Words are important to me. In fact, words are so important to me that it came as no surprise when I learned words of affirmation are my strongest Love Language. I write to myself – words of love, reminders, reassurance, encouragement, cautions, and words of friendship. It’s one of the most important and rewarding things I do to care for myself.
I encourage my clients to keep a journal for a few key reasons:
1. Review. I had a professor in graduate school who said, “If you miss something a client says, have faith that the same train will come back again.” Likewise, sometimes material we talk about today sinks in days or weeks later. Long after our work together is done, you will have recounted many skills and strategies you can go back to when you want or need. It’s a gift that will keep giving to you as long as you first give to yourself.
2. Grow. Humans tend to be creatures of habit. Yet, when we begin a process of growth and healing, change begets change. There is no one better than you to give yourself a pep talk. I encourage clients to write not only when they’re feeling down, but also when they’re feeling great and think they don’t need to write. When you are feeling great and you count it, your words serve as beautiful reminders. After all, you are the one writing your own story.
3. Care. Caring for yourself is a lifelong labor of love. When we are young, we are all given a toolbox. Within this toolbox, there are a few shiny tools. Some become polished while others become dusty and rusty over time. We continue to add tools to our kit as we age. It’s important that we sharpen tools that work for us, get rid of worn out ones, and be open to new tools we create ourselves or with others’ help.
A coaching or therapy journal is a microcosm of our life journal. In this special journal, we write down important insights and aha moments. We talk to ourselves kindly. We tell ourselves we are worth it. We give ourselves friendly suggestions and direct reminders to challenge harmful thoughts and behavioral patterns.
All of our growth processes’ occur at different rates. What matters is that you are setting yourself up to grow and prosper. Learning from the past is smart. Preparing for the future is necessary. Being present with yourself is prudent.
Here’s to you, fellow writer!