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Does journaling help personal growth or hinder it

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#1
I've "journaled" for years - I say "journal" as technically it's not, its just a private blog that I use as if it's a journal/diary and when I was younger I used a written diary to rant and write about how I feel. But I was thinking, when I'm feeling down I can write paragraphs and paragraphs about all these bad feelings and thoughts but they just stay there forever. I feel better eventually but that bad memory of feeling crap stays in that place, it's a permanent record. I don't look back very often, but when I do, say wanting to finding happier memories I'd written about, I end up finding the bad ones in there too that I'd forgotten about and I realize it can make me feel kinda bitter or angry or sad all over again even though I moved on from those things months or years ago. I find it therapeutic to write how I feel and it's good having a record in terms of reflecting- I can look back and see how much progress I've made or realize where I made mistakes or where I need to improve my reactions to things and ways of thinking- but at the same time it's kinda counter-productive cause it's almost like it encourages grudges and stuff cause it reminds me of things that I would have otherwise forgotten about. Maybe I should delete all my journal entries that are unhappy once I feel better about things to help me move on properly, rather than potentially making me sad or pissed off all over again in the future if I come across it.

What's the right balance I wonder? It's good for personal growth in terms of expressing things, rationalizing your thoughts, and then reflecting later and being able to see your errors or how much progress you've made, but also it's kinda unhelpful to have a log of times you've felt bad about stuff cause it makes you focus on the negatives or get re-angry / re-sad etc all over again if you happen to look back on it at any point

I say this cause I was reading back my entries from this year, and whilst some are useful cause it helps me see how stupid my reactions have been in the past and how I can improve, other ones make me feel worse cause I'm like "oh....... I forgot that shitty thing happened ages ago...... that was horrible...... ouch" and like I get re-hurt all over again (not to the same extent as the past when it was actually happening, but like to a small extent which is bad enough, ya know?)

I'm interested what other people think the right balance is with it?
 

Lux

you should see me in a crown
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#2
I journal too - I have boxes of written ones that I've kept since I was about 9 - I find it really interesting to revisit them and see how I've changed etc but I found that when I was between the ages of maybe 11 and 21, I would mostly journal when I felt bad or sad, and didn't document any happy memories at all so of course when you revisit those, you feel sad and triggered.

I found switching to bullet journalling helped me balance - I would make sure that even if I wrote an entry when I was sad etc (I didn't want to take that away as venting is essential) I would make sure I would find at least one thing to be pleased about that day, even if it was as little as "my eyebrows looked nice" haha. I also promised myself I'd document the good memories more - I always found I didn't want to write as much for those or would forget and have to do it a few days later. Most of my positive ones just include a ticket, photograph or even just a receipt if that's all I had of the memory and a brief description of what it was. Something as small as going for a meal with someone reminded me that I could eat (I have an eating disorder) and someone wanted to sit and eat with me once so I can do it again.

I think them in themselves are a good documentation of growth as long as you make sure you action any issues you have with reading the bad ones, and try to make improvements.

Hope that makes sense, I rambled a bit, but that's how I try to keep my balance. I totally get what you mean by possibly hindering growth, but I figure it's your journal and is for you, so you can make it what you need to be :)
 
#3
I journal too - I have boxes of written ones that I've kept since I was about 9 - I find it really interesting to revisit them and see how I've changed etc but I found that when I was between the ages of maybe 11 and 21, I would mostly journal when I felt bad or sad, and didn't document any happy memories at all so of course when you revisit those, you feel sad and triggered.

I found switching to bullet journalling helped me balance - I would make sure that even if I wrote an entry when I was sad etc (I didn't want to take that away as venting is essential) I would make sure I would find at least one thing to be pleased about that day, even if it was as little as "my eyebrows looked nice" haha. I also promised myself I'd document the good memories more - I always found I didn't want to write as much for those or would forget and have to do it a few days later. Most of my positive ones just include a ticket, photograph or even just a receipt if that's all I had of the memory and a brief description of what it was. Something as small as going for a meal with someone reminded me that I could eat (I have an eating disorder) and someone wanted to sit and eat with me once so I can do it again.

I think them in themselves are a good documentation of growth as long as you make sure you action any issues you have with reading the bad ones, and try to make improvements.

Hope that makes sense, I rambled a bit, but that's how I try to keep my balance. I totally get what you mean by possibly hindering growth, but I figure it's your journal and is for you, so you can make it what you need to be :)
aw yeah I have diaries from when I was 7 or 8 onwards!

I think I need to remember to journal more when I feel good, because I end up doing the same. I write more when I feel bad, and when I feel good I either forget to write about it, or I'm too busy being happy to document it, or I start writing about it then never finish.

I have a gratitude journal app actually which prompts me to write things I'm grateful for each day, and I do use that most days and have a record of that about a year or two of just good things, so that's something actually

thanks :)
 

Innocent Forever

Still innocent!
SF Supporter
#4
Hey
I've journaled a lot too, but I aim not to reread what I've written because as you say it sends you down the thought spiral. After I'd written a number of letters to myself I bought another journal and copied them out into there, because they're at least more positive and I want a record. I've friends who journal and destroy what they write immediately. I can't do that for then it's a waste of time writing. I've always found journaling to be therapeutic for me. Rereading however to be anything but. I see those as two really different things. If you have everything on a blog your more positive posts you can categorise however you want and access them there.
 
#5
Hey
I've journaled a lot too, but I aim not to reread what I've written because as you say it sends you down the thought spiral. After I'd written a number of letters to myself I bought another journal and copied them out into there, because they're at least more positive and I want a record. I've friends who journal and destroy what they write immediately. I can't do that for then it's a waste of time writing. I've always found journaling to be therapeutic for me. Rereading however to be anything but. I see those as two really different things. If you have everything on a blog your more positive posts you can categorise however you want and access them there.
Yeah, I've heard of people deleting it soon after but then I agree that it feels like a waste of time writing it- I can spend an hour or more writing sometimes!

problem is I use a tumblr sideblog and the tags don't work on there for some reason so even when I organize them I can't access them any easier *huh I was considering moving to another blog site but then I have 10 years worth of history on there and I cant be bothered to copy and paste it all somewhere else! and I'd like them all on one blog :/
 

Innocent Forever

Still innocent!
SF Supporter
#6
Yeah, I've heard of people deleting it soon after but then I agree that it feels like a waste of time writing it- I can spend an hour or more writing sometimes!

problem is I use a tumblr sideblog and the tags don't work on there for some reason so even when I organize them I can't access them any easier *huh I was considering moving to another blog site but then I have 10 years worth of history on there and I cant be bothered to copy and paste it all somewhere else! and I'd like them all on one blog :/
Oh, that would be hard to do. Unless someone moves it for you... maybe you don't need to move it but if you want to start on a new platform you can.
 
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