There is a profound vulnerability that comes with
putting your deepest feelings in black and white.
Here are six ways that people who keep personal
journals and diaries have handled the issue of privacy. See if you can combine
these ideas in a way that makes you feel comfortable keeping your own honest
Some Ideas to Keep Your Diary Safe
1. Start each journal with a blank page or
a page that indicates your desire for the journal to not be read.
2. Use abbreviations or shorthand when you
need to. If you are writing about a particularly negative situation or thought,
use first initials or code words to portray the people involved.
3. Keep your journal on your personal
computer, if that works for you. You might want to get in the habit of reading
the journal through at the end of each year and recording the insights you get
from such a process and then deleting the diary file itself. For active journal
entries (ie. the present year’s diary) password protect the file on your PC so
no one can access it but you.
4. If you don’t like to journal via the
computer, you can still get rid of the journal or the year’s journal pages
(through some method of destruction) after each year if that makes you feel
more comfortable. Just make sure you go through it to get out the good stuff
before you do so. You can even delete/shred the journal pages on a more
frequently basis: monthly, perhaps.
Of course, if you do this, you’ll miss out on the
insights you could gain from reading your journal years down the road. This can
be a really beneficial part of the journaling process because you can see how
much you have grown and changed. That said, it’s a process I don’t recommend,
but if it is the only way you feel comfortable journaling, it might be worth it
5. Keep in mind that your journal is
recording your emotional truth, as it is at the time at which you are writing
it. If something were to happen to you and your closest loved ones read your
journal, they would likely see a portrait of you. We all have these dark
thoughts and dark times. If someone who loves you were to read it, it might
create even a deeper intimacy between you. Another thing to keep in mind: your
journal may be much more positive than you think. Go back and read your journal
as though through someone else’s eyes. How do you feel about the person that
your journal portrays? We often think that so much of our journal is negative
when that is often not the case.
6. Use your fear about your journal being
read to gain insight into where you might not be acting completely
authentically in your relationships. If you are terrified that your best friend
would someday read your journal, ask yourself if there is something about your
relationship with your best friend that isn’t being said. Could your
relationship with her improve if you showed more of your true feelings?
Nothing makes the journaling process totally
secure, but you want to make sure you are comfortable enough with your own
level of privacy (and your own system for guaranteeing that privacy) that you
continue to journal.
About the Author:
Jamie Jefferson writes for Momscape.com, a website devoted to
helping busy moms find balance. She also shares coupons and deals on her
favorite things, from women’s
athletic apparel to Amazon’s
wireless reading device.