I remember the day I picked it up, I hadn’t seen it in five years. I stared at it for a few minutes; butterflies uncontrollable in my stomach. I opened it to a page I had scribbled on in 2006 and I was shocked by what I read.
I’d always thought I had a good sense of identity and understanding of who I was. Through my early teens, I saw myself as a good looking, ambitious, strong-willed woman, but what I read in my diary completely shocked me… to my core. I was none of those things I had thought that I was. Had I really been kidding myself for this long? The answer is YES, and there’s a chance that you may have done the same thing, or could be doing it right now.
What I am referring to is my shady sense of self-worth, self-confidence, and my mixed bag of morals which seemingly went undisguised until I picked up my diary in my early thirties. Don’t get me wrong said diary holds a lot of great memories, secrets, and hilarious stories, but there’s a sinister undertone of self-sabotage that I thought was “normal” for all of these years.
How did I pick up on this you ask? Where were the hints hiding in all of these pages?
Well, lines like ‘Cameron (name has been changed) cheated on me again, I think this time it hurt more’. I’d find ways to justify other peoples actions as well as my own actions, I’d dust it off that guys cheating on me were normal. I fell in love very easily with more than one boy at a time wanting it to lead to my fairytale happy ending.
I would make the same mistake… Constantly. The environment I was in was conducive of this and yes it seemed that boys cheating on girls and girls cheating on boys, girls throwing glass ashtrays at boys heads and getting into a random dude’s van, whose name was Manic, was normal, (mind you this guy was probably the real inventor of Uber in the early 2000s). As luck would have it hindsight can be a beautiful thing, and we can use it as a tool to progress ourselves further than we think.
So what does this mean for you?
Journalling can be great to look back and to recalibrate.
It’s also great to be completely cringed by things you’ve done in your past because you now know what not to do and what you don’t want moving forward
It’s a great insight into who you were and a great indicator of how far you’ve come
It’s a great way to get to know yourself better because you can’t lie or trick yourself based on your past (something which we all inherently do)
It’s a great way to record how you deal with things.
As we get older and we move to iterate and get better as people it seems we seldom move further away from who we once were. Keeping a diary can be a great tool for the relationship we have with ourselves, self-reflection and accountability especially if you’re like me and need to call yourself out on your own bullsh*t to a) become humbled b) to realise it’s okay to make mistakes (even the same one countless times). If you’re open to exposing your inner vulnerabilities and ‘weaknesses’ this can be an extremely freeing process, as Joseph Deitch states in his book Elevate, “Knowing the truth about ourselves can be extremely liberating”.
And that my friends is the moral of the story, don’t be ashamed of the person you once were, embrace your ‘flaws’ and weaknesses, because this is where the magic happens, this is where the strength lies, and this is the pivotal moment we all need to set ourselves free. Use your new wisdom to empower yourself to become the person you want, the choice is yours.
Originally published on Medium