I have found the real power of journalling when I met Danielle Capella, my psychologist. I was going through some difficult months in my relationship and I started realising that some of the attitude I had towards my partner had nothing to do with him, but actually to do with something that was bothering me deep inside. Partners are great mirrors of ourselves, and as mean as it might sound sometimes we blame them for our own frustrations and thankfully I realised that before it was too late.
So then after realising some stuff that kept coming up in fights had somehow to do with my childhood, I decided for once to look for help. I was fortunate enough to find a great professional nearby and so we started the “digging” process. Let me just mention to you that Danielle not only is an amazing psychologist but also trained in coaching and NLP (Neurolinguistics Programming). Let’s just say she’s got you covered!
From day one she gave me a lot of “homework”, which was pretty much a lot of writing. Not typing, not thinking, but actual writing. Later on Danielle told me that writing is a very important step in the process of self-development. It helps you to organize your emotions, you heard it right, organize them, because as things start bubbling up very often you don’t even know what is actually bothering you. Also writing helps you to “vomit” all the things you have to without any barriers, without hurting anyone, just being completely straightforward without holding back. Once you let that peak of emotions pass, and you’re more calm from the feeling of expressing yourself on paper then things become more clear to you. As you write you start understanding your emotions and thoughts better, and crazy as it might be it clears the clouds in your mind and often it puts light on the actual root of a particular behaviour, emotion or whatever it is that might be bothering you.
Having told you the wonders of journalling, I invite you then to do this journalling exercise with me by writing, not thinking, not typing, HAND writing the following.
I would like you to identify one thing about yourself that you would like to change. Not something external but an internal goal. Like being more patient, or having more determination to finish things, or being less explosive. Something in these lines. This step is called AWARENESS.
Now I would like you to write a little paragraph to yourself. In very kind words, as if you were talking to a friend, say that you accept yourself the way you are, and as much as you love yourself for who you are this particular behaviour serves you no more. This step is called ACCEPTANCE.
Lastly I invite you to observe and write about this particular behaviour, with as much details as you can, and perhaps even examples (situations in life you acted in this particular way). Then I would like you to describe with as much detail what you would like to change about this behaviour, and describe these same examples with your new behaviour. This step is called CHANGE.
As much work as this might seem, the reward you will get from the work you put in is very much worth it. Digging in is not for everyone, it’s only for the brave! I hope you can put the time into doing this journalling exercise, it was a game changer for me. There are many different ways to use journalling for self-development, this is just one exercise. I hope you develop a taste for it and leave you wanting more! Enjoy!