Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Remember your smiles, not just tears

One of my best friends mentioned that she writes in her diary whenever something bad happens. So when she reads her diary, it makes her cry. I also used to record mostly negative things in my earlier journals. It is only natural of course to turn to one's most trusted confidant when things go wrong. When you feel like no one in the world understands you, and all the whirling thoughts in your mind will drive you crazy if you don't get them out somehow, your personal journal/diary is a natural choice. It is a good choice. It gets the words out. It could even be therapeutic. And it's good. But what we must remember that our life - hopefully - does not consist only of those bad moments. There are good days, ordinary days that we don't bother to record because we are of course busy living our life to remember about the poor, miserable journal. While I wouldn't dream of telling people how often they should write in their diary, I do think that we should try to write at least as many entries on good days, as we do on bad days. When I read my earlier journals, it's depressing. But I remember that my life wasn't that bad, and I regret now that I didn't record happier memories that I could revisit. So now, I make conscious effor to record happy stuff, or even everyday stuff. So when I look at my current journals, I might have a more balanced view of my life. I will admit, I am not there yet. My journals tend to obsess about the things I am obsessing about at any given point in time, BUT I am at least aware of it, and I am making an effort. If you are going to re-read your journals then you should take a moment to think about what you want to see in them. Do you want to read about life as it truly is? Do you want to revisit just the horrible things that happen to you? Do you want to read just happy stuff? Personally, I go for the first. Memory is unreliable at the best of time, so having those memories stored on the pages of my journals is as close to a true narrative of my life as I can get. Of course when you are having a bad day, you are not going to think about writing happy things. So do this little thing - go stick a post-it to your journal with a note "write happy things". So when you are happy, perhaps that will encourage you to jot down few words.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Journaling with Honesty

Everyone knows that journals/diaries are private. Everyone knows – even if they put the conscious aside – that no one should read someone else’s private journal without permission. We have this social courtesy embedded in us because we believe that private journals include a person’s most innermost thoughts and secrets. But the question is, how much of a person’s true self is placed in their journals? This question doesn’t require an answer so much as reflection. I have been thinking about this quite a lot recently. I know for a fact that my earlier journals were more of a recording of day-to-day events, and outbursts of feelings, usually negative. But just writing about how you love someone, or hate someone, or are upset with someone, doesn’t mean you are sharing your self in those pages. Unconsciously, I censored what I wrote. Not in everything, but in great many things. I realise that now when I look back. Something that seemed either too horrible to write, or something that made me feel guilty for thinking it, I didn’t write it. Writing down those things would be an admission that one thought those things. But if not written, then it would be forgotten. Lately, since I started making more conscious effort to search for self through journaling, I have begun to change it. If my journals are to be a place for my private thoughts, then they must have all of me – good and the bad. If I am to go deeper in my own mind, attempting to unravel the puzzle of my own personality, then I must understand all aspects of my personality. It has been a gradual progress, but I am getting there. As soon as I question whether I should write something down, I do. If it makes me hesitate whether it should be in my journals, then it should. I have come to believe that no matter what your reasons are for keeping a journal, unless you do it with complete honesty, it defeats the purpose. If you keep it for yourself, for memories, for therapy – what good are those things if they don’t show you the truth? If you keep it as a legacy to your descendants – it would be travesty to give them an incomplete picture, because by doing so you are creating a fake history. By doing so you are lying not only to yourself, but to the future. What is your opinion? How honest are you in your journals?