Monday, April 12, 2010

Successful journaling

A year ago, I got rid of my journals that I had written since I was 25. That was 20 years of journals. I kept them as a reminder of my personal progress. Sometimes I remember the past with nostalgia or being worse than it actually was. By keeping a written record of my feelings, I was able to go back to my diaries and know the truth. It also helped me realize that I had in fact progressed from an insecure and fearful young woman to a more serene, centered and self-confident older woman. So, why did I get rid of them? I used to journal when I wasn´t feeling so well, when there was emotional turmoil to sort out. During the happy times, I was content and did not feel the need to write.
Last year I took a big step – yet another – in my life, and while packing my books and clothes, I came across my journals and browsed through them. Imagining my father, my siblings, my ex-husband or my kids reading those emotionally charged entries was unfathomable. When I am gone, do I want any of them – especially my children – to know my deepest secrets, my strongest fears and my darkest moments of despair? No. They can read my published books, in which there are imprints of my struggles, but also my victories. They can watch my actions and learn from them that I have what it takes to be the best mom and the best person I am able to be. They can read the journal I keep just for them – in which I haven´t written for a while, but that is my message for them only.
I haven´t stopped journaling, but I have substituted the venting journal with my own “Success Diary”, in which I keep tabs of every success, large or small, and every single thing I am grateful for on a weekly basis. That, I will keep forever. It is, I believe, more productive for my kids to know for a fact that even in the most difficult moments I was able to focus on my strengths and not my weaknesses, to keep my eye on the horizon instead of the rear-view mirror.
That was, incidentally, how I came up with the Success Diaries blog.
Do you journal? Would you mind your children reading it when you are gone?


  1. Lorraine,
    It's too bad that your journals are gone. But, Mom is always right. Parenting is a rewarding experience. It's never hard work to raise children but there are challenges that must be met.

  2. Thank you for posting here, Matt!!!! That´s what the "comment" section is for. :)

  3. I agree but journals do not have to record only the dark depths of our being. True most of us rush to our "secret" journal to jot down our despair and tragedies, the daily tragedies of run-of-the-mill people, of those who do not have people to turn to... But I find now that keeping on paper our impressions of that important meeting, when it took place, what our thoughts were about the person, etc. might help some day avoid a distorted idea of what really happened. But right you are that it's good to let go of all that ballast we carry around, to surge up again in our balloon and see a better horizon... a more living life, free of sadness and tragedy. DCB

  4. Ah, but as you know, we tend to journal to sort things out ... I still do it sometimes, but then I tear it up. Why live lives of quiet desperation. Now, I cry it out with a friend, or think it out during my runs. Or, I tell my father, a great writer and lexicographer! Whaddya know! :)