Saturday, March 22, 2008

Journal Positives Too

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things (Philippians 4:8).

Journaling our heartaches is powerful. It opens the door to change and healing. It is like putting germ killing hydrogen peroxide on our invisible wounds.

When you spend time journaling, try recording positive things as well. It is like eating a teaspoon of honey to chase away the taste of medicine.

I'm not advocating white-washing positives where you tell yourself lies. I don't think it leads to real healing to tell yourself that your abuser didn't really hurt you that bad, or that you feel "happy" even when you're really feeling depressed. There are people who think that forcing a positive attitude will make things better. I don't agree with that view. Your insides know the truth no matter what you tell yourself.

What I want to encourage you to do in your journal is to consciously acknowledge true positives. When I left my abusive spouse, I had tons of pain to wade through, which I dug into doing. But I found that it helped to also acknowledge the current blessings in my life. So at the end of each painful journaling session, I added a prayer thanking God for one blessing He had given me that day. At first this was a difficult exercise, but it became easier. And within weeks I was finding multiple things to be thankful for each day. It gave me energy to end on a positive note. It helped me to keep on trudging through the healing and did much to draw me closer to God.

Timothy, a fellow blogger, wrote some comments on journaling that he has given me permission to quote:
"I would suggest that you try journaling. Find a calm and peaceful place at home, at a friend's house or somewhere outdoors or maybe after work where you can be by yourself to simply breathe deeply and take some time to honor who you are in God's creation. Realize that you are important in this world and remember God loves you so very much.

After you have had a few minutes to relax, focus your thinking on hope, optimism for your future, and self confidence as you distance yourself from your abuser. Write cheerfully whatever comes to mind that makes you feel good. It may take a few days of practice before the negative feelings go away, even for just a short time. Try to think about your favorite pet or a best school friend; maybe a mountain meadow or a beautiful Aspen grove in the autumn... it will keep you in touch with your inner most feelings and in touch with the "kindness" of God's love."
Let's get busy journaling the positives as well as doing the hard stuff!

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Recommended Books

  • 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages by Karla Downing
  • A Way of Hope by Leslie J. Barner
  • Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them by Paul Hegstrom
  • Battered But Not Broken by Patricia Riddle Gaddis
  • Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Bradshaw on the Family by John Bradshaw
  • Caring Enough to Forgive/Not Forgive by David Augsburger
  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
  • Healing the Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allendar
  • Keeping the Faith: Questions and Answers for the Abused Woman by Marie M. Fortune
  • Perfect Daughters by Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D.
  • Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics by Herbert L. Gravitz and Julie D. Bowden
  • Safe People by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Slay Your Own Dragons by Nancy Good
  • The Cinderella Syndrome by Lee Ezell
  • The Dance of Anger by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.
  • The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee
  • Turning Fear to Hope by Holly Wagner Green
  • When Violence Comes Home: Help for Victims of Spouse Abuse by Tim Jackson and Jeff Olson
  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft