in times of crisis. I was a self-hater already and journaling made it worse because I would write about what a terrible person I was.
This is how the war was waged for years. I always knew that writing more often would keep my crazy in check, but I couldn’t make myself do it. My only experiences with journaling had been tragic so I was scared that I would be hurt again by my past. For a very long time, I thought I could only write when I was sad. That was the only time the words flowed.
I should stress that I view journaling and blogging very differently. It’s hard to be completely honest with yourself if your words are going to be seen by an audience. It’s like showering on stage, but worse. This is your soul you’re baring, not just skin, and it has the potential to reach millions of people. Scary.
At first, I started slowly, chronicling my days and my plans. After a couple of months (because I’m a slow learner), my writing became deep and soulful. I reflected on my past and was able to identify flaws in my character with clarity. Staring at physical proof of my mistakes was difficult, but it gave me a sort of peace I can’t quite describe.
Life is about being happy, right? And I believe true happiness comes from knowing yourself. I see the issues I have, but they don’t scare me anymore because I understand them.
I strongly recommend that everyone keeps a private journal. The rewards far exceed any risk. My advice is to start slow, with an “introduction” post detailing the basics of your life: your family and friends, work, school, whatever you feel is important. And from there, write whatever you want, without fear. Write whatever comes to mind, even if you don’t understand it. Journaling can lead to understanding.
And try to be as honest with yourself as possible. You will absolutely lie in those pages, but try to catch yourself when you do it. Examine what your thoughts mean and listen to your heart. You will be happier for it.