2020, the terrible year that it was, came with an ending that I can only describe as a beginning- a new chapter. I've started an intensive therapy schedule, been diagnosed with bipolar (to my not-so-but-kind-of surprise), and started medication. To be honest, I always thought that no matter how messed up I was, I would never end up in therapy. It always seemed rather ridiculous to me to talk to someone about your problems. I felt like I lost, and I felt a little ridiculous myself for deciding to do it. However, it has been done and I've been going for about three or four months now, even though it feels like forever.
They made me set goals for myself and what I wanted to get out of therapy. This made me feel even more ridiculous. One of the things we discussed is not being so hard on myself and being more empathetic towards myself. They suggested I keep a journal to help me work things out and try to understand myself in order to achieve this empathy. Skeptical was one word to describe how I felt about it. Of course, I had been inspired to write before based on my bouts of depression and what I now know is hypomania. But I had never really consistently kept a journal before. When I finally sat down to start one, I didn't really like the idea of just writing what happened every day and my feelings because I'm still a bit ambivalent about the whole thing. So I thought about what I really wanted. I wanted that compassion and empathy toward myself, but I also wanted to acknowledge my accomplishments (something I never do). And I knew exactly how to do it.
One thing to note before I explain what I decided to write is that I love to learn languages. I have been learning Korean for a while. Because of this, I knew the perfect word to help me name the journal and make it something other than a journal or diary. It being a diary is something that held me back because I felt like that was something for children. The Korean word 인정 (pronounced In-Jeong) came to mind. And so my 인정 journal was born. I will type up what I wrote on the first page of the simple Moleskin journal I acquired from the nearest Staples to explain what this is.
Welcome to my 인정 journal. The million-dollar question is probably "What the heck is an 인정 journal?" Well, I don't think this is actually "a thing," but I'm making it a thing for me. The word 인정 has various meanings as many words in other languages do, unlike English, where we have a plethora of words for one meaning. The most common meaning for the word's verb is acknowledgment, as in approval or recognition of something. You'll hear many Korean-speakers use it when someone says something about them and they acknowledge that it's true. And that's half of what I want to do with this journal. I want to acknowledge myself. The other half comes with another meaning of the word: humanity. 인 (In) regarding humans and 정 (Jeong) not having a suitable translation in English, but it regards something along the lines of love and attachment. Before self-love (which everyone makes their New Year's resolution and seems to want to focus on), I believe I have to show myself that humanity. A sort of self-acceptance, if you will. In other words, 인정 comes with compassion, forgiveness, sympathy, and warm-heartedness. Things I have extended to others, things traditionally extended to others, but have never practiced toward myself or practiced to one's self. Honestly, it all sounds pretty good, but I'm just hoping to write in it consistently enough for it to actually go somewhere and do something for me.
And with that first page of the journal, you can see what I'm aiming for. I hope that other people can also make their own version and really do something great for themselves this year.