25 Journal prompts for developing self-love
We hear a lot about how self-love is important, but how do you learn how to love yourself? In general, self-love is defined as the general regard you have for yourself and your well-being. Focusing more on mental health, self-love can also be described as “a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological, and spiritual growth”. The way to learn to love yourself is to practice loving yourself. This means adding activities to our everyday routines that encourage us to feel positively about ourselves. Sometimes you have to fake it a bit until you make it, or treat yourself like you love yourself before the feelings are really there. If you keep treating yourself with kindness and compassion, eventually you will see that you are worthy of being loved, especially by yourself. Some activities you can do to encourage self-love are journaling, setting boundaries, prioritizing yourself over others, and keeping an eye on the way you talk to yourself
Journaling can give you a chance to get more familiar with your thought patterns and what makes you tick. Getting to know yourself better is an important part of building self-love. When you understand yourself, feel more comfortable in your own skin. Journaling gives you a chance to explore what’s important to you, understand your thoughts and feelings, and a space to vent. Your journal is a space where you can be 100 percent yourself without fear of judgment or criticism.
You can say things to a journal that you can’t say to anyone else. Journaling lets you look at patterns and meaning in what you’ve written, which can help you better understand what’s going on in your head. Journaling also gives you a space to process your thoughts, which we all need in some way. You can even process your thoughts before talking about them to someone else, so your thoughts are organized and you know what you want to talk about. A journal can also be a helpful space to work through the confusing emotions that can come up when the world is changing rapidly, like we’ve seen over the past year of the pandemic.
Keeping a journal can help you explore your own thoughts and worries, even if you can’t talk about them with anyone else. Journaling also helps you draw connections between situations and experiences so you can gain perspective on your life. Journaling regularly can help you to see the bigger picture more clearly. Seeing the proof of how you worked through things and how situations don’t last forever is valuable. Even if you don’t believe it at first, keeping a journal is a way to keep a record of your own resilience, which can lead to a greater sense of self-love.
It can be tricky to sit in front of a blank piece of paper or document on a screen and pour out all of your deepest thoughts and feelings, though.
Here are some things to keep in mind when journaling:
Try to do it regularly:
You don’t have to write page after page to be successful with journaling. It’s better to build up a habit of journaling regularly rather than to write one long entry every few months. You’ll see the rewards of journaling more quickly and feel more motivated to continue.
Don’t have too high expectations
You don’t have to write something profound or extraordinary every time you journal. You don’t have to write with the idea that someone will read it someday. If it helps you to feel confident writing down your truth, set aside time afterward to burn what you’ve written so it stays for your eyes only.
Be as creative as you want
Your journal is there for you to use as a tool in whatever way you need. Try to explore different mediums, like paint or collage in your journal. Bullet journaling can also be helpful to some – it lets you be creative in a structured way. Make vision boards and drawings, or whatever helps you and makes you feel at ease. Your journal is a place where you can be fully yourself.
Remember there are no rules
There’s no right or wrong way to have a journal. It’s something that’s 100% for you, so make sure it actually works for you and your lifestyle. You can keep a written journal, or try a journaling app on your device of choice. Your entries don’t have to have any sort of theme – just write what’s coming up for you. Your entries will probably cover a range of things, just like your brain! Some folks find it valuable to explore and release emotions. Others use a journal to brainstorm ways to cope or keep track of triggers and reactions.
Journaling is a cheap and infinitely flexible way to get to know yourself. Getting to know yourself better leads to you feeling more compassionate and loving toward yourself -after all, it’s hard to be mean to someone you know really well. If you’re looking to explore self-love in your journal, here are some prompts to get started:
- What is one thing that I currently really like about myself?
- What is one thing I would change about myself?
- What would shift if I accepted the things I want to change about myself instead of fighting them?
- Is there an area where I could use more confidence? Where is it?
- How do I react when I get a compliment from someone? What would be different if I just accepted compliments?
- What’s a part of myself that I feel like I could never love?
- Picture a younger version of yourself that’s having a hard time with self-love. What would you tell younger you?
- Is there anywhere that I feel unworthy?
- What would it feel like to accept that I’m worthy of love from others and from myself? What would change in your day to day?
- Keep track of some of your self-talk today. What were some of the surprising things you said to yourself today? Were you overall positive or negative?
- Where do I feel resistance in my body when I think about loving myself?
- Is there anything I need to take responsibility for or apologize for?
- Write a letter to yourself forgiving yourself for mistakes you made in your past.
- If you were trying to comfort a friend about a mistake they made in the past, how would you talk to them? Give yourself that same grace.
- Write yourself a love letter.
- What are some ways you’ve changed in the last 5 years? What are some things you’ve learned?
- When you need to reset and recharge, what makes you feel replenished?
- Where do I feel drained? What is on my plate that leaves me feeling unsatisfied?
- What’s something or someone I’m jealous of? What do I think that jealousy means? Is there something I want that someone else has?
- What are negative beliefs I have about myself, my abilities,and my worthiness?
- What am I proud of myself for?
- Write a list of things you can do to make yourself feel great.
- How would my daily routine change if I loved myself?
- Write down some affirmations or mantras about self love, and stick them somewhere you’ll see them. Repeat them to yourself every day, and/or write them over and over in your journal.
- How would someone who loves me describe me?
Whether you decide to answer these in a journal or if you just prefer to read them over and think about your answers, take some time to reflect on a few of the prompts that jump out to you. See what comes up for you. Remember to be gentle and not judge yourself for anything that comes up while you reflect. Another place to safely reflect is in a therapy office with a therapist who can provide insight specific to you and your situation. If you’re interested in talking to someone about how to practice self-love, our clinicians can help.
-Lindsay N Sanner, LSCSW, RPT