Alishea Sutton

Strategic – Intentional – Visionary

Moving Forward through Journaling

In July 2020, I decided that I wanted to increase my social media engagement and also take time to journal because I wasn’t consistent. In the midst of a pandemic and graduate school, I needed to do self-reflection and work on forgiveness. One book that encouraged me to start the journaling process was The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path of Healing Ourselves by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu. I remember crying my way through the first chapter because I was holding on to so much pain and grief. I put the book down for a bit, yet decided to finish it over a couple of weeks.

Shortly after, the journaling activity idea was created. I had so much fun creating images and journal prompts to get me through 31 days and even invited other folks along. The journal prompts were organized in a progression that went from looking at the past to looking at the future. Some of the prompts included questions like:

  • How easy is it for you to forgive those who have caused you pain?
  • How do you forgive yourself when you make a mistake?
  • What are your best character traits?
  • What is your favorite part of your daily routine?
  • What’s a goal you want to accomplish and why?

The journaling prompt was a way to reflect on how we view ourselves and others. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “our perspective is our reality”. How and where we were raised, trauma from experiences, education, and other factors all impact our perspective. Earlier I mentioned how much pain and grief I was holding on to. I didn’t realize how much that pain obstructed my perspective and left me constantly feeling like a victim most of the time. I’m not discounting the trauma I’ve experienced in my life, but what I am saying is that the people who inflicted pain on me may have had self-esteem issues or their own trauma. I wasn’t being forgiving because I thought people should be honest, considerate, caring, and compassionate. I didn’t consider they were probably living through their own pain and I just happened to cross their path.

Recently, I’ve been questioning me being a self-proclaimed introvert. Am I really an introvert or have I dimmed my own light to avoid being teased? Is my shyness natural or because of the environment I was raised in? I’ll never know for sure, but I can definitely work on myself. I know my best self. She’s not shy at all. My best self is engaging, funny, and creative. My best self misses people because of COVID. I also miss hugs…

Moving on.

Although it’s been three months since the journaling activity. I’m still working on growth, self-love and compassion, and empathy for others. It truly is a lifelong journey because sometimes it’s hard to forgive, especially when behaviors don’t change. I’ve even been questioning my new social work profession. That’s for another experience for another blog.

I used this journaling activity as a way continue on working telling my story so that I can help someone who may be in a situation I was once in and feel there’s no way out. I encourage you all to be the bridge and lend a hand or heart. Know you’re not alone and that we do need each other. We need love, support, and a sense of belonging. We also have to be accountable to our actions. For now, I’m working on being a better human being. By better I mean being conscious of how I treat others, taking care of myself so I have the energy to continue my purpose, being kind and friendly, and being a support system for loved ones and those in my circle.

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