Journaling Power: Facing, Forgiving and Freeing The Past

Author - Mari L. McCarthy
Published - November 2, 2016

This post originally ran at as part of my WOW Journaling Power Blog Tour

Journaling_Power_Book_Cover_with_Best_Seller_Badge.pngAre you “stuck” in the past, ruminating about and reprocessing all the things that your caregivers didn’t do for you as a child?

That was me for many years until I discovered the transformational power of writing therapy. It seemed like a chance discovery at the time, but it turned my life around.

I’d been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and had been desperately running from one specialist to another, hoping for a medical breakthrough which somehow never arrived. No matter how many new drugs I tried, my MS symptoms got worse until finally I had to sell my successful management consulting business.

I experimented with daily journaling as a physical therapy, hoping it would enable me to write with my left hand (I’d lost most of the function in the right side of my body).

But something incredible happened when I started writing. Not only did my MS symptoms improve, but I began to reconnect to my body and spiritual self. Memories began flooding in. I used my journal to start figuring out who I was. Here and Now.

I recalled an incident when the nuns at St. Bernard’s School yelled at me for being two minutes late to pick up my ill younger brother’s homework. I remembered how shy and afraid the incident had made me feel. I noticed that I was still carrying those feelings with me. Connecting with my feelings scared me to begin with. It was a shock to realize that the frightened child of my past was still living inside my body, and that the emotions I had repressed as a young girl still pained me.

But I found expressing my feelings on paper cathartic. I kept writing away––and eighteen years later I am still penning several pages a day and reaping the holistic health benefits. I have regained 70% of the function in my right side, I no longer take prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs. I’ve made peace with family members and friends before and after they’ve passed on.

Medical science is backing up what I have personally experienced. Evidence from 300 scientifically controlled studies carried out in the past 30 years shows conclusively that expressive writing helps many people to heal, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

James Pennebaker, the pioneer of this research, said: “Writing may make you sad for a brief time, but the long-term effects are far more positive. Across multiple studies, people who engage in expressive writing report feeling happier and less negative than they felt before writing”

Journaling has given me a sense of perspective on my past that has brought me inner peace. There is no doubt I was deprived of affection as a child, but I have allowed myself to feel this deprivation consciously and move on to the point of forgiveness. I have learned how to put my past where it belongs–behind me and I’m creating the happy, healthy life I’m now free to live.

Journaling Power Prompt:

Who Am I…Today?


You can learn all about putting the past where it belongs in my international best-selling self-help book, Journaling Power: How To Create The Happy, Healthy Life You Want To Live  now on sale at Amazon in ebook and paperback versions. #WriteON!

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