How to Journal Your Way to Self-Love
Sometimes loving yourself can feel like an uphill battle. It would seem natural to love yourself, so why is it so hard?
You might feel like you want to love yourself, and you understand how important it is, but the thoughts in your mind automatically default to negative. It’s like there’s a glass wall in your mind - you can see through to the green pastures on the other side, but you can’t get there. That’s because your conscious mind might understand one thing, but your subconscious mind has bad programming.
Once we get used to thinking a certain way, we need to bombard ourselves with positivity to reprogram our minds and get them back on track.
How will journaling help?
When you write things down, you are forced to focus your thoughts. You process information with more detail when you are writing, so this an extremely effective way to help you develop a new way of thinking.
Here are some journaling exercises to reach self-love:
Name Your Inner Critic
We all have our inner critic. It’s that little voice in your mind that likes to point out our “imperfections” and compare us to other people. If you separate those critical thoughts in your mind from your own, healthy thoughts, you can address them more easily.
Give the voice in your head a name.
I call mine Naggy Nelly. (I’m sorry if your name is Nelly.) Give your inner critic a name you think fits their personality and write it in your journal.
List their attributes.
They’re a bit judgy, aren’t they? And maybe a little over-the-top? They’re definitely a pessimist. But also realize that she is self-conscious and afraid.
Draw a picture of them.
Your drawing doesn’t have to be anything fancy, a quick doodle will do. They might look like a person in your life (that strict teacher from the second grade) or maybe they looks like a younger version of you.
Now every time that voice pops up in your mind, visualize the drawing of your inner critic with a speech bubble coming out of their mouth. When you see them as someone separate from you, it’s easier to recognize that they aren’t saying the truth.
Thank them for trying to protect you.
Your inner critic is actually trying to protect you from getting hurt. They’re going about it the wrong way, but still. Their heart is in the right place. Write them a thank you letter. Express your gratitude for what they are trying to do and explain to them that the both of you are safe.
Rewrite the Script
Now that you know who your inner critic is, what can you do with the thoughts they lob at you?
It may take some introspection to realize when a negative thought pops up. They fit right in with the other thoughts in our mind so seamlessly that you might not always realize it’s there.
When you can identify a negative thought, write it down. Draw a line through it and rewrite the thought as a positive one.
Here are two examples:
I keep messing up. > I made a mistake and that’s part of being human. I’ll see what I can learn from this and try again next time.
I hate that I said that. I’m so awkward. > I was caught off guard and I said the wrong thing. But I know I am intelligent and worthy of love.
List the Things You Love About Yourself
Write a list of everything you love about yourself. And I mean everything. Get as specific as you can. Include aspects of your personality, things about your appearance, your actions, etc. Nothing is too random.
Add to the list
Anytime you think of another thing you love about yourself, add it to the list. Leave a lot of space in your journal for this list. Maybe even devote an entire journal to this list. There’s so much you can write!
Review the list
When you need to review the list the most, you won’t want to. Review it anyway. Maybe put your favorite lines on a sticky note and stick them to your mirror.
Journaling Prompts for Self-Love
Here are 5 prompts for journal entries that will help you embrace self-love:
- If you own a pet, write an entry from their point of view. How does your pet see you?
- What is something unique about you?
- Imagine you have a daughter or son exactly like you. Write a letter to them.
- Choose a skill you have developed and write a thank you note to it for serving you.
- What are five things you accomplished in the past year?
Affirmations for Self-Love
Affirmations are positive declarations that you repeat to yourself to introduce a new way of thinking. Choose 3 to 5 affirmations to write in your journal often, maybe even daily.
Here are 5 affirmations to get you started:
- My self-love grows every day
- I am worthy of self-love
- Life is beautiful with its imperfections
- I forgive myself for any past mistakes
- I am enough exactly as I am
Keep working on these journaling exercises on a regular basis. Your body needs constant doses of water and food and sleep, and your mind needs constant doses of self-love.
Make self-love a priority for yourself. It might feel hard some days, but that’s okay. You’re worth the hard work.
About the Author
Rena Hoberman is the creator behind Artbeat Illustrations. She runs a blog and a Youtube channel with tips and inspiration on how to start and fill up a journal.
It is her goal to create products and content that help and inspire others to get started with journaling. She feels that a journal is such a great tool for so many different areas, including productivity, self-improvement, and creative exploration. She finds that things always seem clearer when they’re down on paper.
Ever since she was a child, she loved stationery and notebooks, and now she designs guided journals, stationery and printables for her online shop.
You can learn more about her work at www.artbeatillustrations.com.