The Journaling Stan

Why is journaling so hard?

Journaling is hard because it asks you to engage with yourself, use your mind, and write in ways you aren’t used to.

In order to have a sustainable and rewarding journaling practice, you must be unconditionally authentic and accepting. Doing that is not easy. It requires adjusting your mindset and giving yourself space that you aren’t accustomed to having. Let’s dive deeper into what that means:

Journaling requires unconditional authenticity and acceptance.

What do I mean by this?

Being unconditionally authentic means allowing yourself to have uncensored, honest sessions that don’t need to qualify or be manipulated for a spot in your journal.

Have you ever felt your life was too boring to journal today? Have you ever felt that maybe you shouldn’t feel a particular way? Have you ever felt embarrassed about your feelings or an event that happened?

Your thoughts, feelings, and happenings of your life (no matter how silly, embarrassing, “wrong”, or boring ) all qualify for a space in your journal and there is no need to withhold, sensor, or manipulate any of it to make it “right”.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

Now, I’m not telling you to go out of your way to have journaling sessions highlighting the stories you feel most ashamed of or that you have pain attached to just so you can say, “I’m being open and authentic”.

Not at all. Because that’s not authentic.

Being unconditionally authentic and accepting is rooted in the compassion you show yourself as you write which drives your choice to be open.

Journaling is a practice, not a project.

When you come back from the gym after a workout, is it the feeling of accomplishment your body benefits from, or was it the exercise itself?

It was the exercise.

Journaling is not about the writing at all. The value of journaling is in the internal exploration, self-acceptance, self-love, self-compassion, and the rewards you receive from becoming more self-aware and internally attentive.

You aren’t there to collect as many “good” entries as possible and to finish the journal feeling proud of what’s in there. The benefits of journaling are in the process itself. (That includes going back to read it).

The freedom that comes with journaling can be uncomfortable.

Grammar, spelling, and formatting have no weight in a journal. That sort of freedom is understandably unfamiliar, and therefore uncomfortable. You’re going to need to reassure yourself that your handwriting, grammar, style of writing, the fullness of the page, etc don’t matter and whatever you choose to write is just fine. The only “rule” in journaling is authenticity.

So what is the solution? How do I make journaling easy?

Let me be clear first:

When I say “easy” I don’t mean getting rid of any uncomfortable feelings you have while you’re writing. That’ll never change.

But, journaling can become natural to you by accepting the discomfort that comes with being vulnerable.

Become curious. Drop your expectations and be welcoming toward whatever it is you may find throughout your journaling practice. Keep your mind open and ready to just “find out”.

Feeling discomfort doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. Growth will always be uncomfortable.

Be honest with yourself. Be careful of censoring, withholding, and manipulating your thoughts and feelings to make them “correct”.

Doing this will undoubtedly make you uncomfortable. But, if you can accept these principles within your journal, they will leak into other aspects of your life as well.

Happy Journaling! ❤️

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