Lessons in Hindsight Journaling and Realizing How Much You Have Grown

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

As I mentioned in my last post, I found an old diary last weekend and couldn’t resist the urge to take a stroll down memory lane.

What I failed to mention in the post was this wasn’t my only diary. I have a whole box of them.

I have been writing either a journal or diary for many years. Sometimes it takes the form of a journal where I write down my feelings at random times or a calendar diary where I write a short account of what I have been doing and feeling each day.

Here are a few lessons I’ve learnt from keeping a diary.

You are tougher than you think

Over the years, volumes of my journals and diaries have been dedicated to writing about the men in my life.

In one journal, I recount how I couldn’t possibly cope without my ex-boyfriend. I thought I couldn’t live without him.

Now I barely remember him.

When I first read through these particular journal entries (I’m slightly embarrassed to admit there was more than one along these lines) I cringed to myself at how needy and insecure I was.

Years later, when I glanced through them, I laughed out loud at the absurdity and drama of it all.

Journals can be a reminder of how strong and resilient you are.

If you have an old diary, take the time to flick back through the pages to see how you overcame a particular setback. We often find a situation wasn’t as bad as first anticipated. Use the knowledge and experience you acquired when next faced with a problem.

Related postKnow Your Own Strength

Make yourself happy

In all of the volumes written about my various boyfriends, you might be wondering where I factored into the equation? The truth is I probably didn’t factor in as much as I should have.

I was often too busy trying to make my partner happy that I failed to register if I was happy myself.

In relationships, I used to be the ‘fixer’. No matter how broken a relationship was I would set about trying to fix it, when in fact I should have walked away. I should have been running in a few instances.

Unfortunately, I probably made a few of my partners miserable with this fixer approach as well. It wasn’t just me who suffered.

I have a completely different take on this now. I don’t try to fix things. I focus on my own happiness instead of trying to keep everyone else happy and work from there. I accept that some relationships should not be fixed or forced.

Related postAsk For What You Want in a Partner

Don’t seek out drama

I am the first to admit I used to be a bit of a drama queen when I was younger. I think it was a combination of  insecurity, a need for excitement and plain old immaturity.

Journaling and keeping a diary can help you recognise destructive patterns in your behaviour. Sometimes we can’t see our bad habits or actions without looking at the big picture.

Once you are aware of what you’re doing, you can choose to do something about changing your behaviour.

Related postAre You Creating Drama in Your Life?

Life is about choices

Life is all about the choices we make. Choices have consequences good and bad. Some choices have little or no consequences, while others can stay with us forever.

The more you see your choices (and the consequences of them) documented, the more they start to sink in and the more you begin to question how and why that choice came about.

Thoughts rattling around in our heads don’t always take hold.  Words written down or said out loud can have immense power.  This is a component of working with a coach.  Often a coach will have you express your feelings out loud to truly get the point across.

Related postYou have Choices

Friendship is important

A recurring theme throughout my life is the constant support of my wonderful friends. They have helped and supported me during some testing times. In turn my friends have leaned on me as well.

Naturally they have been there for the fun times as well and thankfully there have been plenty of those!

People talk a lot about the importance of family and yes without a doubt family are important.

Friends however should never be taken for granted or their importance overlooked. Often they will be there for you when family won’t.

You’ve come a long way baby

Reading through my old diaries reminds me just how far I’ve come and how much I have grown.

As a self-development tool, the benefits of keeping a diary should not be underestimated. If you have some old diaries have a look through them.

Don’t be afraid to face your past head on and recognise how far you have come. Don’t be scared to acknowledge that you still have some work ahead of you.

I realize in a high-tech world with so much of our lives documented online, traditional hard copy diaries and journals are considered old-fashioned.

Yet sometimes having a private place to express ourselves freely and without judgement from others (and ourselves for that matter) is just want we need to remember, reflect and revitalize.

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