“Writing Gave Me Perspective,” Ensign, Mar. 1985, 15
While I hope that someday my journal will be of value to my posterity, one of my primary purposes in keeping my journal is to help me.
As a full-time wife and mother of four young children, I find that my work rewards are very subtle and can be easily dismissed or overlooked altogether. Recognition is rare and salary increases are nonexistent. I often feel inadequate. These feelings sometimes overshadow my strengths and cause me to doubt myself as a worthwhile person. My journal helps me combat these feelings.
In my journal, I write the small successes and triumphs that I would be hesitant or embarrassed to share with someone else. These “victories”—the elation I felt when our daughter learned to read after so much work for her, for example—serve as a partial measure of my growth as a mother and a woman.
I also include my disappointments and failures. Writing of my hurt over something a child said actually lessens my feelings of discouragement by placing the remark in the proper light. With the perspective gained by a few hours, some experiences even become funny and I can laugh at myself.
I record my hopes and dreams that are still too private or too fragile to voice out loud. I include special acts of kindness by friends and family, and phrases and ideas from sacrament meeting talks, Sunday School and Relief Society lessons, and talks given by General Authorities that especially touched me.
Despite my efforts to thwart it, depression does sometimes come. Recognizing this attitude, I turn to my journal to find similar times in my life. Inevitably, these passages are followed by entries describing a “lifting of the cloud.” Remembering that the depression is temporary helps me deal with it.
Writing in my journal at the end of the day causes me to examine and evaluate what has happened. During the day, I often miss the significance of some important events. This is also a time for introspection and personal revelation. If I am upset about something that happened or concerned over how I handled a certain problem, this is a quiet time to see how I might have been more effective or more compassionate.
Keeping a journal does not change my day’s events; it does, however, combined with prayer, help me better understand and deal with my feelings about those events. Acknowledging these feelings allows me to more fully accept myself, with all my strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps this acceptance of self is the greatest benefit of all for me in keeping a journal. Jane McBride Choate, Loveland, Colorado