Often, we tend to look at what we can do to change and enhance our personality. Yet due to a number of factors, we are unable to bring about the changes that we desire. So, what should we do? One of the first steps in trying to change ourselves is to first know ourselves better. This can be easily done by writing things in a personal diary.
1 Penning down what matters: Put your thoughts on paper. There are numerous things that we take for granted about ourselves and do not realise these hidden aspects. By penning down our thoughts, we can work towards implementing the desired changes. Doing this on a regular basis enhances our understanding and knowledge of ourselves.
2 Expressing our feelings: Bottling up and storing things in our mind is not helpful. This acts as a stressor and an irritant. A diary lets us have a private, safe option to let it out.
3 Being honest: Writing down our thoughts is a good way to know ourselves better. However, being honest with ourselves is the first and foremost thing if this is to work. So, being able to confront our feelings, desires, fears, anxieties, etc is most important to be able to bring about changes in ourselves. So, be open and use this understanding to achieve a transformation.
4 Making it a habit: It is essential to be regular at keeping a diary, if this is to be fruitful. We can then realise what it is that needs to be worked upon.
5 Reflecting on experiences: Besides jotting down thoughts, it is most important that we reflect upon our writing. This process of reflection helps us know what needs our attention and work on it.
6 Knowing strengths: Maintaining a diary can magnify our strengths. A good understanding of our strengths will help us utilise them better.
7 Accepting limitations: Writing a diary gives us an idea of our weaknesses and the limitations they create. This helps us work on and find out the best possible methods of bringing about improvements.
8 Owning up to mistakes: We all make mistakes and listing them down daily helps us see patterns. Many a time we cannot look at our follies dispassionately. However, by reflecting on the happenings of the day and by looking at one’s attitude to these, it is easy to know where we went wrong.
9 Thinking before reacting: A lot of times, people react without analysing all aspects of a situation, and make hasty decisions. We should see how we typically respond in various situations. Knowing that we have a particular way of responding can help us make changes.
10 Being flexible: We all need to evolve with time. Maintaining a diary helps us realise that it is important to be flexible in our ways and thinking.
The author is a psychiatrist, and chief, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Max Healthcare