Do you have a best friend? I bet the answer is yes! Do you have a diary? That answer might be a little less concrete. Diaries don’t have to be written in book form. Your diary could be a tab of notes on your phone, a file on your computer or a book of poems you’re currently writing, but if you don’t have one, I have to make a case for the diary today. Best friends are great too, but if you want to keep him or her, you need to start keeping a diary! Seriously, my diary has helped me to keep relationships and memories. One of the most discussed questions is how do you forgive without forgetting and the answer’s in your diary.
I started journaling when I was ten years old because one of my aunts gave me a diary on my birthday. I’d never seen one until that moment, and I really didn’t know what to do with it which is easy to see when I open it today. It’s got random, sporadic thoughts, outbursts, and dreams, and if it weren’t for the fact that it’s kept in chronological order, it would really be a hot mess. Over time, my thoughts began to grow more organized and the more I dealt with, the more I wrote. I wrote about everything, and the sporadic thoughts, outbursts, and dreams were still there, but there were a lot more summaries of my day. I realize now that keeping a diary has also kept my sanity. Writing about the arguments that I got into with best friends, the betrayal by former boyfriends, and the disconnect I felt with my parents helped me to process my thoughts in a positive way because I was able to vent free of judgement from others. I notice that I’m more prone to share my feelings with people when I haven’t journaled about them, and there’s always a risk…no a guarantee that I’ll hurt someone when that happens.
Whether we are 16 or 76, people are some of our most treasured possessions. In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey mentions that as we mature, we move from becoming dependent to independent to interdependent. In other words, we reach a point where we realize that we need others. If we spend too much time talking about what we’re dealing with instead of processing it safely somewhere private, we’re going to scare people away-the ones we should keep around anyway. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t talk about what we’re going through. We have to talk and advocate for ourselves when someone offends us. I just want to encourage you to try writing your thoughts down first. You’ll be a lot less emotional and the words you need to get your point across and KEEP the relationship will come more easily. The words come easily when you’re angry. Ask me how I know. Problem is the relationships don’t always come easily after you get those words off of your mind.
I’ve awaken at 2:30AM multiple times this week for various reasons and when I couldn’t get back to sleep, I wrote. I cannot believe how much stuff I was holding in! Brain dumping is so important because it helps us feel relief and focus on our priorities when it’s time to get back to work. It also helps us sleep. I slept so good after I’d written in my diary! Trust me, you want this sleep!
You can keep a diary to:
- Brain dump: clear your head of all of your thoughts and action items.
- Process your emotions: rereading your words can help you to see other perspectives.
- Feel grateful: remembering how many blessings and gifts you have can make you feel better.
I recommend journaling for teens because it’s the best friend that we need when ours are no where to be found and we’re filled with excitement, anger, frustration, or joy.