You really need an Encouragement Journal


I forget.

Actually, my memory can be pretty bad. I have a ‘forgetta computer’ for a brain as someone has said.

We all have a limited recall and so we need reminding, especially of positive truth.

As someone who periodically struggles with depression, I have found that I especially need my mind to be reminded. To be topped up with a positive truth.

One of the ways I do this is to be a hoarder of encouragements.

The word encouragement has its root in the Latin word cor, which literally means “heart”.
So does the word courage.  To have courage means to have heart.
To encourage – to provide with or give courage – literally means to give others heart.
Encouraging the Heart – A leader’s guide to rewarding and recognizing others” by Kouzes/Posner

Recently I had my 50th birthday.

Ok, thanks, my hearing is still sufficient enough to hear the applause. Moving on, I received lots of lovely cards and some neat presents. Friends and family came for a party.

So what I am going to do is to collect all the cards and photos and save them for a rainy day. A day when the mood and thoughts might be quite black. I will then go to these and read the truth and remind myself.

I have done this in the past with a journal. I would write any little encouragement I had in there and glue cards, notes, photos, and even tickets to sports events.

We so often let the little encouragements, the notes, the expressions of  ‘thank you’ to easily slip through the fingers of our mind.

We need to grab them, glue them, and nail the suckers down to somewhere where we can easily access them.

Ok, so here is what I want you to do.
For today take a note of every encouragement you receive. It might come via an email, a few words someone says, a note, a card, a compliment, a photo. Grab it with both hands and keep it somewhere. Write the date on it and make sure it is accessible.

I have fallen out of the habit of doing this, but I need to get back into it.

Some would call this scrapbooking, which I suppose it is, but I am not into all the fancy stuff of different fonts, colours, borders, yadda yadda yadda.

Nope, just grab the card, letter or compliment and slap it down into a large scrapbook/ journal.

What can you include? Anything, as long as it won’t become a health hazard. Yes, the meal you cooked was fantastic and you should be on Master Chef Uzbekistan, but take a photo of the delicacy and write down peoples comments. You don’t need to include a sample for later.

I know it’s tempting to create an electronic journal, and scan the cards and notes but please don’t. There is something quite powerful that happens in the grey matter when we have a physically tactile version of the encouragement. Hmm, feel the love.

Glean, grab, glue and see what it does for you.

Apology to all poets, one I am not.

Ok, now you can encourage me.

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You could even be really brave and write a comment below. I may well copy and paste/ glue it into my encouragement journal!

Barry Pearman
Image: How Kira got her mojo back by kira.belle Creative Commons Flickr

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