The third excuse I hear all the time about not wanting to journal can be summarized in this line: “I do not want someone else to read my journal”.
The first way I would like to address this excuse for not journaling is in a practical way. Here are two practical ways to address this issue:
1. There are many ways that you can protect your journal entries so that you are the only one who ever sees them. You can password protect the work you are creating. You can hide the work in a safe. There are many things you can do to protect the work you are creating from the eyes and judgements of other people.
2. You can destroy the work you created, through deletion, putting it in the trash, burning it in a fire, etc.
*note* As I believe that an overlooked aspect of journaling is being able to reflect back on your work you have done by interacting with it, I do not suggest deleting or destroying your work. There will be times when destroying a journal entry will be symbolic of a release; and, therefore, an encouraged aspect of a journal prompt. However, this will not be the norm as expressed on this blog.
The second way I would like to address this excuse is to discuss the emotion that is often underlying the statement: fear.
1. Tackling the fear – way #1: Explaining to others what journaling is and what it is not.
Journaling is: a space where the author or one part of the author can be honest about how he/she is feeling about life, about work, about themselves, about a particular person in life. The journal entry created is a snapshot of how a part of a person is feeling or might want to feel at one particular moment or period of time.
Journaling is not: the creation of something that can be used to wholly define the author of the journal.
If you’re concerned about someone stumbling onto your journal and reading it when he/she should not, I encourage you to have a conversation with that person about what journaling is and what journaling is not. By explaining both what journaling is and what it is not, this should help alleviate misunderstandings if an entry is to be read by someone who is the subject of an unflattering entry.
I also encourage you to explain to this person/these people that the act of reading your journal would feel like a violation and to tell them the negative emotions you would experience from such a violation.
2. Tackling the fear – way #2: Understanding that healing occurs through the act of journaling even if the journal is written knowing that it will be read by another.
Multiple psychological studies have been done to study the health benefit of journaling. Some studies have compared the benefit of journaling when no one else reads the entries and those journal entries that are written with the knowledge that they will be read by another. The results are mixed, sometimes the private journaling is healthier than the shared journaling. Other studies have shown the opposite. What all the studies show is that healing occurs either way.
In other words, by not journaling because your entries may be read, you are denying yourself healing.
Said a third way, if you think that your entries may be read, and you temper/change your writing accordingly, the act of journaling will still lead to healing/greater health in your life.
Don’t let the fear of your work being “read” prevent you from creating that work in the first place.