The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself. – Thales
Journaling is a great way to learn about who you are. It’s also a great way to document who you have become. By keeping it private you’re much more likely to be honest, though not always, and you can go back to read your previous entries and see how far you have come.
My favourite way to journal used to be with a pen and paper, and although I still like to use that medium for some things I have found that journaling on my computer is a much nicer way to work. I use the Red Notebook and find it works great. You can search your entries, export them, insert images and much more. Try it out 😉
Below are a few questions/topics you can include in your next journal entry. These can be very helpful in finding your true nature.
What don’t you want to write about?
Why dance around the issue? Take some time to think about what you really don’t want to think about and then write about it. You’ll be amazed at what you find out about yourself and how much better you feel after you have really unloaded.
What do you want to write about?
Write about what really excites you, what makes you happy and if you’re not doing what makes you happy why not? Or on the other hand write about something that you’ve really just wanted to get off your chest. Perhaps a rant about current news, or the way you were treated by a friend.
Write what comes natural and first to mind. These posts in your journal could be very beneficial to finding out who
Who am I now?
This is a great exercise to do, especially if you have several older entries. It can be fun to go back and read older posts and then write about how you’ve changed, or how you would have handled the situation now. If you don’t have older posts that you can analyse you can still answer this question. Consider who you were at different points in your life, or mention times that caused a big change in your life.
Write about something that happened in your past, a huge change. How did you feeling during, and after? Did it seem to be a horrible problem that turned out not so bad? Or was it something you thought would be great and it turned out differently?
Talking About Change
This is a great way to see how you dealt with change, and how you deal with change now and how you can then improve on your ideas of change.
Talk about how you handled the problem, why it scared or excited you and how you would handle it today.
Conversation with Yourself
Choose an age for yourself, maybe you’re talking to your 16 year old self. What would you say to them? What would you want them to know? How could they have spent their time better?
Don’t just limit yourself to younger ages and you giving them the wisdom. Try going with an older self and think of that wisdom they could give you. Would your 90 year old self tell you to work over time every weekend or would they mention how much time they wasted not doing what they really loved.
If you could talk to yourself at a different age what would they say? What advice would be exchanged?
This is a great way to discover lots of things about yourself. Take the topic of 100 things and choose how to end it and then construct the list. For example, write a list of 100 Things that Make you Smile or 100 Things you want to do before you’re 30/40/50/die, or maybe even 100 Things that Scare You.
Writing a list is great but these can be used to go deeper. When you write down your 100 things that scare you (or 50 or 10 whatever number you want to use) take each point and write out why you are afraid of whatever it is, these can be huge things or small phobias.
For example, I’m afraid of rats.
Why? When I was a young child, about 5 years old my dog would bring me dead animals. The vet said it was her way of ‘taking care of me’ she saw me as her own pup. One morning I woke up to a half-dead rat lying on my chest.
I screamed, it ran away which much more energy than I thought it could have mustered. My oldest brother came into my room to see what happened, I jumped on him held on and didn’t let go! Since then I have been very afraid of mice and rats.
Obviously it was the initial shock that scared me. Like a lot of fears mine started at a young age. If this were my journal I would go into more details about why I still fear mice but this is supposed to be about you so I’ll stop now.
But yes, I still am afraid of mice to this day but not as much as I once was!
The point of the exercise is to work through this fears, and the first step is to recognize what they are. However, this can also be a very light and fun exercise too, as well as a confidence builder. Why not list 100 things you like about yourself and why? Or the 100 Things you have accomplished in your life.
No matter how your list starts it can end with you learning much more than 100 things about yourself!
Write down daily affirmations about yourself. Include how awesome you totally are dude and use these as tools to create a stronger sense of self worth.
For example. It is okay to be me. I am quirky, fun, and intelligent. I get better with age and bring a brighter me into every day.
Here are some more questions you can ask about yourself. Remember there is no right or wrong answer and no one needs to see your answers except for your journal!
- When approached with change do you normally feel nervous or excited? Why?
- In your life what area makes you feel out of control? In what area do you feel the most control?
- If you had a completely free day and unlimited funds what would you do?
- Do you feel you only succeed when others fail?
- Does competition bring out the best or worst in you?
- Do you work well under pressure?
- Are you a morning bird or a night owl?
- What would your perfect day be?
- What is your ideal life?
- Who is your ideal partner?
- Do you like kids?
- How do you feel about marriage?
- Do you prefer to save time or money?
- If something is forbidden, do you want it less or more?
- Do you like to be in the spotlight?
- What time do you usually go to bed? How many hours do you get?
- Do you get frustrated easily?
- Are you a slave to your emotions?
- Is your life on hold in any aspect? Until you lose weight, get married, get a job etc …
- What would your dream house look like?
- Are you a pack rat?
- Are you introverted or extroverted?
And one more question, what can you add to this list to help yourself and others?