For a while now I have been listening to various people talk about various stuff psyche related, and I have heard a few times now writing a diary is one of the best things to do. I never understood why until today.
I have tried writing diaries in the past but usually abandoned the idea within a few days. As much as I love writing, handwriting annoys me, I find it too slow, my thoughts are a few words ahead of what my hand can write in the same time and I feel frustrated.
Also, I have always found writing bits about my daily life boring. Until today.
Spurred on by all these people’s recommendation to start writing a diary, I decided to try again a few days ago. I gave it some thought first, thinking how to write it, trying to decide the best visual for me (I am all about visual/sounds these days), get the right quality paper and pen to make it as painless as possible and launched myself.
They say it’s best to write it in the morning, and I thought I would write mine in the evenings instead. I am rarely focused enough in the mornings to think clearly. I also didn’t see the point writing before the day had happened – what would I write about?
So, with a few ideas under my belt how to write the damn thing, I started this new task a few days ago.
One of the first things I noticed was how difficult it felt finding the time. I always felt I had something better to do than sit down and write about my day. It’s funny really, what could be more important than me? I now realise. How precious it is to have time just for yourself with yourself. So I decided to apply only one constraint: write daily, evening or morning, which ever feels right. That really made a difference. Now writing my diary doesn’t feel a chore and is developing into something so much more than I had expected:
As I write about each day (whether the same evening or the following morning), I ponder about feelings, thoughts, situations, events that have occurred. I highlight the important thought or realisation of the day (with highlighter pen).
I push myself to reflect on every aspect of the day, I was going to write the positive and the negative but those concepts don’t apply when I write about me, everything is a learned or learning experience and so cannot be negative or positive. What I lay down on paper just is. It makes me realise how much of life just is.
I am also discovering what my life really is through this diary. It’s funny isn’t it, you spend every woken moment living your life but rarely stop and look what your life really is. When I jot down a particular aspect of the day (I use bullet points), I do it quite impersonally – eg such and such happened. And then I reflect on it – adding notes below the bullet point if necessary.
When I look back at the bullet points of the day, I realise quite how rich life is. Or can be if you stopped and paused to look at it. A diary enables you to do that, another benefit I hadn’t expected.
As I reflect on each point as I write them, I discover so much about myself. I learn what makes me happy, what upsets me, all kind of emotions come through and seeing them there, black (or red – depending on the pen at hand when I get started) on white, gives me a great tool to understand myself better and thus now properly start on this self-actualization business. It gives me food about myself, my strengths and failings, and I now have something concrete to work on.
I have been listening to others talk about various subjects for a while now and recently started to suffer from mental fatigue. My mind started to shut down and not want “noise” anymore, I would fall asleep early evening within minutes of putting on a new talk to listen to for instance and started not to want to listen to talks during my dog walkies, sometimes even preferring silence to music. So I decided to take a break for a couple of days. I now realise why this happened: I was missing a part of the puzzle.
It’s all well and good learning new stuff about human behaviour every day but if you can’t apply it to yourself, it’s wasted.
I found the missing piece: writing this diary.
Then you can start to relate what you have learned to your Self through introspection. Perfect tool and great platform to launch you on to being your best self. Which is really what this journey I have undertaken is about.