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Journaling Discoveries: Enjoying the Journey, Even the Not So Great Parts

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“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey.” ––Babs Hoffman

It’s not always easy to enjoy the journey, especially when the journey appears to be a struggle. How can we enjoy the struggles? Is that even possible?

I have an aversion to struggles. Maybe this is a universal thing. I mean, really, who wants to have conflicts and continual issues in life? So why is it that people talk about enjoying the journey, or just letting the process unfold like it’s some secret joke as they smile and walk away? Will someone please let me in on the punchline?

My family and I recently went through a particularly “fun” struggle from mid -September, until last week. My husband was rear ended in a car accident that left us without reliable transportation for nearly a month. It was a tough time for us. But it also was a bit magical too. Okay, maybe a lot magical.

I had finally decided that I was done with feeling so upset and twisted up by life events. I wanted to ride this struggle with a little more enjoyment. I decided to try out the sage advice of those who would smile and say “enjoy the journey,” because not enjoying the journey was becoming too much drama for me. Why was I torturing myself so much over a freaking car? It was just a car after all.

I won’t say I was perfect. I had moments and whole days where the situation of having no car really got to me. But then I’d catch myself, shake it off, and try to find the things in life that were going very well for us. And I have to say, we do have a whole lot going right, and I don’t think I realized how much until this incident.

So I spent a lot of time basking in the things I was appreciative for. I had whole days that I decided to “pretend” we had no car issue and that all was fantastic. I even imagined our new car in the garage, and us taking it out for a ride as a family. And you know, doing these things really helped me enjoy the struggle more than I ever managed to before. It was a huge step forward for me.

The car incident also had some magical results too. A big one was my husband’s coworkers stepping up to offer him rides to and from work. It was really great to feel that sort of love and support. We also ended up with a much newer and bigger car than what we started out with. And we love it so very much (and yes, we’ve taken the Chevy Equinox out for several family rides since purchasing it).

Another major benefit from all of this is it’s really made me reevaluate how I deal with adversity. I’ve always looked at adversity and struggle as negative. I always felt a desire to avoid such instances at all costs. But maybe the struggles aren’t so terrible? Maybe they help us find clarity and help us understand what we really do want out of life?

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Journaling Discoveries: Self-Forgiveness = More Self-Worth

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I used to be an expert at holding a grudge. I would stand firm in my personal righteousness, because that’s what we are supposed to do when wronged, right? Little did I realize that holding a grudge was actually hurting me and the other person(s).

It didn’t matter if I had a reason to be upset or not, at the end of the day I still felt like crap. In giving my anger and frustration to others, I was giving them power over me. I allowed my happiness and peace of mind to be disturbed by unhelpful emotions.

Yeah, but what about being angry and upset at myself? Because over time, I began to realize that I was far more upset with myself for “falling victim” or getting myself stuck in a bad situation, than at the situation or person that “did me wrong”. I should have known better. Why did I let that happen?

This happens to be an ongoing theme in my journals, but it was this journal entry (see image) that was the first real conscious moment in time that I realized how much I blamed myself for a vast amount of things. In fact, pretty much anything negative or anything that went wrong, I found a way to cast fault with myself.

And I know I’m not alone, this is a major issue that plagues so many people in our world. An inability to see how much we cast blame or throw guilt on ourselves, is a major cause of self-worth and self-esteem issues. And it’s such an automatic process that most people don’t even know they are doing it.

I didn’t until it started popping up in journal entries. After awhile, I started to realize that maybe the reason I wasn’t getting very far in life was because I was pointing the finger at myself too much. How can we step out in confidence and be our best, when we are constantly belittling ourselves?

It dawned on me how important forgiveness is. All forgiveness. The forgiveness of others, and of ourselves. Once I started actively forgiving, my life started to change. All the hurt feelings and old grudges started to heal, and slowly but surely my self-confidence started to emerge.

I still have a long way to go, but I acknowledge the fact that as long as I stay open to forgiving, my life will see even more improvements. Sometimes I have to do daily forgiveness. But that’s what my journals are for, so I can pour out what needs to be addressed.

I do catch myself holding grudges against others and myself from time to time, but I work through them. The important thing is I caught it, and then I do the work to address it. Sometimes a simple journal entry will do, and other times I need to write out an actual letter (that only gets seen by me). Both ways work, and both ways help me release the damaging emotions so I can be open to love and understanding.

My life has become far more peaceful and happy as I have learned the power of forgiveness. It really is true that love makes the world go round. Love really does conquer all (in a very good way).

Note: Image was taken from my book A Writer’s Wings:A Journey of Discovery and Transformation.