How to Improve Your Self-Esteem Through Journaling

In this eBook, we explore the concept of self-esteem – its influence and impact on our lives and ways to encourage feeling better about ourselves.

INTRODUCTION

Self-esteem is a critical component of the human psyche. It is the perception we have of ourselves and supports the foundation of our personal identity. How we feel about ourselves is key to both our mental and physical health. When negative influences and thoughts are generated either from within ourselves or through others it adversely affects the way we feel about ourselves and the experiences we have in our lives. Over time this can lead to low self-esteem which can reduce the quality of an individual’s life in many different ways. Unchecked, low self-esteem can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, sometimes with tragic results.

In this eBook, we’ll explore the concept of self-esteem – its influence and impact on our lives and ways to encourage feeling better about ourselves.

self-esteem-ebook-1

Download your personal copy of "How to Improve Your Self-Esteem Through Journaling" today!

how-to-improve-your-self-esteem-through-journaling-coverSave your copy as a guide to help and motivate you to take action to improve your self-esteem and live a happier and more fulfilling life you deserve. 

Please complete the form to the right to get your copy of this powerful resource. 

CHAPTER 1 • THE DANGERS OF LOW SELF-ESTEEM

“We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge. Quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness.” – Singer/songwriter Tom Waits

We live in a world today, paradoxically, in which the more “stuff” we have, the less happy we are. Consequently, low self-esteem is on the rise, fueled for many by unhappiness, self-doubt, and frustration that they don’t feel as content and self-satisfied as they would like.

For some, especially older people, entering a new period of their life can trigger self-esteem issues. A mid-life crisis, empty-nest syndrome, retirement – all of these are issues that can suddenly have individuals questioning their self-worth. The looming specter of illness and mortality can subject an older person to fear and anxiety – who am I now and what’s next? All of this can wreak havoc with confidence in their self-worth.

woman-journaling-in-bedSo what causes low self-esteem and a diminished sense of self-worth? Clinical psychologists will tell you that low self-esteem is frequently traced to abusive or dysfunctional early years, the effects of which can persist well into adulthood, as one of my clients, Alison, so clearly describes in a blog post. It can also be attributed to ongoing stressful life events such as relationship breakdowns; financial troubles; poor treatment by a partner, parent, or caregiver; being bullied; or being in an abusive relationship.

Left unchecked, low self-esteem can create mental and physical problems that can manifest themselves in many ways, including:

Self-loathing - While there are times when we all dislike who we are, loathing your thoughts and actions is a classic sign of low self-esteem. Self-hate is characterized by feelings of anger and frustration about who you are and an inability to forgive yourself for even the smallest of mistakes.

Perfection obsession - Perfectionism is one of the more destructive aspects of low self-esteem. A perfectionist is someone who lives with a constant sense of failure because their achievements, no matter how impressive, don’t ever quite feel good enough.

Negative body image - This can especially affect women. A negative body image is often linked to low self-esteem and vice versa. It can affect every aspect of your life, from how you behave in relationships, to how you project yourself at work and in your personal life. It can even prevent you from taking care of your health because you might feel that your body is defective anyway and not worth the effort.

Having nothing to offer - We all feel inadequate in certain areas and times of our lives, but a deep-rooted sense of worthlessness comes from believing that somehow we are not as valuable as other people and we have nothing to bring to the table in most, if not all, situations.

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Oversensitivity - Being too sensitive is one of the more painful aspect of low self-esteem. Whether you’re quick to anger over the slightest criticism or annoyed by otherwise innocent comments, oversensitivity can be a major stumbling block to developing healthy relationships.

Fear and anxiety - Baseless fear and a belief that you’re powerless to change anything are directly linked to low self-esteem.

Pleasing others - An overwhelming need to please others in a misguided way to get them to respect, like, or even love you can be exhausting and leave you feeling used and manipulated.

Low self-esteem can cause you to make self-destructive decisions such as accepting mistreatment or harming yourself through addiction (as another client, Ollie, expressed so well in another post) promiscuity, developing eating disorders, or indulging in unnecessary cosmetic surgery. It can even cause you to harm others through actions such as bullying and cheating in an effort to make you feel better about yourself.

Let’s face it -- any negative life event or reaction can cause you to doubt yourself. That’s only natural. We all have times when things do not go as we think they should. However, persistent negativity and self-doubt are indicators of low self-esteem and need to be addressed. The world can feel lonely and trying to find the right resources to help can be daunting and even confusing. Fortunately, there is help available from a wide range of public and private sources. But the first place to start is within yourself.

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CHAPTER 2 • POSITIVE OUTCOMES:THE BENEFITS OF HIGH SELF-ESTEEM

beautiful-beauty-carefree-journalingPositive self-esteem supports feelings of personal value, happiness, and competency in the things you do. These feelings can often motivate you to seek success in your life, including areas such as relationships, career, money, health, and independence.

Having, or developing, a positive self-image can help you meet – and defeat – life’s challenges, such as abusive relationships, poor health, financial problems, and even physical disabilities. The ability to achieve positive self-esteem is important in everyone’s life.

So why is building and maintaining positive self-esteem so critical? Here are some of the beneficial aspects of healthy self-worth:

  • You are more resilient to difficulties that are inevitable in life. When your self-esteem is high, you have the ability and skills to bounce back from failure, learn from your mistakes, and make adjustments to improve your situation. You are able to turn adversity into a positive learning experience.
  • You feel happy and content with your life because you respect and like yourself and other people, in turn, respect and like you.
  • You feel more motivated to achieve your goals because high self-esteem makes you trusted by other people and enhances your confidence in your ability to succeed. As a result, you are more motivated to take actions.
  • You enjoy better relationships with friends, family, and partners; you attract successful, confident people who like and respect you for your positive energy.
  • You can accept challenges because you’re confident in your strengths and know you can master just about anything.
  • You perform tasks better – personal, educational, or work-related.
  • Your life is more exciting. You’re able to live your life to the fullest, use every opportunity that presents itself, and take risks because you feel confident that you can succeed and achieve your goals.
  • You realize that you don’t need to be perfect so you feel less stressed about things such as your appearance and the tasks you undertake. You’re not afraid to make mistakes because you understand that everyone makes mistakes and that’s okay.
  • You can be yourself and do not need to adapt your behavior, values, and views to meet the expectations of other people. You no longer worry if people disagree with your views and opinions. You don’t need their approval. You realize it’s impossible to please everyone and that you should do what you think is right.
  • You become more successful in life. You respect yourself and respect everyone around you. You present a positive image that contributes to your personal and professional growth.

Positive self-esteem serves a motivational function by making it more likely that people will take care of themselves and explore their full potential. Individuals with high self-esteem are positively motivated and persistently strive to fulfill personal goals and aspirations. People with lower self-esteem don’t tend to regard themselves as worthy of happy outcomes or capable of achieving them and so tend to let important things slide and be less persistent and resilient in terms of overcoming adversity. They may have the same kinds of goals as people with higher self-esteem, but they are generally less motivated to pursue them to a positive conclusion.

In short, positive self-esteem will make you a better person. If you value all the good things about yourself, you’ll be able to establish positive relationships with others. You’ll also function better at home, in school, and at work. Learning will become easier because you’re better able to process input and feedback – positive and negative – and use it to continue to improve yourself.

CHAPTER 3 • GETTING TO WORK ON YOUR SELF-WORTH

Self-esteem isn’t determined by the social success we achieve, our physiques or our popularity. In fact, it doesn’t depend on anything we don’t already control. On the contrary, it depends on our own rationality, responsibility, and integrity.

Unfortunately, most people seek confidence and self-respect in places other than within themselves. And that’s why their searching fails -- because we forget that we’re the ones who have the power to define who we are and whether we like that image or not. The secret lies in not judging ourselves.

If we don’t analyze our own self-esteem, no one else will do it for us. Taking the time to observe how we view and value ourselves is a fundamental part of understanding the mental and emotional traps we unintentionally set for ourselves. This is where journaling comes in as a highly-effective tool for gauging the status of your self-esteem and determining what you might need to do to improve it.

Journaling is a great way to evaluate self-esteem because it helps a person explore their inner thoughts and issues. It provides an opportunity to continually re-center and stay hand-journal-notebook-outsidecentered in their life. There are many journaling methods that can help a person build self-esteem and succeed in life. Affirmative journaling is an incredibly powerful self-help tool once you unleash it, as a third client, Casey, reveals in a post in which he writes about how journaling positively changed his life.

Journaling helps us understand that how we behave is, in large part, a response to the outside world. Journaling helps us to understand and process the memories we’ve been carrying around and provides an opportunity to engage in internal exploration and self-discovery that can uncover why our self-esteem is in the state that it’s in, positive or negative. It’s a free discovery process that you can conduct with yourself to determine what you think and why you think it. By journaling on a routine basis you can monitor and manage what’s really going on inside your psyche and develop a fresh perspective about yourself.

There are a number of ways you can use journaling for self-reflection and to start examining your sense of self-worth. Sometimes, however, it helps to have some prompts that can jumpstart the process for you.

To that end, here are 20 helpful prompts to promote a dialog with yourself and how you think about yourself:

  • Write a list of things you’re grateful for
  • List your strengths and weaknesses
  • What individuals have had the greatest impact on your life (good or bad) and why?
  • Describe how you’ve changed in the last five or ten years
  • Are those changes positive or negative or both?
  • How often do you feel like you do tasks for praise?

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  • Write a letter to your teenage self and use your life experiences to mentor them
  • If you could go anywhere for any reason, where would you go and why?
  • What was the happiest moment in your life and why?
  • What is your most treasured possession and why?
  • What do you fear the most?
  • What is your favorite photo of yourself and why?
  • What inspires you?
  • What is your guilty pleasure?
  • Write about the last time you cried
  • Write about the last time you yelled in anger or felt like yelling
  • What physical characteristics are you most self-conscious about and why?
  • What is your biggest pet peeve and why?
  • If you had a theme song what would it be and why?
  • What excites you about your future?

woman-journaling-with-coffee-1Journaling provides an opportunity for you to know your worth and appreciate your skills, knowledge, attitude, and behavior in ways that can help build self-esteem. It is your inner self that will help you evaluate and value your qualities and abilities so you can come to appreciate them more. This will make it easier for you to take charge of your actions and utilize the power you have over yourself.

 

CONCLUSION • THE WAY FORWARD

Individuals with low self-esteem tend to see the world as a hostile place and themselves as victims. As a result, they feel powerless to change things and are reluctant to express and assert themselves. They miss out on rewarding experiences and opportunities, which lowers their self-esteem still further, sucking them into a downward spiral. But fortunately, as we discussed earlier, all of this is within their control to alter in a positive way.

Self-esteem evolves over the course of your life. How it evolves is up to you. It begins with learning to accept yourself for who you are, and being accepted by others for who you are as well -- not what anyone, including yourself thinks you should be. Journaling will help show you the way.

Self-esteem is dynamic – it can change frequently depending on a host of factors such as your physical or mental condition, outside influences, and stress. This why it’s important to take the opportunity to turn self-worth into a more positive part of who you are, challenging the image you may see in your internal mirror.

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“Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend.” 6th century Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu

Confidence can only be felt when you are happy from within. As an integral part of positive self-esteem, confidence cannot be found through outside sources – you control it. Think about your accomplishments – and even the smallest is an achievement -- and how each and every one has taken you one step forward towards your goals.

Recognize that you deserve the opportunities coming your way and accept that you deserve to be happy. Believe in your worth and be proud that you are looking for ways to build self-esteem. It is your hard work and determination that have helped you accomplish the positive things in your life. And that is no small achievement. 

NEED HELP?

Before you say, “journaling isn’t for me – I can’t write to save my life,” it’s important to realize that we’re not talking about publishing a novel. We’re talking about jotting down your thoughts, ideas, responses, and perceptions in free form. You won’t be graded and you won’t be turned down by a publisher.

Best of all, you don’t need a lot of time to journal. As little as ten or fifteen minutes a day will go a long way in working through problems and finding effective solutions. And we’re ready to help you here at CreateWriteNow.

mari-tallFounder and Chief Inspiration Officer Mari L. McCarthy is an award-winning, international best-selling self-help author and therapeutic journaling mentor. In fact, Mari’s first-hand experience with therapeutic journaling has helped her recover from multiple sclerosis and led her to establish her journal therapy mentoring practice.

What sets CreateWriteNow apart from other therapeutic journaling practices is its focus on the individual, not the mechanics of writing. Gaining a deeper understanding of clients, who they are, the challenges they’re facing, and where they’d like to be with their lives enables Mari to be highly effective in helping them reach their goals.

CreateWriteNow offers personal, one-on-one therapeutic journal mentoring and over 20 self-paced journaling courses to help clients address specific issues and challenges.

Isn’t it time you improved your self-esteem with the help of journaling? If every day seems like a struggle, it’s time to start journaling and begin the journey to the better, more fulfilling life you deserve.

Download your personal copy of "How to Improve Your Self-Esteem Through Journaling" today!

how-to-improve-your-self-esteem-through-journaling-coverSave your copy as a guide to help and motivate you to take action to improve your self-esteem and live a happier and more fulfilling life you deserve. 

Please complete the form to the right to get your copy of this powerful resource.