One profoundly useful way to journal is to use the practice to change ourselves.

Presumably, most of us like ourselves well enough. Though many people experience true self-loathing at some point in their lives, for the most part we maintain a healthy respect for old Number One.

But even though the norm is a fairly comfortable relationship, it’s very common for an individual to sense distaste for the way he or she reacts in certain specific circumstances. Perhaps you don’t like how you freeze up when talking to your boss, or how you burn with envy when you see a beautiful woman, or how you are terrified of thunderstorms or spiders. In general, you think you’re okay, but in this one area you really want to change.

Such unwanted reactions are almost always left over from experiences we had in the past. We may have been children when those negative reactions were first created; we may have been adult, forming responses that seemed to protect us at the time but ended up feeling like an inner burden. The failure of a relationship, for example, can leave us with deep-seated fears that won’t allow us to continue growing and making use of all our capabilities. Thus we can find our lives shuttered in, walled off from opportunities and blessings that might otherwise be ours.

You can use journal writing therapy to counter such inner limitations. Both gently and powerfully, your journal can untie the knots and bring you incrementally to new heights of personal freedom.

Here’s a story that will illustrate this process. A young woman loves to sing – in the shower, only. She’s embarrassed to sing in front of others, because she’s convinced that her voice is terrible. At the suggestion of a friend, she dedicates one of her journals to musings on singing: what it means to her, her past experience with it, what she feels when she hears others sing, and anything and everything else she comes up with around the subject.

After several weeks of journaling, she is astonished to find herself humming while walking down the street. And then she hears herself singing along with the radio at work, even though there are others nearby. As she continues her immersion in the practice, she suddenly comes to the realization that she wants to invest in singing lessons.

All this does not happen overnight. It’s a few years before our young heroine is ready to party at a karaoke bar or join a choir. But her progress is sure and steady. There comes a day when she can’t remember why she was hesitant to sing out loud.

Journal writing moves us from constant self-critiquing to certain self-acceptance and unconditional self-love.  Through journaling over time (you’ll fill up lots of pages) you find ways to replace your idle chatterboxes with positive inner cheerleaders.


By Mari L. McCarthy – The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Journaling for the Health of It™.  Would you like to know more about how to use journaling to become all you can be? Please visit Mari’s blog at She has also recently published two new books: Who Are You? How to Use Journaling Therapy to Know and Grow Your Life; and Dark Chocolate for the Journaler’s Soul: 17 Personal Journaling Stories for Healing and Growth. Please visit for details. 
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