Monday, 11 April 2011

Journal Writing Prompt 17

Keeping a honest journal takes time and effort. I'm not talking about honesty in terms of facts, what you did, what you ate, wore etc. I am talking about honesty of feelings.

How did you feel when various things happened to you? What about feelings you don't want to admit? What if you got so mad at someone you know you really wanted to hurt them? Or perhaps you felt attracted to someone you shouldn't be feeling attracted to? Or maybe you are ashamed of something you have done.

Do you admit those feelings? Sometimes, we don't do it, because writing them would be admitting and acknowledging them. At other times, we don't do it, because we are not aware of it.

Avoidance is easy. Acknowledgement takes an effort.

So today I want you to acknowledge and accept one negative feeling. Pick one negative emotion. Whether it's anger, shame, pain, greed, jealousy....whatever you want.

Pick an emotion and write a letter to it.

Yes...I am talking about ....Dear Anger...

Then free write. Set a timer for minimum 10 minutes, longer if you feel up to it. Start writing. Don't worry about what you are writing. Don't worry about words or grammar or reptitions. Just write.

When you finish the letter, sign it. Seal it in an envelope.

Put that envelope away.

Give it a few days, or even few weeks, depending on how strongly whatever your wrote effected you.

Make a note in your calender, set a reminder in your PC, in your Blackberry...whatever you use. Make sure. Do it.

Set a date. And on that date, open that letter, read it, and journal about it.

Writing the letter was admission of your feelings.

Reading it, and journaling about how you feel as you read it, is acknowledgement of those feelings.


  1. Sounds like an interesting technique!
    I assume, you've already tried it. What were/are your exeriences with it?

  2. Love this idea, Dolly. Our journals are the perfect place to own up to our emotions and feelings without feeling threatened or demeaned by them. We can learn a lot about our emotions by giving them place and validation.

    Great #JournalChat link!

    Be refreshed,

  3. I think I've written about my feelings in my daily journaling pretty honestly over the years. There are, however, a couple of areas I know I haven't yet exposed or explored. I haven't had the courage yet. I'm making note of this prompt... but I'm not promising to tackle it anytime soon!

  4. Sue,

    It doesn't matter when you do it. We are not always ready to tackle all issues at the same time. It's best to take time and do this when you feel ready anyway, rather than force it. Best of luck.

  5. Hey Dolly,

    I just found that letter your talking about. I wrote it back in 2006. Its a heated letter about my father.. Its tough to read. Only three months ago I would have said Nothing has changed. But I have hope that God will help him and our relationship will change. I have to believe it.
    Anyways, after I read it, I tucked it back in the drawer. I would encourage any and all journalers to write those letters. Just NEVER send them. Writing them is the point. Sending them is not.

  6. Is the point of this exercise to write a letter to our emotions or to a person that those emotions are directed at. I am asking because I am going through a very rough time right now trying to deal with a break up in which we have been together for 5 years and haven't went one day without taking to him in the last 9 years and now he wants no contact at all. This is hard for me due to the fact that it is completely out of the blue. So I want to try this but not sure if I should be directing the letter to an emotion or him. Ideas? maybe both?

  7. Anonymous,

    The point of this particular exercise is to direct the letter at emotion. The reasoning behind this is sometimes people feel too full of particular emotion - rage, depression etc. but not necessarily know why. It could simply be lack of awareness, or it could actually be avoidance. Directing a letter to emotion gives you chance to explore why you feel so much anger, sadness etc.

    However, if you know why you feel the way you do (in your case partner), then yes, I would suggest do both.

    Address a letter to your partner (DO NOT SEND IT). Give it a few days, and then write letter(s) to your various emotions. Doing it two different ways might give you more insight.

    All my best wishes

  8. Karin,

    If it is done honestly, this exercise will be useful.

  9. Amy,

    You are absolutely correct. Writing is important - DEFINITELY NOT SENDING. This is supposed to be an uncensored, honest exercise. And if it's meant to be send, then some of that absolute truth will automatically go out of it.