Self-reflection is the foundation to developing strong and healthy self-esteem. Without looking inward, honoring your struggles and acknowledging your strengths, it becomes difficult to grow and change. Identifying emotions and experiences that keep you blocked, or limiting beliefs that may no longer serve you perpetuates the cycle of low self-esteem and negative thinking. Writing exercises and activities can help you gain insight into the inner workings of your mind and improve self-esteem.
Journaling can help balance and regulate your emotions, as well as provide a sense of validation that truly builds your self-esteem. I often ask my clients to journal, with prompts or just about their day as it helps us gain insight into how their mind is processing emotions.
Simply writing about what went well today or what you’d like to improve on tomorrow are ways to connect with yourself. As a result, whether it be the prompts below, or just writing about your day, you’ll experience a greater sense of flexibility and an ongoing confidence. By self-reflecting, we can find the meaning to what we do daily and become more aligned with our goals.
Six Journaling Prompts for Stronger Self-Esteem
Grab a piece of paper, your journal if you have one, and a pen. Allot five minutes or so to answer each question, more if you’d like. You don’t have to do them all, just find one that resonates with you. Don’t judge your thoughts, just get them out. This helps you to get out thoughts you may not know existed, enhance creativity and help you connect with yourself on a deeper level.
1) “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” – Buddha. Think of someone who you have animosity or resentment towards and write about the feelings they evoke in you. Then write about how it would feel to release this resentment. How this may change your life and improve your self-esteem. What would it be like to try and forgive them, and possibly yourself? Here’s an example:
My brother is such a selfish jerk, he didn’t even call me on my birthday, let alone congratulate me on my new job. It is hurtful to have sibling like this and not fair. I know he won’t change and it makes me so sad. Whenever I think of him I get so angry. He should know better, but he doesn’t and I have to accept that. I am going to try and remind myself that he’s never been supportive and that I am only hurting myself by expecting him to change. He may just never be able to be the brother that I want. It sucks and it’s not helping me to continue thinking about him.
2) How did you take care of yourself this week? What did you do for your body or mind that showed yourself some L-O-V-E?
3) Write your acknowledgements page. In the book of your life, who would you thank? Write down the names and the reasons why these special people deserve a spot in your book and why you are grateful to have them in your life.
4) Challenge your career path. If you suddenly inherited an enormous sum of money, meaning you could quit your job and live a life of luxury, what would you do? What would this financial freedom allow you to explore? How would you spend your time? Think of ways you can do some of this even without unlimited funds.
5) What do I want? Think about what you’ve been putting off, feeling down about or have been inspired to do, but just haven’t had the courage or time to start. Maybe it’s a project at home or a class at the community college. Write about how it would feel to start this task and complete it.
6) What would “high school you” love about you now? Think about what you’ve accomplished and who you are now; why would high school you be proud?
The reason I am asking you to self-reflect is so that you can start focusing on the life you want and validate your everyday actions that get you there. Good luck and happy writing.
Take Good Care,
Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are.You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.