Conversations with myself: Journaling – what’s your story?

Coloured pencils writing

I am not really into writing journals – I’ve tried many times but always end up getting bored or running out of things to write and end up abandoning my writing as soon as it begins.

I found this piece on journal writing somewhere and thought you might find it useful for your own journal writing. I have adapted this from the original article extracting the information I thought was useful/good to know so I am not the original writer of this piece. The writer shall remain anonymous for now as I cannot remember who wrote it nor where I actually found this piece.

Journal Writing – What is your story?
Journal writing – the process of putting your thoughts down on paper and reflecting on them – is an easy, therapeutic way to explore life’s big questions and begin a constructive dialogue with yourself.

Personal Development
Have you ever made a map of your life? If not, try it:

Take a large sheet of paper and, starting with your birth, record the key events, the significant people, the major challenges and the high points of your journey so far. You can draw it any way you like; as a spiral, or the branches of a tree, or a series of bubbles linked together.

The idea is to put down what you remember, leaving space to fill in the gaps as other memories surface. What emerges in front of you is a picture of the path you have walked, the people who have travelled with you, the choices you have made and the curve balls life has thrown at you.

• What do you think of this story?
• Do you like the way it is developing, or would you prefer to change direction?
• What chapters still need to be written?
• How would you like the story to end?
• Which characters are uplifting and interesting?
• Which ones are draining and difficult?

Is this story full of angst and drama, or is it mostly safe and quiet?

Every woman or man has a story. Whether yours is happy or sad (probably a bit of both) acknowledge it, just as it is, for what it has taught you and where it has taken you. But acknowledge, too, that you are the author of the story.

Even though events may have shaped you into what you are today, you have the power to choose what influences you from this moment on. You may have a blockbuster of a story, but it need not control you or define you. The real you is the awareness behind your experiences; the real you can observe and decide what you want to focus on.

Most women and men see the world from inside their own particular story. They don’t appreciate that other people have had a different set of experiences that have shaped them in other ways. The trouble with only seeing your own point of view is that every situation, conversation or conflict is run through the filter of your past conditioning, leading you to react out of your history rather than being able to respond appropriately in the moment.

That is why reviewing your life is so important. It’s not that you want to wallow in the past; rather, you want to see what parts of the past need to be dropped, resolved or healed, so that you can have all your resources fully available to you in the present.

Questions to work with:
• If your life story was a novel, what would the title be, and what would some of the main chapter headings be?
• Where in your life do you have a ‘poor me’ story? How much does this story define you?
• What is the payoff for holding on to this story? Perhaps you get attention; perhaps it gives you an excuse for not moving on.
• What or who would you be without this story? What would change?
• What are the best things that have happened in your life, and who should you thank?
• Who do you need to forgive, and who should you ask forgiveness from?

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