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Journaling as an Emotional Release

So far, I have discussed journaling as a way to get specific thoughts out of one’s head and onto paper (Journaling – Clearing One’s Head) and as a way to prevent the bottling of emotions (Journaling – An Outlet so People Don’t Bottle Their Emotions).  This week, I’m going to discuss something similar but different enough that I believe a separate post is warranted:  Journaling as an Emotional Release.

Journaling is an emotional release because the page is a safe place to write or create whatever you darn well please.  You can say things to people in your journal that you would never ever in a million years say to their face.  Things you would never even say if held at gunpoint and saying it might save your life.  Journaling is a safe place to let yourself experience a part of you that you’re afraid to show to the world.  This is usually a release of emotions that are usually associated with anger, hurt or anguish.

Journaling is an emotional release because the page is a safe place to experiment with being someone else.  You can write stories of how you think your life would be different if you had different attributes, if you were beautiful like your best friend or had the football skills of Peyton Manning or worked somewhere where your boss appreciated you more or had a job where you could take an actual weekend off.  You can explore that world of “what ifs”.  This is usually a release of emotions such as jealousy or self pity.

Journaling is an emotional release because it may be the one place where the one who journals is truly and 100% honest with herself/himself.  It’s the place where the one who journals can claim to have some faults, can be sorry for the faults, and can start to forgive themselves for how those faults have manifested in the real world.  This is usually a release of emotions that come with feeling like you’re living your whole life behind one darn heavy mask.

Journaling is an emotional release because journaling may be the one place you can be raw and real with yourself.  You can provide a loving space of comfort through your journaling.  This might be an emotional release that comes with starting to walk out from behind the mask, or The emotional release that comes with starting to let grace shine on parts of you that you thought were shameful or unlovable.

Journaling is an emotional release because it can be a place where emotions don’t have to be explained – just experienced.  For me, what I love about journaling is that I don’t have to apologize for my emotions (usually in the form of tears) when I journal.  I don’t have to apologize for my emotions coming at a “bad time” for those around me.  I don’t have to apologize for my thoughts which could be termed inappropriate.  In my journal, what I say – is.  What I write, what I create through pictures, drawing, collaging, painting – that is real.  No one can argue that I’m wrong, stupid, ignorant, greedy, lazy, or selfish.  Those things might be true, but they’re not when I journal.

Journaling is an emotional release not just because it is a way or a place to experience emotions – it can also be a space where you are free from the experience of emotions.   You can feel free just not to feel.  If you’re feeling weighed down by your emotions, you can let go of that and not be afraid to feel whatever comes with letting go of the emotion.  If you feel nothing, that is okay.  If you can’t label the next emotion, that is okay.  Often, we try to deaden our experience of negative emotions through drinking or eating or drugs – but that also deadens the positive emotions.  Journaling can be a space, like meditation, where you can experiment with letting emotions go in a healthy way.

Journaling is an emotional release because it is a place you can “let your emotions run free”.  You can let the knowledge and lessons that your emotions can bring you come to the surface.  You can “let your emotions speak freely”.   Again, on a personal level, I can see the logic my emotions are providing more clearly when I journal than I can when I’m always being told (by society) that “reason” is in opposition to “emotion”.

Do any of these forms of journaling sound appealing to you?  Some might even sound scary.  Journaling can be fun, it can also be work.  Friendship is something you have to give some time to.  Learning to know yourself well will take time.  However, I don’t even have to know you to know there is something in you that is worth getting to know.  Do you know what that is yet?  If so, is there still even more to learn?

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