Privacy is Key

Recently, I watched an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. Have you seen the TV show? Well, in this particular episode Raymond discovers that his mother would sneak into his room and read his journal while he was sleeping. In fact, Ray’s mother admits that she read his journal frequently when he was growing up. Naturally, as most of us would be, he was very upset to find this out. He ranted about how his journal was filled with private, personal thoughts. How could she invade his private life like that?

diaryopenHas anyone ever invaded your privacy and read your journal or diary without your permission? Are you reluctant to keep a journal today for fear that your private thoughts could become public knowledge, perhaps even find their way onto the internet and out across social media? Or, maybe you’re concerned that someone could use the information in your journal against you in some way?

When I teach journaling classes, I emphasize how important it is to use that space and time to be completely honest. Let it all out! Of course, if you think someone is going to make your journal their daily reading material, being honest or even writing at all can become quite a challenge.

So, how do you protect your privacy?

Here are some suggestions (probably obvious, but also usefully uncomplicated):

  1. Keep your journal in a safe place where most people would not bother to look or even simply happen across it.
  2. Have a conversation with those in your home about privacy and how you expect them to respect your deepest thoughts by not reading your journal.
  3. On the front of your journal leave no room for doubt regarding the personal boundaries you are setting – write: Private! Keep Out!
  4. On the first page of your journal, follow up by writing your name, the date, and a brief statement explaining your feelings about privacy, such as: “This is my private journal. Please respect my wishes and do not read its contents.”
  5. If you are still uncomfortable with the level of deterrence, put your journal in a lockable box, cabinet, or desk drawer.

If you want to suggest other ways to keep our journals private, please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas here with us any time.

Kathy Bornarth, MA, LPC

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