It seems the grateful log is back en vogue. From the strong influence of Charles Poliquin, I used to keep a grateful log, about 7 years ago.
I can only with a 100% certainty know the reason why I was writing a grateful log therefore I will refer to my own experience when I tell you why I don’t keep one anymore.
It is worth mentioning already that this text came about because it seems that many people don’t know what I am about to say, and I would like to share it. I think it is important.
For me, writing a grateful log was about listing as many things I was grateful for as I could, at the end of a day.
The reasons I was writing a grateful log were:
To remember the good things in life and cherish these positive things
To put myself in a grateful state so I could become a happier person
To remember positive things so I could become a more positive person
All the above would make me feel better
In short; I wanted to change myself for the better so that I could become happy, because it would make me a more positive person and I would feel good about that. This, I thought.
The reasons I found it didn’t work so well:
I found that to change oneself for the better one would need to observe, recognise then change behaviours that are not good. When one writes a grateful log, that doesn’t happen. One is celebrating the good things happening in life, which is not a bad thing per se, but the task doesn’t touch on behaviours that needs changing. How can one become a better person by writing a grateful log if you are still behaving as you were?
If one would like to become a better person; happier and more positive, one might want to give the “10 lines of torture” a go, instead.
This is an exercise that in one form or another have been introduced to me by friends and mentors the past 18 months. It is not something I have come up with and without having it presented to me I am not sure if I would’ve found it.
I believe at least some of the ways and ideas around it come from The Da Xuan tradition, I read about it in “Shen Gong and Nei Dan in Da Xuan: A manual for working with mind, emotion and internal energy” by Serge Augier. My Coach Emmet Louis referred to it as the “10 lines of torture”, which I thought was appropriate!
It entails you sitting down when your day is coming to an end to write down 10 things that you think you could’ve done better that day.
It could be anything;
“I should’ve not turned away from X person after she said X”
“I should’ve not been judgmental when my student said X”
“I should’ve put my phone down to say hi to my husband properly when he came home”
Anything you think was not good behaviour, that you would’ve changed if you could.
You can then set intentions in the morning at the start of your day; how to better be, in relation to what you wrote down the night before.
This exercise might not be as blissful as the grateful log, but you may discover interesting things about yourself. When change occur to these behaviours, perhaps there’s happiness and positivity waiting behind the door, or perhaps you just got rid of shitty behaviour…