Journaling is a powerful tool for combating low self-worth. If you struggle with negative beliefs about yourself, here are seven journal prompts for self-esteem that can help improve your confidence.
For much of my life, I suffered from low self-esteem. I learned early on to hate what I saw in the mirror; after all, I was different from most girls in my school. In my mind, that meant that I wasn’t good enough. I kept myself small to avoid attention, or worse—rejection.
These negative thoughts followed me into adulthood, with significant consequences. A lack of self-confidence led to unhealthy relationships, missed opportunities, and even decades-long shopping addiction. I turned 40 earlier this year, and I’m still unravelling the fears and self-doubts of my youth.
However, there is good news. We all have easy access to a powerful tool for combating negative beliefs: journaling.
My journal is a safe space for me to do inner work, on my own time, without fear of judgement. The following prompts have helped increase my confidence level and develop healthy self-esteem, and I hope that you’ll find them helpful as well.
7 Self-Esteem Journal Prompts
When did you first feel like you weren’t good enough?
Regular readers will know that I talk all the time about getting to the roots of our thoughts and beliefs. We all tell ourselves stories about what we’re capable of, and often, these tales simply aren’t true.
So how do you know what to believe? Well, one thing that has worked for me is going back in time. Reflect on your younger self and ask, “When was the first time I noticed these fears and self-doubts?”.
For example, I held the firm belief that I was a horrible writer for much of my life. As a child, well-meaning family members used to make jokes about my bad spelling.
I know it was just a bit of fun and that they didn’t mean to be hurtful, but regardless, a seed was planted in my mind. I spent the next 20 or so years telling myself that I was a “numbers person” and not a writer.
This is just one example, and it’s been relatively harmless in the long run. But I know that we tell ourselves stories about many things (our appearance, our intelligence, our potential, how loveable we are, etc.) and the fallout can be devastating.
Identifying the origin of your stories doesn’t make them go away, but it can diminish the power they have over you. If you need help letting go of the past, the first step is getting out your journal and explore where your beliefs came from in the first place.
One of my top journaling tips is to be honest with yourself. The more comfortable you get with vulnerability, the closer you’ll get to your truth.
Describe in detail a time when you felt confident. What were you doing, and how did you feel?
Now that you know the stories that leave you feeling small, it’s time to flip the narrative. Think back to a time when you felt confident and proud of yourself.
Describe what you were doing and how you felt in as much detail as possible. Take your time and savour your memories. Let them grow in your heart, and they will slowly smother the defeating stories that are holding you back.
Look for the good things and celebrate your greatest strengths.
It’s human nature to focus on our weaknesses while downplaying our strengths. It’s hard to be objective, which is why journal prompts are so helpful.
Set a timer for 10 minutes and look for examples that challenge your self-doubts. Just write and don’t overthink things. Look for compliments, awards, accomplishments—and remember that the small things matter. List your good qualities and try to use positive adjectives.
I know that it might feel a bit uncomfortable or even silly at first, but that’s because we’re not used to thinking about ourselves in a positive light. So show yourself some love and write about yourself in the same way you might describe a best friend or loved one.
Do it today and do it often. Consider it a daily practice on your self-love journey.
What would make you feel like a more confident person?
It’s hard to feel confident when we’re dealing with uncapped expectations and never-ending comparisons. The sky is the limit; even the hardest working person you know can’t keep up with Elon Musk (who reportedly works 120 hours a week), and it’s hard to feel beautiful next to airbrushed models in magazines.
If these are the standards we hold ourselves to, then how can anyone ever feel good enough? Logically, we know this … but there’s still an all-consuming pressure to be more and do better.
If you can relate, sometimes one of the simplest ways to feel more confident is to get clear on what you’re striving for. Maybe you’ve only been doubting yourself because you’re trying to live by someone else’s rules. Defining what success or being “good enough” looks like for YOU can give you a different perspective.
This is one of the many benefits of journaling. When you put pen to paper, it creates perspective and clears the noise from your mind. You identify feelings, patterns, habits, dreams—things that have always existed deep within you but were hard to see beneath the clutter of daily life.
Write your own self-love affirmations.
Affirmations are short statements that we repeat to ourselves. They aren’t magic (nothing on this list is!), but they can be a great way of rewriting a negative belief for some people.
If you’re not sure where to start, reflect on the previous question (“What would make you feel like a more confident person?”). Use your answers to inspire your unique positive affirmations.
For example, if loving your body would make you feel more confident, you could try experimenting with the affirmation “I love my body”. Or if that feels uncomfortable, start with something that feels more natural, like “I’m grateful for my body”. Incorporate this phrase into a regular journaling practice and observe how your feelings change with time.
Related Post: 5 Ways to Use Your Journal For Self Care
“So what …”
I know that many of these writing prompts have been focused on feel-good activities, like describing your best qualities. But here’s a slightly different approach that can help your self-confidence: asking, “so what?”
- So what if I’m not good at writing?
- So what if last year’s pants don’t fit?
- So what if I laugh too loud at bad jokes?
- So what if people leave negative comments on my blog?
I can let these things mean that I’m failing or living the wrong way—or I can say “so what”.
Maybe I make typos and rely heavily on spell-check. This doesn’t mean that my ideas aren’t worth sharing. And a few extra kilos or the opinions of a stranger on the internet don’t make any less worthy unless I allow it to.
I know this isn’t easy, but give it a try. Ask yourself “so what” or “who cares”, and just see where that line of thinking takes you.
Brainstorm 3 ways to get outside of your comfort zone.
I think that high self-esteem and high-self trust go hand in hand. It’s a confidence boost when we challenge ourselves to do hard things (no matter how small) and then follow through with our plans.
What are three easy ways that you can stretch your comfort zone? It doesn’t have to be dramatic (you don’t have to jump out of a plane to boost confidence!). Instead, something small like reaching out to a new friend, signing up for a class, or going out for a meal on your own might be just enough to change the way you feel about yourself. So get out a pen and make a list.
More Journal Prompts Like These
Journaling is a good way to care for your overall mental health. If you enjoyed today’s post, be sure to check out more of my favourite journal prompts:
- Self Care Journal Prompts For When Times Are Tough
- 6 Morning Journal Prompts That Will Transform Your Day
- 7 Mindful Journaling Prompts to Calm An Anxious Mind
- 21 Journaling Ideas + Prompts For Self-Discovery
Read More About My Journey With Self-Confidence
If you’ve like to hear more about my struggle with self-confidence and self-esteem, check out these blog posts:
- Confidence + Minimalism (Find the Courage to Chase Your Dreams)
- The Long Road to Self Acceptance
- Doing Less + A Lesson in Self-Worth
Do you use journal prompts for personal development? Which ones have helped you most with self-esteem and confidence? Let us know in the comments!