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B. Lynn Goodwin

Life has shown me, over and over, that everything happens for a reason. We are all on unique journeys, and I am grateful that your path and mine are intersecting here.

No two human beings, not even identical twins, are exactly the same. So celebrate the fact that you are unique. Do not obsess about flaws and shortcomings. You are the person you are intended to be.

Instead of obsessing, make gratitude lists. Science has shown it strengthens the neural pathways that house positive thoughts. You can do this several ways. List alphabetically. List by categories. Or take photos of people, places, moments, and images that you are grateful for. A gratitude list will shift your focus away from scarcity and into abundance.

Once you recognize abundance, celebrate it. It surrounds you. Do not let scarcity blind you to it.

Accept that many things are beyond your control. Live in the present, since you cannot change the past or control the future.

Trust yourself. Trust your instincts. If you must be a people pleaser, please yourself first.

Connect with good people. Don’t judge them, and don’t hang around them if they insist on judging you.

If you don’t like what you see in the mirror, reinvent yourself. Learn a new skill. Adjust your attitude towards your abilities. Reach out to someone you might normally avoid. As you reinvent yourself, celebrate every step. Be patient. Change takes time.

Take good care of yourself. It will give you the resources to care for others. Set boundaries when you need to, but be willing to reach out and help others. It’s the best way to beat the blues.

Forgive yourself; forgive others. Humans make mistakes. It’s how we handle them that matters.

Believe in something beyond yourself. You are allowed to have flaws. Consider them challenges. No one expects you to be perfect. If you expect it of yourself, examine what led you to this belief. It’s fine to ask for help.

Take responsibility for what you believe. Take responsibility for the actions and energy you put into the world.

Explore your creative side. Paint pictures, sing, or write stories, poems, and letters. One of the simplest, most private places to write is in a journal. It allows you to vent, delve into issues, and untangle messes. It lets you analyze or celebrate. It allows you to finish a thought without interruption. The journal validates your right to be who you are.

Writing is therapeutic. It saves lives. Your truths are eager to come out. Let them spill onto the page, and see what doors writing opens for you. Your story is buried treasure.

You were put here for a reason. No one else has your unique talents. No one else sees the world through your eyes and experiences. Be yourself and share with others. No one can tell your story but you.

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B. Lynn Goodwin is the author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers, available on Amazon. Her stories and articles have been published in Voices of Caregivers; Hip Mama; the Oakland Tribune; the Contra Costa Times; the Danville Weekly; Staying Sane When You’re Dieting; Small Press Review; Dramatics Magazine; Career; We Care;, Friction Literary Journal, and The Sun.

A former teacher, she conducts workshops and writes reviews for Story Circle Network and InspireMeToday. She’s working on a YA novel and brainstorming a memoir.

She’s the owner and editor of Writer Advice. Writer Advice recently celebrated its 16th year and runs contests for aspiring and published writers as well as sharing useful tips from experienced writers.

For more information, please visit

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This Post Has 26 Comments

    1. You’re so welcome, Mercy. You have a lovely name.

      If you ever want to share your journaling, I’m happy to read it and tell you what I love about it. Send it to Lgood67334 AT comcast DOT net. Thanks so much for writing back.

  1. Always lovely to read your wisdom, and to see your words, Lynn, as a new year begins. I am often too “out there” for my family (along the lines of “they broke the mold when they made you – thank god!”) So finding a path I can walk and be true to my me-ness as well as being open to change and open to challenges! Thanks!

    1. I love the word “me-ness.” Now that I think about it, mean girls need to get past their superficial me-ness and find their true me-ness. Now I’m thinking about “Me-ness in Blue Jeans…” See where your writing’s taken me? Thanks!

  2. Thank you, Lynn, for the inspirational words. I love the idea, “If you don’t like what you see in the mirror, reinvent yourself.” Yes, this is so true. We have the power to be the artists of our own lives. It is so important to actively create our lives and be living the life we want. Life is fast and so worth living fully, embracing our authentic selves.

    Dina Colman, author of Amazon Top 100 book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life

    1. Thanks, Dina. I know those words particularly apply to you. I love the way journaling helps me embrace my authentic self. I hope your book is doing well. I still think about how much I learned from your content as I edited it.

  3. These are great reminders. I gave your book (Journaling for Caregivers) to my mom when she was nursing my stepdad back to health after hip-replacement surgery and she liked it so much she gave it to a friend who was supporting her husband through his bout with terminal cancer. Thank you for your work!

    1. Very cool, Janine. My oldest step-daughter (still gives me a thrill to write that phrase) has also shared the book with several of her friends who are caregivers for veterans. The important thing is that the book get out there.

      And if you’re reading this and wondering why the phrase “My oldest step-daughter” gives me a thrill, it’s because I went from having no children to being a step-mother for seven adult children and 15 grands. My husband and I will have been married for 2 years on February 17th. First marriage for me…third for him. All of a sudden, it feels like I’m lapsing into journaling. =)

  4. Over the last months, I’ve been questionning every single piece of my life and, I must admit, I feel currently lost. I used to write a journal as a teenager, even poetry and songs. But then came adulthood, job, kids…..and I stopped writing. I kept buying notebooks but they remained silent in a drawer.
    Before Xmas, I was offered a lottery ticket. I found it in my purse this morning; scratched..and won 50$! “why am I sent this money I don’t really need? I thought. The answer came in the form of a Staples shop. I entered and bought a Moleskine notebook. Then, I came back in front of my computer, opened my mail and read your article. As I don’t believe in coincidences, I think 2014 will – MUST – be the year I will write again. Thank you.

    1. Oh you are so welcome, Bridget. The Moleskine notebook sounds lovely.

      I don’t believe in coincidences either. I wish you happy writing. If you’re ever stuck, try starting with “Today I want…” or “Today I believe…” or “When I woke up…” Finish the sentence and keep going. Journals are often private, but if you want to share with me, send it to Lgood67334 AT comcast DOT net and put Journaling in the subject box.

      Thanks so much for sharing this.

  5. As a full-time caregiver now, I often refer to my gratitude list and find it comforting to reflect on all the good times, especially when I’ve had a stressful day. I try to stay in the moment and enjoy the little things, a new bud on the rosebush, that first sip of hot tea in the morning. On the creative side, I’m going back to my tap class this afternoon for the first time in six months. Hope I remember my right foot from my left.:)

    Thanks for your inspiring words, Lynn.

    1. I didn’t know you had become a full time caregiver, Judith. I know you know how to handle all this, but if you’d like a copy of my book, please write me at Lgood67334 AT comcast DOT net. Tap is a wise choice because it involves both your head and your body and will free your mind from issues. When they come back later, I know you’ll write them away.

  6. Reading Lynn’s piece is like floating at a sumptuous dinner banquet. When I read this, I had the vision of Cinderella gliding effortlessly down the stairs . . . it’s the story of being hopeful that a better life is right around the corner. All you have to do is choose carefully at the banquet. I especially love, “Live in the present, since you cannot change the past or control the future.” A good lesson to be reminded of. I also like “please yourself first.” And I especially love “Writing is therapeutic. It saves lives. Your truths are eager to come out. Let them spill onto the page, and see what doors writing opens for you. Your story is buried treasure.”

    Thank you, Lynn, for writing this inspiring piece. Words to live

  7. So, it’s a Wednesday in the middle of January. Did you write in a journal today? If you’d like to and you need a prompt, start with “When I woke up this morning…”

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