Should we document and retain unhappy events in a journal?
April 16, 2021•280 words
Reading time: 1-2 min
Should unhappy events be documented in your journal? I asked this question today after such an event happened.
Writing and reflecting in a journal or in your daily notes is a great way to clear your mind. It's a time to offload your thoughts onto paper- to cast into ink, visible in front of you, no longer burdening your memory. It's easier to reflect on the event with a clear mind. Your emotions and thoughts come pouring out of your pen (or your fingertips on a keyboard)- you no longer have to keep it in your heart or mind.
Having said that, this leaves 'residues' of unhappy memories in your journal system, ready to be seen and re-discovered at a future date. Arguably, this could be a way for your future self to interpret the priorities and mental state of your past self. However, they serve as a reminder, an 'entry hook' to retrieving the memories in your actual brain of negative times and negative events. Whether that's a positive or negative is open to interpretation.
Should we be deleting or archiving such entries, such that it is impossible or difficult for our future self to view them without significant intention? This allows our immediate selves to spill everything bottled up in our mind, but allows our future self to forget these negative events and focus on the positives of our life.
I'm conflicted on this.
Historically, I document such events. (Well. I document most life happenings.) Now, I'm debating whether I should stop this action, or at least archive them so that it's difficult for me to re-access them without great desire and intention.