Journaling Practice: Discovering The One Thing AI Can’t Take Away

Journaling Practice: Discovering The One Thing AI Can’t Take Away

Cover of Goodbye, Perfect by Homaira Kabir

Goodbye, Perfect – The Book

A science-backed and soulful journey to embrace your authentic expression and build the confidence to live an empowered and purpose-driven life.

Discover the transformative power of journaling practice. Explore how reflection and wisdom can guide you through life's challenges and uncertainties.

I’m a very in-my-head kind of person. I mentally replay scenarios all the time, not to scare or beat up on myself. But to try and understand them better, wringing every element out of them until they have nothing left to offer.

I’ve been like this all my life. As a kid, I remember my English teacher telling me I was “an old soul” and my mom constantly alluding to my “happy-go-lucky” cousin. Or reminding me that my thinking face looked like a scowl, and it’ll become wrinkled before its time.

And so I began to wish I weren’t so in my head. I would see people move from one moment to the next as though they never lived the previous moment at all. And I would dream of that lightness of being, of that carefreeness of having said or done something and left it at that.

As I’ve become older, I’ve started to own this part of myself for two reasons. One, it’s because with age, you come to care less and less about what other people think. You’re done hating, rejecting, and apologizing for parts of yourself others don’t like, and twisting yourself like a pretzel to fit into norms and expectations that never took your joy into consideration.

It’s also because I find that in this world of incessant external noise, my musings and reflections are the one thing that keep me true to myself. I am aware of what worked or not, and I also connect to the feelings I had in those situations.

I get to ask myself what those feelings were trying to tell me.

I get to question the lessons I learnt growing up and the stories that I believe to be true in all circumstances. Because stories are meant to be challenged and rules are meant to be broken. But I find that many of us who do so are simply rebelling against the old stories because they don’t sit well with us any longer.

The opposite of a false story doesn’t make a true story. The truth is always far more nuanced, and MY truth can only come from me, just like YOUR truth can only come from you.

Just a couple of hours ago, two men came from Ikea for a pickup on an item that I wanted to return. The delivery and pickup people I often see are young, with the energy and hunger of big dreams and expectations of life. These two men were different. They were older, yes. But their faces had a different look. The eagerness wasn’t for more advancement, but more connection.

I’ve seen that look before and often thought about it. I believe it comes from the whiplash of life and the innate desire to be seen by another. I wanted to invite them in, offer them a warm drink, and talk to them about their lives. But I knew it wasn’t wise or practical to do so. They had work to do and pickups and deliveries to fulfill. Besides…

Didn’t we all learn to be wary of strangers growing up?

There’s certainly truth in that lesson. But it’s not the whole truth. We can always make people feel seen. It is our responsibility to do so. This work may be the most important and fulfilling task we have been given.

So I did what I could. I looked them in the eye, asked them about the weather outside, and joked about the package being heavy. Laughter is such an instant connector. I then gave them a nice tip to “get something small for your family” and hearing their happy voices recede in the building corridor as they left, I couldn’t help smiling to myself.

I’ll tell my daughter about this moment when she comes home from school, just as I’m telling you about it, because our reflections and lessons are the wisdom we offer others. In his new book Learning to Love Midlife, author Chip Conley says that in a world being taken over by AI, this wisdom may be the greatest and most irreplaceable value we bring to our homes and workplaces.

He propose journaling practice as an act of reflection

He suggests keeping a “wisdom journal” for this reflection. Once a week reflect on the experiences you had and what you learnt from them. Journaling is wonderful, and research has shown that the journaling practice on our emotions helps us make sense of them and let go of negative rumination.

I believe that journaling practice can move us from the realm of emotions to that of the soul. It helps us make sense of our lives, and stay true to ourselves by connecting to our voice.

So I invite you to begin a journaling practice of a daily, weekly, or quarterly review of your experiences. There is no right or wrong way of doing this. But there are a few questions that can guide you:

  • How did that situation make me / others feel?
  • What does that point to / remind me of / teach me about life?
  • Are there changes I can make to how I show up or what I pursue?
  • Can this be of value to someone I know?

Keep listening to your soul with curiosity. Courageously tweak how you show up, so your life is a gift to the world.

A version of this article originally appeared on Psychology Today.

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Homaira Kabir

Homaira Kabir

Written by mentor, author and founder of the Goodbye Perfect Project, Homaira Kabir. Homaira Kabir holds Master’s degrees in Coaching Psychology and in Positive Psychology – the science of human flourishing and wellbeing – from the University of East London. She has just published her latest book ‘Goodbye Perfect: How To Stop Pleasing, Proving and Pushing For Others… and Live For Yourself

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