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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Every Life Is a Story Worth Telling


Some people keep a journal or a diary as part of therapy or to help them overcome difficulties. You don't need to be going through a difficult time to make journaling a priority. Before we get into the benefits of journaling, let's chat. Does anyone know everything about you? Who knows more about you than you do? Of course, I already know the answers to those questions. No one knows everything there is to know about you. No one knows more about you that YOU do; you even know the deepest, darkest secrets. Allow yourself to become your best friend by journaling with yourself as often as possible. Think of your journaling time as a conversation with your oldest and dearest friend.
When you journal, share whatever is on your mind. This is your opportunity to talk about experiences, feelings, ideas, and nothing is off limits. If you choose to blog instead of journal, consider your audience, but if you are journaling for a private audience of one - there are no rules. Sometimes, just getting those conversations out of your head and into the real world can help you think more clearly. For example, I might think that it would be a good idea to install a swimming pool in the backyard. When I start writing down my ideas I begin to think about risk and I wonder if I should wait a few years until both children can swim? Until I can trust both children to follow instructions without such close supervision? By the time I finish jotting down my ideas, I've talked myself out of the pool and I haven't burdened anyone other than myself with a lengthy debate. With these types of 'conversations', I often include a list of pros and cons. I come across as being much more confident when having conversations with others, because I have rehearsed them with myself already. My ideas and plans come across as being better thought out. Your journal entry does not need to follow any specific structure. When you begin, journaling may look a lot like a list of ideas, or it may be as eloquent as French Poetry with verbs and adverbs, imagery, and grace.
If you set a goal to journal daily and you miss a day, don't let that stop you from going back to it. No one will be judging you; when you get back on track you can always fill in the pieces for your reader and yourself. Similarly, if you are interrupted mid-thought, just go back to it and if you've forgotten what you were writing, just jot that down too. Even if you're using a blog instead of a journal, your reader will understand. Life is filled with interruptions, set-backs, and minor bumps in the road. It happens - be forgiving of yourself and others will be just as forgiving. If you are blogging and are concerned about the forgiveness and/or comments of readers, most blogs offer you the opportunity to review posts/comments before they are published. Allow this to be your filter - approve the comments that are encouraging and positive and disregard the others (it's like advice in life - no matter how well intended, it is your prerogative on how it will be accepted).
Start journaling today. You don't need anything fancy and a few pieces of loose-leaf paper is just fine to start with (or the back of the cell phone bill). Just start - don't put it off until tomorrow. You'll find yourself well-prepared for conversations, better equipped to handle objections, and months/years from now, you'll re-read the stories and find that YOU are your new favorite author. Every life is a story worth telling. Who better to tell yours than you?
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