When I was growing up I had those little diaries with the locks on them, so that no one could read my journal. Then, when I was a teenager I journaled in regular notebooks, and I remember being absolutely devastated when my mother informed me she’d found my journal and read it. There were things in that journal that no one else should ever had read. It was never my intention to share my journals with anyone.
The next time the issue of journal sharing came up, my new husband wanted to read my journals. His reasoning was that since we hadn’t really known each other all that long, he should read my journals so he could get to know me better. I burned them rather than share.
Now, there are journaling groups on Facebook that I belong to where the whole point of the community is to share your journal with the group. Whether it’s one or two entries, or spreads as in the bullet journal groups, or journaling challenges, if you’re a part of the group you’re expected to share your journal entries.
Should you share your journal? There are both benefits and drawbacks to it. In the end, I think it all comes down to personal preferences, but here are a couple of things to be aware of whichever way you decide to go.
Reasons to Share #1 –
You may find emotional support when you need it
When you share you share your journal, you may find that you get more emotional support from others. This is especially true if you are sharing your journal online and in social media groups of others like you.
For example, if you are sharing your journal entries regarding your life as a writer struggling to finish your book, you may find others like you. These other people will read your journal and reach out letting you know that they are going through the same thing. This eventually forms a support system that spans out and gives you what you need emotionally on the harder days.
Reasons to Share #2 –
You may open yourself up to new perspectives
If you are journaling because you are trying to work through issues in your life, you may be finding it hard to come up with new solutions to the issues. You may be so close to the situation that you can't move away enough to figure out how to handle it.
By sharing your journal entry, you may find that people have ideas you have not thought about or ways of handling the situation that will work for you because they worked for someone else. These new perspectives will help you deal with your issues in a much more objective manner than if you were to just stew in your old thought patterns.
As you can see, there are positive reasons to share your journal with a friend or in a group. But, there are also reasons not to share.
Reasons not to share #1 –
You open yourself up to negative feedback
If you’re sharing your journal on social media, you definitely have to be aware of the “negative nellies” that abound in every group. The truth is, negative reactions are a fact of life.
Most of the time your journal entries will likely be about issues in your life. You may be upset about those issues and some negative people will feed on that and can make you even more upset.
If you’re not able to deal with any negative feedback on the issue, then it’s probably a good idea to not share it. It’s always your choice, and you can share or not share as you see fit.
Reasons not to share #2 –
You open yourself up to negative exposure
Negative exposure is not the same as negative feedback. Negative exposure happens when you share something in a group or as a private post, and then find out someone else has shared your post outside of your ‘safe space’. This is a huge privacy issue, and one which affects many people.
The best rule of thumb here is to not share any journal entry you’re not comfortable with the whole world seeing. Because truthfully, once it’s on social media you have very little control over where your content ends up.
Whether or not you share your journal is an intensely personal decision. If you are comfortable with sharing, then do that. If you’re an intensely private person, you may not want toyou’re your thoughts and journal writings out there for public consumption. The pros and cons raised here are just to start you thinking about what to do if, and when, you decide you might want to share your journal.