Does keeping a journal lead to self-absorption?

Jake10

Ad Honoris
Oct 2010
11,960
Canada
Writing a journal can be fun, and it can improve our writing skills, but can it become a way for us to unrealistically view ourselves?

Some people like to keep a journal. Some people think it’s a bad idea.

People who keep a journal often see it as part of the process of self-understanding and personal growth. They don’t want insights and events to slip through their minds. They think with their fingers and have to write to process experiences and become aware of their feelings.

People who oppose journal-keeping fear it contributes to self-absorption and narcissism. C.S. Lewis, who kept a journal at times, feared that it just aggravated sadness and reinforced neurosis. Gen. George Marshall did not keep a diary during World War II because he thought it would lead to “self-deception or hesitation in reaching decisions.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/08/opinion/david-brooks-introspective-or-narcissistic.html?emc=edit_th_20140808&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=27289574&_r=0
 

R5 plus

Ad Honorem
Apr 2013
3,788
Home of Ringing Rocks
I have been trying to get in the habit of keeping a one-sentence journal. You just try to write one thought down for the day.

I'm very forgetful, it would be great to have journals to look back and remember little details I've forgotten, especially about the kids when they were little. But, I'm afraid all my attempts have been pretty sporadic.

In high school we had to keep a journal for my creative writing class. The teacher would read them and put little remarks by some of the entries. It's still in the house somewhere. Occasionally I'll stumble across it and enjoy walking down memory lane or cringing about some of the entries. That journal is written in an entertaining way, because it had an outside audience reading it.

Overall, keeping a journal can be a positive experience. You can see how much you've developed as a person, and what still needs improvement. Just the act of writing sometimes helps people work through issues they might be struggling with. I think it can make us see ourselves more clearly.

Now, if they were filled with constant negative thoughts, that would be a different matter.

On that subject, I've been encouraging our middle child to keep a journal. She's been going through a bit of a rough patch since her sister moved into her own room. I didn't know what was going on at first, usually she's the easy-going one of the kids. Anyway, she's easily bored and whiny a lot and claims we never do anything fun :rolleyes:. So, I've been encouraging her to write things down that we've been doing and things she's enjoyed so she can look back and remember all the times she's stayed home and twiddled her thumbs :D.
 

Salah

Forum Staff
Oct 2009
23,284
Maryland
I kept a journal in my late teen years. I don't think it made me self-absorbed, but it helps me do some interesting reminiscing whenever I look through it.
 
Jul 2013
758
Germany
Do any of you even have a diary these days?
One of the gifts I got on my 13th birthday was a journal.
I even remember what that journal holds, nothing personal actually.

One time early in the morning, my mother made fried eggs and two egg yolks out of one egg dropped into the fry pan. Which seemed especially pitiful to me, so I had to write it down.

I filled this journal with such an impersonal content sometimes until it became boring to me.
 
Last edited:

Jake10

Ad Honoris
Oct 2010
11,960
Canada
One of the gifts I got on my 13th birthday was a journal.
I even remember what that journal holds, nothing personal actually.

One time early in the morning, my mother made fried eggs and two egg yolks out of one egg dropped into the fry pan. Which seemed especially pitiful to me, so I had to write it down.

I filled this journal with such an impersonal content sometimes until it became boring to me.
In the past few years, I have not been keeping one, but when I did I used to write things that were very personal, much too personal to share. I found it to be a fun way to express myself. Of course, one runs the danger of someone else reading this, but it can be a fun way to capture our thoughts and emotions. Looking back at my diary now, I sometimes ask myself why I ever thought that way. Do you think it would be fun to look back at the inner feelings and emotions you had when you were 13?
 
Jul 2013
758
Germany
In the past few years, I have not been keeping one, but when I did I used to write things that were very personal, much too personal to share. I found it to be a fun way to express myself. Of course, one runs the danger of someone else reading this, but it can be a fun way to capture our thoughts and emotions. Looking back at my diary now, I sometimes ask myself why I ever thought that way. Do you think it would be fun to look back at the inner feelings and emotions you had when you were 13?
Of course! :) You were mature enough to understand that.
 
Jul 2011
4,668
Toronto, Canada
Keeping a journal is a sign that one is in tune with one's own thoughts and feelings and therefore, one enjoys one's own company, which indicates a sign of positive self-image.

Boring and uninteresting people who have no personality of their own, those who cling to and seek the attention of strangers for their ego nourishment, often times will find the idea of self-reflection equal to torture, because they cannot look at who they actually are, it frightens them so they run to others, clinging to one person after another like a leech.

I used to keep a journal a few years ago because just before sleeping when I wrote something it helped me to sleep. Now I have no time for that.
 

Black Dog

Ad Honorem
Mar 2008
9,990
Damned England
Writing a journal can be fun, and it can improve our writing skills, but can it become a way for us to unrealistically view ourselves?
I've kept one since the age of 14. A journal doesn't have to be about us, specifically, it can be about events and our interpretation of them. It doesn't have to lead to self absorption and navel gazing. Mine hardly mentions me, really.