Journaling is sacred. It’s one of my favorite things in the world to do, it’s one of the only things in the world I’ve spent literally my entire life doing. From the time I learned how to write I’ve been journaling, filling up pretty notebooks with dreams and musings and the details of my life. It’s something that’s always been a part of me, and it’s one of the only things now that’s able to ground me and calm me down when my emotions feel too difficult to process. Writing things down always helps me get to the source of any emotion or pain. It helps me understand what I’m going through, and often times I write things down that I didn’t even realize were happening in my head. Writing is my epiphany, it grounds me, it emboldens me. I feel like a truer version of myself after I get the stuff going on in my head down on paper.

For the past few months, journaling every morning has been the most important part of my routine. Each morning, I sit down and I fill three journal pages. This practice was brought to my attention by “Buy Yourself the Fucking Lilies” (if y’all haven’t realized that this book changed my life by now then I just don’t know what to tell you) and it’s become one of my favorite times of the day. When I do these morning pages, I don’t sit down with an agenda. I don’t plan what to write, I don’t even think too much about it. I just pick up my journal—you must have a specific journal for your morning pages, it makes the ritual of writing that much better—and a pen, I write the date at the top of the page, and I start writing. It usually only takes a few lines or so before I’m digging into whatever’s going on in my life, and it happens without me even meaning to do it. My journal is like a warm, welcoming space that makes me feel like whatever I have to say or whatever I feel or whatever I’m going through is okay. The best days are the days when you write something down that you truly didn’t even realize you were feeling, because those unexpected things tend to be the things you didn’t know about yourself but desperately needed to have brought to your attention. They’re the things you needed to know in order to heal. And journaling is the only way, for me, to find those things.

The magic of journaling is also that it helps you to find internal validation. Sometimes I think my emotions are unwarranted or overreactions, or I think that my trauma isn’t as bad as I think it is, or that my aspirations or silly, or the choices I’m making are wrong. By writing them down, seeing them on paper, like they’re tangible rather than just up in my head, changes how I see them. I am able to validate myself, and feeling that when I journal helps me be more confident in myself on a regular basis. I feel conviction in my emotions and my thoughts, and I feel more able to articulate what I think and feel to others. These are two things I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember, and having these daily journal sessions has changed that. Not completely, but it’s helped make major progress on the issue.

I love journaling because there’s no judgement there. It’s just a space for you to say whatever’s on your mind, the first thing that comes to mind. It’s a space to become, to expand, to dream, to be ridiculous, to be hopeful, to be sad, to be joyful. I think the most important thing about journaling, though, is that it teaches you that your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and experiences all matter. It’s not about waiting for someone else to validate or judge you, or needing to share pieces of yourself with someone else. It’s about sitting with yourself, and just letting yourself be. When you journal, you’re allowing yourself to exist. You’re telling yourself, I am valuable. It’s the small actions that build our self-worth. Journaling is an opportunity to take all those small things going on in your head that seem insignificant or unworthy or scary or embarrassing, and it highlights them in the most beautiful light. Journaling, for me, is a path to self-worth. It’s a small step, but it takes you to a whole other world, a world in which you’re able to live as your truest self. It’s also a simple act of self-care—taking a piece of the day and making it just about you and what you need to get off of your chest. It’s valuable, even though it may seem small or insignificant.

I truly think that one the best things I’ve ever done for myself is make journaling a daily practice. Having that habit sets the tone for my whole day—rather than carrying around any negative emotions or things I’m working through, or even positive things that I want to remember and talk about, inside of me all day, I get them down on paper first thing in the morning. I share them with myself. It’s honestly groundbreaking to carve out time in the day that’s about conversing with yourself. You learn so much about yourself, things about yourself you didn’t even realize there were to know. If there’s any first step to take, it’s this. And if you needed a sign to take the first step in building actual routines for self-care, this is also it. So go on. Take care of yourself. Build a life for yourself in which you are invaluable. Trust me, it’s worth it.

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