I absolutely love the subject matter for today’s post, which is how to create a self-love journal template that really works for you. The reason is that for the longest time I didn’t love myself, I had no self-love.
With my lack of self-love came: low self-esteem, low self-confidence and low self-prioritisation.
By low self-prioritisation what I mean is that I found it really difficult to prioritise my life: my career, my income, my goals. Even though I was ambitious for myself I was, for a period of time, unable to fulfil those ambitions.
On the surface I didn’t look like I had low self-anything. But inside me I knew there was something wrong. I just couldn’t identify it.
It was only my journey towards myself, my self-help journey, that got me to self-love.
This blog is going to recreate that journey with this self-love journal template which will cover the following:
Identifying causes for mental scars
Re-connecting you with your younger self
Daily self-care routine
self-love journal prompts
Self love journaling (self-love time line)
First let’s start by asking,
What is self-love?
Self-love is the state of having a positive regard for oneself. A positive regard for oneself means being able to accept and enjoy ones own ideas, feelings and actions. Self-love is a mix of self-confidence, self-esteem and high self-prioritisation.
Symptoms of low levels of self-love
Can you spot low levels of self-love in your own life? Your experience of low levels of self-love may look something like this:
3 symptoms of low self-love
Mental health Anxiety
I have experienced quite high levels of anxiety in my life and you may have too. The anxiety arose because I felt that my work wasn’t good enough. I took criticism very badly and felt that it was personal rather than work oriented. I feared getting older, I feared dying before I was ready to die.
Anxiety Slayer is a podcast that has greatly helped me I would definitely recommend that to you.
You may also have high levels of anxiety My anxiety levels were huge, and there is a reason that they were so huge and peaked like they did, which brings me on to the second symptom of low self-love:
I had very little self-confidence. I had created a life for myself that blanketed myself from needing to have self-confidence. You may be the same. Do you set goals for yourself but but never achieve them? Do you avoid anything that might stretch you and your abilities? Low self-confidence is often accompanied by:
I had a very low opinion of myself but I didn’t realise how low, I just thought I was ‘coping’ and ‘getting through a hard time’. My low self-esteem developed slowly over time. As an adult I would look at other women being confident in the workplace or in their opinion of themselves and wonder how they did it.
Low levels of self-prioritisation can trace their roots back to when you were a child. Women in particular may suffer from this as children if they had male siblings who were prioritised in any way.
If you are a mother or a carer you may have chronically low levels of self-prioritisation simply because everyone else’s needs make such demands on you.
The good news is that when you start to see that your levels of self -confidence -esteem or -prioritisation are low, there are many positive ways that you can turn that ship around.
Learning to prioritise yourself and your self care is the start of developing a healthy self-love for yourself and I’m really delighted to be writing this blog post in the hope that, when you read it, you too, can start to heal from past negative experiences and develop a life for yourself that is rich and full of joy.
Your self-love journal template
Here is a template that is a great way to get started. You can use it and also adapt and develop it for yourself.
Identifying causes for mental scars
One of the best ways to start to develop a beautiful self-love is to identify what events happened in your life that stopped you from thinking that you are an amazing human being and worthy of the best life.
So let’s go back and identify what may have happened to dent your feelings of self worth.
The next steps are not intended to be a medical procedure, or any kind of medical diagnosis. They are intended to help you understand yourself better and understand any form of negative belief in your life that has led you not to take better care of yourself, and then to gently point you back in the right direction to a loving self esteem and caring self-love.
ACTION: Sitting in a quiet place do a mental scan of your life. What events or occurences happened that made you feel like you had done something wrong or were different to people in any way. What age were you?
Write these thoughts down in your journal. If you keep a bullet journal write them as notes using the dash symbol. You don’t need to be overly descriptive. You just need to write out what the events were and, looking back at yourself, how you thought then.
When you have finished writing, go back to what you have written and say this, or something like this, out loud. Saying something out loud is a great tool to use on yourself. It really concretes your actions in the present, the here and now. The first thing to do is to say it out loud and the second thing to do is write it in your journal.
So, say it out loud like this (or your version):
” [your name] I acknowledge the experience you had when you were [X years old ] and [list out what happened]. I acknowledge that you felt [insert the emotion that you felt]. I want you to know that I love you and accept you. I want you to know that you always were, and always are, totally lovable, acceptable and perfect just as you are.”
Then when you have finished saying it out loud, write it down in your diary.
This really is one of the most powerful tools that you can use on yourself. I have welled up and been quite teary doing it for myself, so be prepared for some unexpected emotion to break through.
Moving on to the next section.
Reconnecting with your younger self
There will have been a time in your life, most probably when you were a child, when you felt fine, when everything in your life was fine, where there was no anxiety, no lack, no feeling that you were in the wrong life, should be experiencing life differently, or could go down a different life path and be a lot happier.
So, let’s go back to that time and place
Sit for five or ten minutes quietly in any position or place, somewhere where you are not distracted. Go back in your memory to the last time you remember being carefree and without worry. I don’t mean that you have to have experienced no worry at all or never had a bad day. Just a time in your life when in general you were happy in your own skin and felt good in yourself.
You may go back a few years or you may go back many years. Just take your time and imagine that child in your mind.
What is she doing? How is she acting? What emotions are you feeling from her?
Let your mind wander becasue where it ends up might not be what you are expecting.
Write down what you are thinking and what emotions come up for you.
Similar to the last exercise say it out loud to affirm the experience to yourself. And then write it in your journal
Say it like this (or again you can use your own version or adapt mine):
“[your name] I can see that experience I had when I was [X years old] and [describe the time]. I am that person today and I have huge love and compassion for that time in my life.”
Those two exercises are very powerful and you can use them like journaling prompts any time you might need a boost to bring you right back to self-love
Daily self-care routine
Now that we have looked back at your life we are now going to create a self-care routine for you which is going to be like your daily check-in to make sure that you are acting from a place of self-love towards yourself.
In order to create your routine you need to work out how much time you have during the day to spend on yourself and when in the day this time is.
For example you might have forty five minutes in the morning and an hour in the evening that you can devote to yourself.
List out what self-care looks like to you. Use your journal for this. One of the benefits of journaling is that you can record lists like this and come back to them when you need them. Plus if you keep a self-love journal then you will always know where your self-love prompts are when you need them!
Here are some self-care ideas:
any form of exercise, painting your nails, giving yourself a facial/face pack, reading, tidying a room, flower arranging, taking time to have breakfast/any meal, taking a bath, getting ready leisurely, doing a hobby, keeping a gratitude journal, undertaking creative writing, playing a musical instrument, playing with your pets.
Some self-care actions you will undertake every day. What can you do, on a daily basis, that feels like self-care to you? My daily self-care actions are exercise and eating well, not feeling rushed.
What are self-care actions that you would like to do every day or nearly every day but you are currently not doing?
And, finally, what would you like to do on a semi-regular basis that feels like self-care to you?
This section of actions is a bit more challenging than the previous steps. In order to practice healthy self-love you need confidence and in order to develop confidence you need challenges and opportunities to build your character. Building your character involves doing things you haven’t done before.
All this is to say that you are going to feel uncomfortable and it’s not going to feel like self-love at all. But it will lead you, via higher self-esteem and self-confidence, right to a healthy self-love which your future self is going to thank you for.
What areas in your life can you challenge yourself on? The is no right or wrong answer for this question. It’s a personal question: What can you do in your life that will test you and/or challenge you in some way.
This is a great point at which to use your daily journal for some goal setting. Try and identify a personal goal, a work goal and a something you have always wanted to do but never done goal.
These tasks are not going to be completed in a day so you will need to create a separate journal or space in your current journal to track your daily planner activities, mental well-being while you are undertaking your challenge(s), the biggest struggle you face while completing it etc. Anything that you can track that is relevant to achieving your goal should go in your journal.
There are posts in the post library on How to achieve any goal and using journaling to track your self improvement goals which may help you at this point in your self-love journey.
Self-love journal prompts
At any point in your life, you may greatly benefit from self-love journal prompts.
I noticed for myself that as I started to accept myself, phrases popped into my head that I just never would have said before. One of the first happened one day as I was walking the dogs and what I thought was,
“I am not afraid to be me.”
It was such a magical moment. It happened over five years ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. I think one of the reasons why I still remember it is because I wrote it down and have reread it since.
Another phrase which popped into my head was,
“I didn’t make wrong decisions, I made the right decisions for me”
Again it just popped into my head just like that.
These phrases that come into our minds are like gold, so when that happens for you, record it quickly before it goes. They are so fleeting! But, once recorded they are like rocks in your life, anchoring you to all that is good, so get them down in your journal by whatever means possible!
If you don’t have any currently really great self-love writing prompts then borrow someone else’s until you do have your own! Just make sure that the phrase really resonates with you. If it’s a quote, make the ‘you’s into ‘I’s so that it’s more personal.
Finally, start journaling about your self-love journey.
- You could write out a time line of your journey, noting down moments of breakthrough or of self realisation when thoughts or events happened that strengthened your send of self-love. I would recommend you put this in a particular place in your journal for example at the front. It’s a long term project and you’ll want to go back to it again and again and not forget about it or forget where it is.
- Write yourself a love letter. Tell yourself what you love about yourself, what you admire, why you enjoy being with you.
- Write yourself a love letter every six months. Observe how the language you use about yourself changes. Are you getting more compassionate about yourself. If not, why not?
- Keep a list of three ways that you experience self-love each day. It doesn’t have to be something big, it can be really small. Keeping a list like this can also be really useful because you can see where you are blocking self-love ie not doing things because you think you are not worth it.
- Write out your affirmations every day. For some people this is really important and makes a real difference to how they feel.
I hope this blog post has been helpful to you in your journey towards yourself.
If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy:
Powerful journal therapy ideas to heal anxiety and trauma
Simple mindfulness journal prompts and practices to appreciate life better
17 reflection journal prompts to get to know yourself better