Time to Heal: The Importance of Journaling

I journal every day. I've journaled since I could first form words. I have my very first journal still. My first entry was simply a list of the animals I saw at the zoo. Journaling went on to becoming a huge part of my life. I believed it also saved my life.

We didn't do very much talking about feelings in the house I grew up in, so I learned how to process my feelings and thoughts by writing. I was in counseling on and off throughout my life, and that definitely helped, but some thoughts are best written down. By getting it out on paper, I was able to visually see the pain I was feeling and then understand it would pass. The more I wrote, the better I felt. That's why I say journaling saved my life. There were many times my life could have taken a very dark turn, but getting my feelings out on paper helped me recover and head into a lighter direction. Now, writing didn't stop people's words and negative energy from spewing all about, but it definitely helped me process it better.

I’ve stopped journaling at times in my life, but I always went back to it. One time I remember stopping was because my parental figures found my journals and punished me. They told me I left them out on my desk, like I wanted them to find them and read them. That was not true, as I had hidden them, because I had to hide many things (nail polish, makeup, food, stuffed animals, etc.) in that house in fear of it being taken away. They told me everything I wrote were lies. My feelings were not lies. The situations I wrote about were 100% true, as I was a child and had no reason to write lies. I stopped writing after that, but then started again once I figured out an even better hiding place.

I think a lot of people would like to journal but they don't know how to get started. You can write however you want, as there is no wrong or right way, but today I felt it was time to share how I journal. I write mine like letters: 

  • Time, date, day
  • Address who I am giving my thoughts to "Dear God, Angels and Spirit Guides"
  • Express my gratitude. Example: "Thank you for Tommy. Thank you for my creative gifts and talents"
  • Freely write any thought that pops into my head
  • Express more gratitude. Example: "Thank you God for my success. My success is coming to me now."
  • Write positive "I am statements" (I believe repetition makes things happen, as we become our thoughts). Example: "I am strong. I am surrounded by positive, happy and encouraging people."

Here's a piece of my journal entry I wrote today and decided it needed to be shared. I’m tired of hiding my feelings as I learned to as a child. So, now, it’s all coming out. It’s a clue into maybe how to start a journal entry yourself, and it’s also a glimpse inside of my mind.

Dear God, Angels and Spirit Guides,

Thank you for Tommy. Thank you for this time for me to pack, create and reflect. "Be gentle on yourself." was my oracle message last night. "Take time to heal, you've been through a lot." This is true. I don't really know how to sit and think about everything I went through at work and in my past and "Heal". All I know how to do is create. Maybe through creation, I heal. I will never forget all the pain that has been lashed out at me over the years. I know what made people do it all; jealousy and their own pain. I guess that is why I don't dwell on the pain they've caused me to have. The negative energy that spewed was very painful-like being hit in the heart. Stabbed in the heart-that's where that saying comes from-because my heart literally was in physical pain. I guess some don't feel pain like I do. People's actions hurt, their words hurt. I try and try not to allow negative people to hurt me, but even if not directed at me, I still feel it. Grandmother told me last week that other people don't think the way I do. Maybe that is true. I feel it, think it and do it. I wonder how many others just say things, but don't actually do them. I think there are many-billions-that do that.

Back story that helps understand this particular journal entry (if you don't know): I recently resigned from my job. I enjoyed what I did, but worked for someone who was not kind in many ways. There were good days with this person, but the bad far outweighed the good. The constant bad-mouthing of other people, anger so great you could physically see it, the "I'm right and you are stupid" attitude. NOPE. After exhausting every option (talking to the person, counseling, meditation, journaling, creating art, reiki, speaking to other leaders, talking to close friends and family, formally filing a complaint), I couldn't take it anymore. The verbal abuse was bringing back painful memories and re-opening childhood wounds I received from a parental figure and enough was enough.

I learned a great lesson with this situation. In the past, I’ve reacted, or I’ve let others push me to reacting verbally. You do need to react verbally sometimes because you have to stand up for yourself, but in this workplace relationship, reacting verbally never worked. It only caused the person to get even angrier. The person was super sensitive, so talking to them about various things had to be timed correctly. If you didn’t time it correctly, the day grew very dark, very fast. There were times that all I wanted to do was say “Are you crazy?” (like when the phrase “Your husband intimidates me” was said to me, though no one had ever categorized my husband as being intimidating) but instead, I chose peace. Pinching my leg as a reminder not to say anything when crazy things were being said to me? That was a method I chose to use often, because, again, saying anything to this person always made things worse. I was incredibly great at what I did (because I worked really hard), made wonderful friends at the company, and just didn't deserve to be treated poorly. I chose myself and my health, and exited with grace.

I now, however, understand what I went through may help others that may be dealing with a similar situation. Maybe it's not pain from a job. Maybe it's pain from a relationship. If you are experiencing pain, create an exit strategy.

Here was ours: My husband and I spent the last year learning more about finances and started putting plans into action. We sold my car, payed off any and all outstanding bills, and now have a contract on our home to sell it. We plan to purchase an RV (a reasonably priced one) and travel for a while. I'll concentrate on my art and writing and also spend time being free. Something I've not felt in a long time. FREE. Tommy (my husband) can fortunately work remotely. I am ever so grateful for him. I cannot express how much love I feel in my heart when it comes to him. He is giving me such a huge gift right now and I spend every minute of every day feeling the utmost gratitude for Tommy. I am also grateful for my own talents, as I have continuously worked side jobs that aligned with my talents (make-up, cakes, illustrations, etc.) to keep growing creatively and to help ensure we became financially secure.

Wherever we land after traveling, I have a business plan to start my own studio space to teach art, practice my Reiki energy healing and more. I know this is all a part of my plan. Could things come up in between this plan? Of course! But, at least I have something in motion.

My pain will heal though all of this process. That is why I truly forgive anyone that has caused me pain throughout my life. It has all brought me to this moment. I pray for them and understand their pain is real too. However, their pain is their pain and they need to work thorough it. While they do that, I am becoming "Who I Really Am". Who am I? A writer, an artist, a healer and I will figure out the rest as I move through this process. My process involves writing and if I’ve inspired one person by writing this, then I’ve gotten one step closer to becoming who I really am.  


Sketch by Carolyn J. Braden

Sketch by Carolyn J. Braden