Why You Should Journal as a Means to Honor Who You Are

Vincent Van Patten

Journaling deserves our victories, our joys, and everything we dream of being


Photo by Team Fredi on Unsplash

The empty page of a journal is a friend to console in, a blank canvas to explore, an arena to go to battle with your thoughts.I always feel better after writing.

If I wake at any point in the night and feel like writing, I try not to think; I just do.

I leave my journal by my bed for this reason, because I don’t want an excuse not to write.

If the journal is there I'll be much more inclined to pour out what I've been dreaming or what's keeping me up. It’s as if the paper by my bed is the bridge between my dream state and the waking state, a bridge between my beating heart and my restless soul.

Journaling can be a life-changing practice to ride out the difficult times in our lives. Problems lose their fangs when set down in ink; obstacles are put into perspective when confined between a page’s lines.

Even if I've been writing articles online, if I haven't written in my journal for a while, I can tell.

The thoughts in my head seem to bundle together like a stack of dirty laundry. Wring them out, write them down. Let go.

Journaling deserves more than just our times of uncertainty. When I heard actor Matthew McConaughey talk about why he writes in his diary on the Tim Ferris Podcast, I was reminded of why I return to the blank page, day in and day out.

“My diary started out how most people’s do; you write when you’re lost,” McConaughey says.
“My early diary entries were the whys whats wheres whens and hows, the existential questions. Then I said wait a minute, let’s dissect success and when things are going well! Let’s write in this diary when you feel like everything is clear and you feel strong and confident and significant! So when I did get in a proverbial rut later, I could get back to that diary and see what was I writing when I felt like everything was lickety-split.”

McConaughey explains how journaling became not only solace through difficult times, but an account of what he was doing when he felt authentic; when he saw the world as beautiful; when he felt it was him in his own skin.

It’s never going to be this day or this moment, ever again.

I think McConaghey’s sentiment is a valuable lesson of how journaling can help us through trying times, and how it makes us appreciate the absolute good in life.Journaling deserves our victories, our joys, our character.

It deserves everything we are on this stage of the journey; it deserves everything we dream of being. The beauty of journaling comes from the fact that nobody has to see it but you.

You can be your most uplifting friend in a journal and tell yourself how great you're doing! And you should. What are you proud of today that you can look back on in a year and see how far you've come?

When McConaughey began writing down how he felt during the prosperous times in his life, he found consistencies in his behavior.

“The people I was hanging out with, how much sleep I was getting, what I was eating, the beauties in the world that I was noticing that were really affecting me; how I approached people, how I was approaching the day, how I was approaching conflict; I was getting to know myself.”

It can be daunting to be completely honest in a journal, even when nobody will see it. It takes courage.

But when those words are on the page, trust me, it’s liberating. Let go of the restraint and pour out your heart.

Journaling is the best way that I’ve found to cut through the BS and dig into why we feel the way we do.

“I started writing things down and I thought, are you weird? Can you be this kind of person?” McConaughey says.
“I got the confidence to go yes, you can; let’s write down those things that make you laugh, what makes you happiest, what makes you sad and angry, and don’t worry if it’s the collective choice of the majority. What does it mean to you?”

Funny enough, I’ve written about Matthew McConaughey before. But when I hear something inspirational that comes up again and again in my mind, I want to share it with others.

His story is incredibly motivating because I, too, believe that writing is the best way to live in the present, a means of taking note of how the world makes us feel.

When the journal is open, you are thinking about the next word, about the sentence, about the feeling.

Journaling requires you to be there, and that's a beautiful thing. It’s the best way to get to know ourselves, as we are the only person we can never escape from.

Have fun with writing in your journal! I know what it feels like to turn to the blank page when it’s as if our voice imparts no sound, or we can’t get out the right words.

Write during these times, and you’ll always have a friend and a reason to keep going.

Yet, journaling is so much more.

I encourage you to write about why the world is beautiful.

If you don’t notice anything when you’re out, think about it.

How did the sunset make you feel? What about that book or that movie had you in stitches?

What did a friend or a family member tell you that you want to always remember? How did you feel when you gave a compliment to a stranger?

What act of kindness did a friend or a loved one do that you’ll never forget, or better yet, what have you done to brighten somebody else’s day?

Are you waking up in the morning with a lightness in your heart and soul? Do you feel better than you’ve ever felt?

Write about it, remember that feeling, capture the color of life and what truly moves you, then cork the bottle and stash it away as an essential piece of you to always return. Y

ou'll thank yourself for it down the road and be better for it in the moment.

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My name is Vincent Van Patten. This is my home, a place to share who I am and what lights my soul on fire. I’m a writer, media creator, and co-host of The Dare to Dream Podcast. Most importantly, I’m an inspired citizen of our ever-changing world. I strive to learn all that I can about how we’ve progressed to where we are today as individual cultures and as a planet. It’s my passion to fill every day with exploration and creativity no matter where I am, whether in California crafting my latest project or on my way to discover someplace new. By writing about my experiences, connecting with people and the earth, and remaining present, I always feel at home. I write to express my perspective of daily living, from the thoughts in my head to the relationships we share as human beings. I write about travel, culture, books, life, philosophy, spirituality, health, self-improvement, and history. I also write poetry and short stories  —  doing so soothes the soul. I believe we’re here to challenge ourselves by questioning all we think we know. When we do, we open our minds to a way of living we could never have imagined. This life is a journey with no finish line in sight. I hope to leave a positive impact with every step I take.

Del Mar, CA

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