Do you ever feel like someone is reading over your shoulder when you're journaling? Or like you're writing for someone else? This is completely normal, but it can prevent your journaling from reaching its full potential. If we feel watched, we're less likely to be authentic or to explore the true depths of our inner experience.
Here are some solutions for combatting this feeling:
Go easy on yourself
Journaling feels awkward sometimes - especially when you first start. You're having a conversation with yourself, and at times, it can feel just as clunky as having a conversation with someone else. So, go easy on yourself, and remember that whatever you write is completely okay. There are no rules, and your journal is a judgement-free zone.
Give yourself permission to sound immature, 'crazy' or erratic
Your journal is a private place where you can get things off your chest and explore yourself. There is no award for 'best' or 'most sane' journaler. Having said that, there are some things you can do to make journaling freely feel more comfortable. One option is to use disclaimers. For example, if you're angry at someone and want to have a no-holds-barred rant about it in your journal, you could put a little disclaimer at the top. Something like 'ok, in this entry I'm going to be as dramatic and aggressive as possible for 5 minutes'. This allows you to get your feelings out, without feeling as vulnerable. You can also use clarifying statements (e.g. "**Note - I don't actually want to kill my boss!").
Often, the best way to overcome our fears is to face them. See what happens when you write something intentionally awful, immature or 'crazy' on the page. Do the police show up? Does your mother call you in tears? No - no one is judging you but yourself.
Journal in different voices
Journaling from a different perspective can be enlightening and free you up to explore emotions from a new vantage point. Explore an event or feeling from the perspective of your best friend, or your grandpa, or your favourite character from a book or TV show. You can also explore writing in different formats - how does it feel if you address your journal entries to someone, like a letter? What happens if you write about yourself in the third person, like you're telling a story? Have a play around, and see which perspectives feel the most liberating.
Explore why you feel like you're being watched or judged
Has someone invaded your privacy in the past? Or, have you been punished for being vulnerable or honest about your feelings? Finding the root of what is holding you back is a great step towards combatting it. And your journal is the perfect place to explore this.
Make sure your journal is private
Perhaps the reason you feel watched or like you can't journal honestly is because you're worried that someone will actually read your journal. To make sure that your journal is sceure, you can keep it in a secret place, get a journal with a lock and key or burn/shred your journal entries.
Got questions? Get in touch
If you have any questions about journaling - or any tips for journaling freely - we would love to hear them. Just reach out to email@example.com, or send us a message on Instagram.