A friend bought a journal in January of 2019 because he wanted to create a ritual of daily writing and reflection.
It got me thinking about my own ritual of writing in a journal and how critical it has become in giving me a space to be honest. It’s a tag team effort though – Honesty & Judgement Free.
You know that ache you get in your chest when you realise you’ve stuffed up…again? You spent too much money, you didn’t honour a personal boundary, you failed to plan, you prioritised something silly over something critical because it was easier in the moment…again. You have that sinking feeling you get as you finally see it for what it is; a behaviour that actually just makes life shit. And you keep doing it, and it feels like it’s here to stay.
At this point, for a long time, it was easier for me to just avoid thinking about it – what was the point? I didn’t know how to change it, I’d gotten myself into some stupid situations and didn’t trust I’d be able to crawl out of the holes I’d dug.
I can honestly, and proudly, say I have changed this. There were many aspects to how that change came about, but one of the highlights was journaling. It was a two-fold gift.
1 – It turned into my favourite story ever.
I occasionally look back through my journals and their first few pages, and it is intense! A lot of confused, guilt-full ranting. When I read those early entries, I can hear the thoughts that were going on at the time – I can also hear everything that still hurt too much to think about, let alone write about. But the latest ones…they are all about vision, understanding and hope. I can read the journey of how my thoughts and self image changed.
I can see how the internal narrative surrounding Tom Duff changed over time.
2 – It became an place of total freedom.
Total freedom. I can’t stress the joy of that enough. When I wrote in the journal, every mistake I had made was allowed to join. Every realisation about the world was welcomed. Every frustration at my harmful and unresourceful habits was invited in and given space to exist, speak and belong. Every win I could get, big or small, was celebrated. Everything was equally welcome, everything was equally important.
“I went out last night, spent way too much, and did nothing on my Uni Assignment. It was good to see people but I’m now broke, still gotta buy fuel and today has basically been a write-off. This is going to be a tough week.“
– Tom Duff circa. 2014
Okay – So journaling is a good story and gives you a space to be honest without judgement. Why does that matter?
Awareness is the first step towards ANY meaningful change.
Don’t like something about yourself and want it to be different?
– GET TO KNOW YOURSELF DEEPLY –
Journaling is powerful and builds critical self awareness. It will be central in how you manage the external world, as you reform your internal world.