359: A Simple Reframe to Help You Journal Consistently

 

Does positive journaling feel disingenuous to you? 

After all, there are really hard days when you’re a mom. Sitting down at the end of a rough day and writing down something positive can feel dishonest. 

And yet, we all know the benefits of focusing on the positive! 

So, what’s the balance here? How do we reap the benefits of positive journaling, while also staying authentic about our day-to-day experiences? 

 

Last Fall, I received an email from a listener who has been using my Flecks of Gold journal for a while.

She shared with me her struggle with this balance between honesty and positivity. I loved her insights and want to share them with you! 

Dear Rachel, 

I was listening to your special 330 episode about the Flecks of Gold journal and how it has helped you love your spicy child more. I also have a spicy child and I have been writing (inconsistently) in the Flecks of Gold journal for the past 3 years and just ordered my second one. 

I wanted to share something I have struggled with regarding the journal but recently had a breakthrough around in case anyone else is struggling with the same thing. 

I am a social worker (in training) and can logically understand the wisdom in the journal. I also feel it is beneficial when I do it. However, I have trouble sticking to a prompt or following instructions just as a matter of personality so I haven’t always written a specific fleck of gold and have used the journal more as a one-sentence journal often–just writing down a sentence about my day, not specifically writing about a good moment. 

As I was listening to your episode, I remembered something I had read earlier in the day in the book Work, Parent, Thrive. The author talks about how having a story around our life that is “workable” is important and that we can shape the story we tell ourselves about our life. I had resolved to tell myself a better narrative about my motherhood and then listened to your podcast which is a lot about shaping the narrative we have about our children. 

I realized in that moment that so much of my resistance to writing a “Fleck of Gold” most days is that it felt dishonest to how the day went. This is the only journal I have kept for the last three years and I wanted it to represent our life, but in my mind the “Fleck of Gold” wasn’t representative of our life which is often filled with chaos and mess and yelling. 

I had to reframe the journal from being an accurate representation of our days to being a way to document the positive attributes of my children in order to highlight those and give them more prominence in my mind. Which is obviously the purpose of the journal. But I think because it is a three-year journal I thought I should be able to look back and remember the whole day. I also wanted my kids to be able to look back and see that my days were hard too if they happened to read this when they were going through parenthood themselves. I guess I didn’t want to present a one-sided story. 

There is a time and a place for that kind of realistic journaling for sure, but that isn’t this journal. And it also isn’t what I need right now and I have to prioritize what I need now over what my kids might hypothetically need in the future.  

Anyways, I wanted to share in case anyone else is struggling with feeling like if anyone read this journal they wouldn’t have an accurate picture of your life… It isn’t meant for that. It is SUPPOSED to create a view of your life that is overly weighted to the positive. It is supposed to create a more workable story, not necessarily an honest or accurate one. Because who is to say what is honest or accurate anyways? Everything is perception. And I would rather my perception of my life be skewed to the positive. 

Thank you for the work you do! 

Best, 

Ashley

Don’t you love that? I can absolutely see why positive journaling might feel disingenuous for certain personality types…but Ashley is right; that’s not the point of this journal.

This journal is designed to help train your brain to see the good in your messy, frustrating, sometimes very difficult life. 

 

I also want to add that it’s fine to include some of that reality within your Flecks of Gold journal! I went back and looked through my own Flecks of Gold journal and found some entries where I did just that – I admitted the hard while also finding the good. Let me share a few with you. (And as a side note, I find it interesting that all three of these moments took place in January. Seasonal Depression is real, and I struggle with it every year! I’m grateful for tools like my positive journaling to get me through our long winters!!!) 

January 22, 2022:

“I was horrible to my family today – so mean and reactive. But even though today was the worst day I’ve had in months, there were still sweet moments: making Sally’s ½ birthday cake with her while jamming to Ed Sheeran and Noah quickly accepting my apology when I yelled at him and not yelling back at me.” 

January 16, 2023

“Today was a hard day emotionally, and it’s difficult for me to find a Fleck. I just don’t feel like myself. But as I think back on the day, a comment Noah made stands out to me. I told him I was feeling down, and he said, ‘You need to do something you love, Mom, to make you feel happy. Like snuggling me!”

January 23, 2024

“After a long, tiring, frustrating day, all I wanted to do was snuggle up into my bed and read my book for an hour before dinner. So I did! And the best part: Noah joined me! Nothing better than reading side-by-side with my boy.” 

See how the sweet moments are often woven right in with the hard moments and seasons? This is the beauty of a journal that helps you see that. Whether or not you decide to include some of the difficult moments in your journal, or you decide to just solely focus on the positive because that’s what your brain needs right now…there’s no wrong way to do the Flecks of Gold Journaling practice.

You don’t have to journal every day to make it worthwhile. I sometimes have weeks where I don’t write anything at all, and then I pick it back up and start again. Something is better than nothing, and this journal is a great place to practice tolerating imperfections in ourselves while still reaping the benefits of positive journaling.

 

Don’t forget that our pre-order sale is happening now through Mother’s Day, 2024.

The journals are still being manufactured and will arrive in late June or early July, but order now for the best price of the entire year (even better than our Black Friday sale!). 

>>>What do you think about positive journaling? I’d love to hear your thoughts – share in the comments below!

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Related Episodes like this one on Positive Journaling:

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