We live our days and they become part of our personal story. We have a unique perception of what is happening around us. That’s what makes facts a story: a sequence of events that embeds emotions and opinions. And emotions represent that additional layer of color that makes our life more memorable.
To be more precise, our emotional memory is so strong that it beats factual cognition. Often this has an immediate effect: events aren’t just happening around us, we feel involved.
Special events, in particular, aren’t free from this, for we might as well be a spectator rather than the protagonist, and be taken off by joy/surprise/anger/melancholy as if we were the direct interested.
We cannot forget, however, the toll that strong emotions take on our perspective of reality. They make it more interesting, but also alter our view of things. That is problematic when we let our anger and disappointment take over: we experience conflicts where we could find solutions because we have expectations and things do not go the way we would like to.
Or we want to address some feedback right away because something or someone needs a course correction, in our head. Just, we may not be ready to share that, if what we are so eager to share was triggered by stress or emotional response.
At first, we should, in fact, let it sink and reflect upon all these little big things.
That’s where having a journal is very helpful. Writing down the events around us gives us a place and a time to privately rejoice or vent about what we live.
This is happening at first. Then, it is also the right tool to reflect upon the events and all that we feel in their regard. So, if we are mad – what did really tickle our nerves?
After all, it is our private place, where we can (and should) be honest with ourselves. It’s a healthy practice and self-care. When in the future we will think back about it, we might as well look at the event as an opportunity we used to become a better person.
Many think that controlling emotions is the equivalent of repressing them; however, the reality is that we should understand and tame them so that they are not going to hurt us. Writing about what we feel when something happens can become a habit that allows us to do the following:
- Make sure that no detail goes amiss – writing a diary is a memory practice, and the journal itself is a memory device
- Separate what we observed from what we experienced emotionally, in order to find our emotional triggers
- Reflect upon our core values and the importance of our feelings, and of those around us, be more objective and then take actions
So, our notebooks or our Evernote are not just an instrument to store data; and help us initiate a process of transformative learning.
We are going to ask ourselves good questions, intentionally or subtly, to fully understand ourselves and put the right pieces of the puzzle in the right place when we feel we are lost. We can monitor our growth, our derailment and ultimately embrace our changes.
Our story of yesterday can be written, but we can use that to do better today.