You’ve probably heard the saying, “the truth will set you free,” but did you ever wonder why? Or how? If you’ve read my first book, Truth Heals, you already have a pretty good idea.
Whenever life gets too tough, too threatening – when we experience an emotional or physical trauma of some kind – we may feel we “can’t handle the truth” and so we try to deny it. We send the truth – the facts about what is happening, as well as what we think and feel about it – underground, burying it deep inside us, where we think we don’t have to deal with it. Then we might distract ourselves with something less scary, or even overwrite the facts with lies that are easier to cope with.
Well, if you’ve read Truth Heals, you also know that this “out of sight, out of mind,” deny-and-dissociate strategy doesn’t work, at least not for long. That’s because the truth is a mighty force, a powerful energy that is and always will be. Like everything else in our universe, it exists in physical reality even if we can’t see it with our eyes. Therefore, it can’t just be wished away, any more than gravity can. Dealing with the truth in a healthy way requires processing it. The energy needs to be moved out of the body and released.
If this doesn’t happen – if the truth about what happened to us and what we think and feel about it is not acknowledged and spoken by the conscious mind – it will eventually pop back up, like a beach ball under water, grabbing our attention in some unpredictable ways. Emotional pain, abusive relationships, financial problems, accidents, health scares and conditions, stress symptoms of all kinds – under almost any disturbance is a truth waiting to be set free.
I discovered this reality when, at age 25, I wound up with cancer. I’d already had plenty of other warning signs and wake-up calls – drug and alcohol addictions, promiscuity, an eating disorder – but I didn’t pay heed. Cancer finally got my attention. When it did, I sincerely wanted to heal.
To my surprise, one of the simplest tools I found in my search for healing – writing in a personal journal – turned out to be one of the most powerful. Journal writing gave voice (expression and movement) to my truth of an extremely traumatic childhood wrought with sexual and emotional abuse. Journaling gave the benefit of processing out that old toxic energy that was stored inside me and had been wreaking such havoc on my life. Giving voice to it ultimately led me to becoming cancer free, addiction free, and to letting go of all the other lies I had been living.
We all have truths buried inside. Too often in childhood we are taught by our parents or society that feelings are bad and shouldn’t be felt, let alone expressed. Stuffing our emotions is the cultural norm. Yet in order to have a fulfilling life, complete with healthy relationships, we have to have our feelings. We have to experience them and then let them go. In essence, to be truly healthy and happy, we have to live in truth. Journal writing can help us do that.
There aren’t many rules to follow to gain the benefits of writing in a personal daily journal. Here are a few guidelines for getting the most out of it:
- Do it daily. Like brushing your teeth, create a habit that helps to ensure good emotional hygiene.
- Use pencil and paper OR keyboard and computer. They are both equally effective. The desired stream of consciousness can come about merely by using your hands to communicate.
- Be honest. Practice rigorous honesty about your feelings, no matter how petty, jealous, hateful, or anything else they may sound. It’s time to honor your feelings and this is the place to do it. Don’t hold anything back.
- Don’t edit, spell-check, or judge your writing. That’s not the exercise here. This isn’t school and you’re not being graded. We’re doing something far more important for your well-being and that requires letting the thoughts and feelings flow – uninterrupted.
- Keep your journal safe. This means keeping it in a safe place where no one else will see it. To be uninhibited in your journal writing, you need to know that it won’t be subject to scrutiny by others.
- Share only if you want to. If there is a trusted loved one with whom you want to share your writing, by all means do it. Having another person hear your truth and then give you unconditional acceptance will further your processing the energy out.
- Be committed to the truth. Use your journal as a self-healing tool for your personal growth, self-improvement, emotional health, and physical well-being. Remember, the truth will set you free!
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