As I tore out the pages to add to the flames I couldn’t help but read a few lines and paragraphs here and there. I noticed my repetitive self-improvement ‘plans’ and angst-filled reflections on my life. As the years went on I notice my slow evolution. The journals become more reflective, more productive, and more useful in helping me not only see myself more objectively but I start to allow myself to like myself. I begin to encourage myself to be authentic. As I clarify my feelings and desires I begin to act upon them. I have made a new habit of attending to my own needs and pursuing my real desires and I can see the results in my reality. I like myself more, I own my characteristics – the positive and the flawed. Because of that I’m happier and my world is more the way I want it and I enjoy it more.
Key reflections and discoveries center around my relationship with my two daughters. They have been my greatest teachers. I've reflected on how their sole wish for me over their lifetimes has been for me to be happy, for me to like myself. The hardest reality I’ve faced is to see my self-loathing and constant improvement drive reflected in them. I’ve watched them struggle to break the pattern of self-hate/self-improvement and eventually succeed in finding ways to accept and love themselves. Their struggle and ultimate success has shown me that when I love myself, it gives them permission to love themselves.
There were a lot of journals. There was a lot of smoke and ash – metaphorical and literal. So much. I used the embers to toast my journey and marshmallows.
I’ve purged my record keeping of the past. Space has been created for the new. I have free space on my bookshelf as well as in my mind and heart. I’ve discovered quite a bit. I will burn my journals more often.