Friday, April 14, 2017

Journaling: L = Love

Love: for self and others.

Let's first discuss how to show love to self.

If you are a perfectionist like myself... self-love is a difficult concept. We are constantly finding areas in which we fall short of the mark, rather than rejoicing in our victories.

Perfectionism dictates we use complete sentences with proper English grammar. Perfectionism causes us to pay more attention to punctuation than content. Perfectionism is deadly.

The antidote to perfectionism is Grace. We must learn to treat ourselves, our thoughts, and our fragile emotions with compassion and care. 

Misspell a word? So what! Cross it out, rewrite it, and move on. Better yet, keep it as is. It’s a gentle reminder that we aren’t perfect and that’s okay.

Rules are non-existent in journaling. You don’t have to start at the beginning, and you don’t have to stop at the end. Simply write until you no longer feel the need to write anymore and put it away. Trust yourself to pick it up again when timing is right.

Perfectionism also attacks in more subtle ways. We think we need to journal a certain number of pages for it to count as true journaling. Or we need to experience an epiphany or a-ha moment for our journaling session to be successful.

This kind of thinking only serves to sabotage our efforts.

Come to the journaling page with no expectations except a desire to honor your inner voice and allow it to be heard.

So how can you show love to others in your journals?

As I alluded to in the post on Expressive Journaling... writing letters can be therapeutic.

Letter to Someone Else:

Sometimes discursive thought is not directed toward ourselves but someone else. Perhaps this involves others who have hurt us in the past. They have moved on with life, but we are stuck in the pain. We want them to ask for forgiveness. We want them to apologize. But their words never come.

Here’s the thing about harboring anger, resentment, and hatred. It has no affect on the intended party, but continues to rob us of a joy-filled life and emotional well-being.

Isn’t it time to release that toxic build-up and move on?

Writing a letter to someone else is the perfect prescription.

Understand, however, the benefit comes from writing - not from sending. This is not necessarily a letter that will find its recipient. In fact, burning the letter once it is written is often a fitting conclusion. The purpose is to write what you need to release. 

Letter from Someone Else to you:

Sometimes it is beneficial to write a letter we desperately want to receive. Perhaps a letter from a deceased loved one whom we need to have final closure. We need to hear one last time how much they loved us - or how sorry they are for hurting us. Circumstances dictate this can never happen… but we can fill that void.

Write a letter to yourself filled with the words you need to hear. 

Interestingly, writing from this point of view often gives us a clearer understanding of the other person’s point of view. We may not agree with that view; we may not like that view; but we can gain an appreciation for what they might have experienced in life.

* * *

LOVE. It is most often the answer to our conflicts and problems.

The next post in this Journaling series: M is for Morning Pages.


  1. Yes! I hate making mistakes and having to cross things out in my journals. I am slowly trying to get over that. I also get irritated if I'm having a "bad handwriting" day. Gotta add more self-love. Thanks for reminding me!
    L is for Loverboy

    1. Ah yes... I sometimes stumble over the handwriting issue too. But then I try to think of my grandmother's recipe cards - shaky lettering and such a treasure! Perhaps someday people will say the same about my journal ramblings :)

  2. I like the connection you made between journaling and letters. I hadn't thought about it that way, but now, it seems obvious. Nicely done.

    1. Thanks so much :) Sometimes writing a letter helps me think what I truly want to say rather than just vent.

  3. My handwriting is part of the pleasure I take in journal writing. It in some ways reflects my mood as it can be slow and careful or fast and shaky. One thing is for sure my journal is never perfect. Thank you for your thoughts on inserting grace into the process.

    1. While I am not a fan of what my handwriting looks like - I love how it feels to hold the pen in hand and create the words on the page.

  4. I so loved to read this post! Your idea of writing letters you want to receive is brilliant. I am definitely going to write one.

    Bookmarking this post for after the challenge, so I don't forget.

    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•` ¤ Good luck on the rest of your A to Z challenge

    Sylvia @ The Creative Life

    1. I'd love to hear how you enjoy the letter-writing exercise!

      Thanks so much for stopping by :)

  5. Perfectionism, as you said Molly, can be deadly. I wouldn't have placed myself in that category until you mentioned misspelled words. They drive me nuts and I must correct them, immediately. Then the love comes easier. Go figure. I am enjoying all your suggestions and ideas about journaling.

    Musings Over Poetry
    Food For Thought

    1. I am a long-recovering perfectionist in many areas, unfortunately. But I am slowly learning to give myself grace ... and accept my many flaws :)

      Thank you SO much for your kind words, Gail. I'm glad we found each other during this blog challenge, and I look forward to staying connected after it is over.

  6. Chuckled at this: "Perfectionism dictates we use complete sentences with proper English grammar." Story of my life, hence takes me 20 minutes to text 3 sentences!
    I may take up the 'letter to someone else' idea and see where it takes me.
    "LOVE. It is most often the answer to our conflicts and problems." I feel, love's ALWAYS the answer.
    Thank you for this beautiful post.
    M is for Maid of Honour

    1. Oh Arti... I text with proper punctuation as well :)

      LOVE is definitely an underutilized power in our world today...


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