Essay Type: Expository
Written for: Writing (WRTG101) Class, UMUC
Recognizing and talking about your feelings and emotions helps you understand yourself. It helps to heal hurtful feelings and relieve anxiety. However, everything cannot be shared with everybody. A friend, no matter how trustworthy, may not be the best person to share with because there are risks of him or her being a gossipmonger. Perceptual bias, critical judgment, or non-availability of a friend makes the idea of sharing personal thoughts and experiences very uncomfortable. It is better to share your personal life experiences with a diary because it allows you the ease of a confidential expression, without judging you, and helps in emotional management and self-development.
A diary is an extended version of you; however, a friend is an outsider. You may not be comfortable enough to share certain feelings with a friend because the feelings may be too personal. For instance, you may be edgy about sharing the way you feel about marriage. But, you can always “tell” your diary that you need a partner to share life with. A friend’s knowledge, judgment, and experience also make it difficult to share feelings. It is helpful at times to get advice from a friend, but usually a person wishes to be heard rather than to be advised. A friend that preaches and judges poses a big barrier to communication because you may find yourself being ridiculed or criticized. A diary provides an ease of self-expression without the idea of somebody watching, commenting, or finding out. Also, you can understand the context in which you write in your diary about a certain emotion, but your friend might not. Your feelings of temporary dislike and aggression can be misinterpreted; by a friend, to be signs of hate or enmity.
Sometimes, personal stories and experiences imply confidentiality. The confidentiality of your feelings is safer in a diary as compared to being shared with a friend. You cannot tell whether a friend can keep a secret. Girls usually like to share critically personal instances of infatuation, family problems, or sexual encounters. A friend, for the sake of gossip, might manipulate your words and spread rumors behind your back. The negative publicity cannot be undone. However, a diary can be protected for confidentiality in a couple of ways. You can securely lock it in a drawer or closet, hide it in a personal vault, or somewhere nobody can reach. A genius idea is to write a diary on a computer where it could be password protected for advanced security. You can always choose to destroy a diary to erase all records of an incident completely. For example, a girl may write about suffering an account of sexual harassment to relieve guilt and anxiety. Later, she may destroy her diary to erase all records. A diary may fall into wrong hands but it is safer to be in control of your information in a diary, instead of leaving it to a friend.
A personal diary is readily available for your urgent emotional needs; whereas, you have to wait for a friend’s time and convenience before they are available for you to share your feelings. The need to share emotions or vent feelings is usually very urgent and impulsive. A friend may tell you that he or she does not have the time to listen to you immediately. A diary is a prompt catharsis that allows you to communicate urgent feelings like anger and excitement. This facilitates emotional management because, instead of publicly expressing emotional outbursts, you get an opportunity to reason with your thoughts in your diary. Of course, you need time to isolate yourself to write but, unlike a busy friend, your diary will not turn you away. Also, you are vulnerable to spill too much confidential information, in emotional excitement, to a friend.
Another very useful aspect of keeping a diary is that it maintains a written chronological record of one’s life. You can always turn back the pages to read about your past events and emotions. You can be creative and add photos and mementos in it. It gives you an idea about how you have grown emotionally with the passage of time. A friend might forget, move somewhere else, or die. Your diary would be an autobiographical account of your life. You can choose to give it to your children or a special family member to remember you. This way your legacy can be well preserved. Many people get their diaries published and make the bestseller lists. Of course, they edit the details according to their preferences, but each individual’s life story is a heroic tale of how they have lived it.
Writing a diary is creative, self-reflective, personal, and much safer; sharing with a friend is riskier, open to judgmental critique, and dependent upon the friend’s time and convenience. Friends are a great way to socialize and share common problems with, because they can be helpful in problem-solving and social support. But a person’s trustworthiness is always questionable. It is better to be secretive than to be misinterpreted and misquoted after having made an impulsive emotional disclosure. Life is a process of growing physically, psychologically and behaviorally. And, by the time you get to the end, you might want to have a thorough recall by taking a trip down the memory lane. Therefore, the deepest and most personal feelings and experiences are better off in a personal diary instead of being criticized by a friend.
Word Count: 904 words