When I was a young girl, I was given my very first diary. It was a pretty pink square book with a gold clasp and a key lock. I thought it was the most wonderful gift ever! I could write my owns thoughts about my day to day feelings and events and I knew nobody could read it. I carried the key on a string around my neck. This was the key to my “self” and my heart.
Years later, I kept a journal, (this was the new age word for diary), and my journals were sprawled out over notebooks and notepads and in school binders and kept in my end table or under my bed. I no longer needed my little pink diary, after all, that was for the little girl in me, and now I was a grown woman, (all of 14). My writings were no longer on a daily basis. I was doing good to write once a week, and then sometimes only twice a month. School, my first job, activities and a social life, all made it impossible to remember to write in my journal on a daily basis. However, as the years of my life unfolded, I realized something wonderful in my journal entries. They were telling stories about my youth and my development. Although some entries were brief and non-eventful, it marked moments in my life that helped me see where I was back then.
Journals are amazing books, they teach and reveal so much about who we are, our personal growth and yet they are not written for anyone but ourselves. It is sort of like a catalog of your life. Your first look into your teen years, or what it felt like to have a crush on a boy that didn’t even know you existed. Or maybe it was an entry into how you and your family were getting along, or the troubles and struggles you were going through. Maybe it depicted the relationship between you and another sibling, a friend or a parent. Even an entry about doing nothing on an ordinary day. Journals are like a looking glass into ourselves.
I would encourage everyone to keep a journal and jot down your feelings, or views on your life, and your situation at the time. You would be surprised in the power of your own words. I looked back and re-read my writings about a day I spent with my mother driving to the ocean and getting an ice cream cone. Talking and driving along the beautiful California coastline. It was a beautiful memory, and when she passed away, I often read my journal to comfort my sadness and loss. When I got divorced I read how angry and disappointed I was in my ex for not helping out financially, at all. Years later, I read how I finally came to terms with letting go of my anger and resentment and I forgave him, even though, that was a very hard thing to do.
In my journal I learned why it was important to move forward through the bitterness and anger and grow into a healthier human being with forgiveness and faith.
Article by Laurie Cesario-Overton