As much as I can, I try to write in a journal that I keep. A journal that is talking about the events in my life at the moment and my thoughts and feelings. Every few months or so, I like to look back on the things that I wrote, and often times I find myself laughing. I look back and read these words and I think to myself, “Man, you sound like a 13 year old” or “Wow! What on earth was wrong with you?” On the other hand, there are times when I think, “Wow, you handled that pretty well!” or “Maybe you shouldn’t say that to her again.” The interesting thing is I think that doing this can be good thing. Looking back on your life and reflecting on where you were, and where you are now. Here are some reasons why I believe that looking back can be a good thing:
Growth: How can you know if you’re growing if you don’t have a frame of reference? Looking back on past decisions and how you reacted, as opposed to how you might react presently can be a huge indication of personal growth.
Insight: How many times have you reacted to a problem in the heat of the moment? Maybe you said something you didn’t mean, or reacted in a way that you wish you could take back. Looking back on these times can help provide you with a good idea of how to approach similar situations in the future.
Accountability: There have been times in my own life where I have written down things that I need to get done, or would like to do in the future. Looking back and remembering these can encourage you to get back on the horse and finish what you started.
These are only a handful of advantages to looking back on your life. While there can be tremendous gain from doing so, be wary to not “dwell” on the past. Often times people can get stuck in a rut, depressed, angry, or bitter about things that have happened in their lives. You have an amazing ability to choose your attitude. Choose to look at those events not as a way to pull you down, but rather as a method to learn and grow from.