Eight Reasons Why Journaling Is Good For You
Journaling is good for you, and your relationships. Unlike your partner and your friends, the pages in your journal will never grow weary of listening to you lament about stepparenting. Or anything else for that matter. The next time you find yourself frustrated about something, run to your journal like it’s the last call. Here’s why.
Unless you a have a little Nancy Drew living in your house (and you might, in which case you should keep your journal someplace safe) your journal is completely private. Privacy allows us to relax into ourselves and exist more honestly. When you aren’t performing for anyone else, it’s easier to recognize your feelings and figure out what they are trying to tell you.
A private journal is a great place to practice sharing your feelings, ideas, and dreams. It’s a place to build confidence through trial and error and develop your voice. The more you practice articulating yourself on paper, the easier it will be to do it out in the world. More importantly, this activity becomes sacred when you practice sitting with your feelings. Feelings can be really intense, but they tend to pass quickly when they are acknowledged. Added bonus: when you work through things in private, there isn’t any post-argument mending to do with your partner.
Once you work through what’s causing hurt feelings, you can consolidate the most important points. The ones that are worth taking beyond the paper and into conversation with someone else. By design, stepmoms have a lot of mental and emotional labor thrust their way at all times. It’s important to sort out what’s important enough to have an emotional response to. This is pre “pick your battles” stuff right here. This is “pick your emotional investment” work. Writing down all your frustrations helps you see everything that’s upsetting in one place. Then you can cross off the things that don’t matter and see what you’re left with.
After you sort through and narrow down your stepparenting pain points, it’s a good idea to move on to the next chapter. Look at the big picture of your situation and remember that it’s not all doom and gloom. Take some time to write down something that makes you feel good. Maybe it’s a recollection of your last date night, some of your favorite things about your partner, or a list of things you’re grateful for. Or make up jokes about your neighbors. Whatever gives you a good chuckle.
After you get the stepmom brain dump out of your system and onto the paper, you have an opportunity to realign your priorities. You’ve already done the self-fulfilling work of acknowledging your feelings without external validation. Nice job! Now it’s time to self-sooth and look to the future. With your shortlist of grievances and your anchors of gratitude, you can improve your mood and align with your best self. Where do you want to go next?
When you start journaling regularly you document your own growth. Looking back on your old writing shows you how far you’ve come, or how much you’ve stayed the same. It’s your journey! Either way, each time you write you are compiling an emotional scrapbook that you can reflect on later.
You’ve made something! Even if it’s a big steaming mess. It’s all yours. Your journal is a collection of tender feelings, futuristic musings, and your creative power. Beyond the tangibility of holding all of those beautiful things inside a little notebook, it’s physically rewarding to journal. It energetically lightens your load when you move stuck emotions and stress out of your brain and onto paper. Some people even like to burn or bury their words after they are written to cleanse themselves of the whole situation. But then there goes your reference. Life is about choices.
Now that you’ve purged all that drama, you can move on with your day. Get back to loving your partner and your life. Or divorce them. You know, whatever you sorted out in your journal. Onward baby!
How to Start
Maybe you’re already chest deep in well-worn journals, or maybe you’re thinking about taking it up. All you really need is a pen and a notebook. Personally, I like to connect with the book by customizing it with magazine cutouts. Then I plaster the cover with packing tape – the poor woman’s lamination technique.
Whatever you decide to do. Make it your own. Love it like a trusted playmate that loves you back. Because it does.
Taryn is the stepmom behind Stepmom Social Club, an irreverent blog that puts one thing above all else: the empowerment of stepmoms. Because SSC prefers laughter over tears, all stepmothering content is served with inspiration, comedy, and a side of expletives. Pour yourself a drink and join the conversation on stepmomsocialclub.com, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.