While I don't get to do it, nearly as much as I used to (because when you write for a living, doing what I'm about to share in your leisure time, often feels like, well, work), something that I am trying to make time for (again) is journaling. Even though it's been a hot minute since I've done it on a daily (or even weekly) basis, I recently revisited some of my journal collection—and man. While the act of journaling is proven to de-stress, organize thoughts, set goals and inspire creativity, what I really like about it is journaling is a great way to self-reflect. When you actually make the time to document your own thoughts and feelings, on a consistent basis, and then you reread the things that you said six months, one year or even 10 years ago—it really can blow your mind to do a compare and contrast of where you are now vs. where you used to be as a person. As a bonus, journaling can bring a lot of clarity to your mind and spirit too.
When it comes to types of journaling, believe it or not, there are all kinds that you can do. For instance, off the top of my head, our platform has covered bullet journaling as well as sex journaling. But what I wanna spend some time on today, is why you should absolutely consider a method known as self-love journaling. Whether journaling is a part of your daily routine or it's something that you've never done before, hopefully this article will convince you to, at least give the practice of writing down words with a total self-love focus (ooo, doesn't that sound good?), a shot.
What’s Self-Love Journaling?
Last year, I wrote an article entitled, "Every Woman Should Write A Love Letter To Themselves". If you've yet to check it out (or you'd like the CliffsNotes version as a reminder), it was basically a write-up on why it's important to write a letter, expressing the love that you have for yourself; not just write it but revisit the words from time to time as well. Well, self-love journaling is very similar to this, only with two main differences.
One, if you're someone who struggles with your self-esteem (don't feel bad about that; most of us have at some point or another in our lives), sometimes being told to simply "love yourself" can prove to be so much easier said than done; even when it comes to sitting down and writing words of love, admiration and respect to yourself. Well, self-love journaling can help to inspire and even "prompt" you to come up with ways to see yourself in a positive and self-nurturing light.
Another difference between self-love journaling and simply writing yourself a love letter is it's something that you don't do just once. Some people do it every day. Many people do it as a seasonal project. What I mean by that is, they may implement a 30-day period where they set aside time, either every morning or every night, to write in their journal. Then, after the 30 days are up, they will write a closing paragraph about all of what they self-discovered during that period of time. They might leave the paragraph in their journal or they might print it out, frame it and hang it up as a piece of art in their home. Then, they make a point to do it every winter, spring, summer and fall, in order to keep track of their progress.
Basically, self-love journaling is all about using a journal to cultivate ways to learn more about you, so that you can love yourself better. An added bonus to this is, once you know how to love you, you are better equipped to teach others how to do the same.
Here’s How to Start Doing It
If the more you read about self-love journaling, the more down you are for doing it, how about I share some steps for how to get started.
Start off with a fresh new journal. Make sure it's not some grocery store notebook or even a generic-looking journal that you would find at a local bookstore. Remember, this is all about cultivating self-love, so invest in a journal that represents either how you feel about yourself or how you want to end up feeling about yourself in due time. The fancier and individualized, the better.
Create an atmosphere for journaling. This exercise isn't gonna go as well as it should if you simply decide to plop down on your couch and scribble down a few words while you're watching television. You need to create a haven of peace and tranquility. Hey, no joke. Invest in some scented candles. Put on some music that makes you feel nothing but good. Put your smartphone in another room. Make sure you're wearing something comfy. Consider doing a little meditating first. And then, get to writing. Writing what? This brings us to the next instruction.
Consider incorporating some self-love prompts. If you're like, "I don't know how to start" or "I don't know what to say", I get it; not a problem. Sometimes prompts can inspire your juices to get to flowing. When it comes to self-love journaling, I've got some that might be able to motivate you a bit.
- What is your favorite thing about yourself?
- What are your special gifts and talents?
- In a perfect world, what is your idea of a perfect day?
- When's the last time you pampered yourself? Why did you do those things?
- If you were a flower, what kind would you be and why?
- What does love mean to you? Do you personally reflect that definition?
- When's the last time you've forgiven yourself?
- What do you want to get more out of in life?
- How do you feel God sees you?
- What are the wonderful things that you bring to your relationships?
- Do you believe that you deserve the very best things in life? Why or why not?
- What are five of your favorite personal character traits?
- What do you love about your mind, body and spirit?
- How can you love yourself better?
- What's holding yourself back from loving yourself more?
Set aside (at least) 15-30 minutes to respond to one of those prompts. I only shared 15 prompts that came to mind. However, if you go to your favorite search engine and you put "self-love prompts" in the search field, there are many others that you can choose from. Anyway, pick a question each day, then set aside some time to answer it. Some days, the answer might be a sentence long while, on others, it might be 2-3 pages. Don't worry about that. Just share what comes to your mind and stop when you start to feel overwhelmed or like you are forcing the process. On some days, you will have an "answer" that feels pretty close to being complete while, on others, you might not get much out. Remember, you can always revisit the prompt. Just make sure that you log in the date and time, every time you write something down for each prompt, so that you can track your insights and, eventually, your progress.
Try and initially make a self-love journaling commitment. What I mean by this is, once you start self-love journaling, you might want to do it all of the time. But for starters, commit to seven, 10 or 30 days. No matter what else is happening in your world, stick with it doing it every single day of your designated time. Sometimes it will be a great stress release. Some days, you will find yourself excited to write an entry. Other days, you might prefer to go to the dentist for a root canal if writing about yourself if super challenging. Yet trust me—the more you get used to loving on yourself in this fashion, the more self-love journaling will become about as natural as bathing or breathing even.
Why Self-Journaling Is the Ultimate Emotional Self-Care Exercise
Belgian fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg (who just happens to be credited for the wrap dress), once said something that I really like and can personally vouch for—"When a woman becomes her own best friend, life is easier." Lord, y'all, mere words cannot even begin to express, how much unnecessary-ness we could avoid if we simply loved ourselves more and better. By making the time to self-love journal, you'll be amazed by all of the things that you'll learn, relearn and also release in the process.
Back when I was prayer journaling (something we'll have to tackle at another time), the more spiritual revelation that I received, the stronger in my purpose I became. And the times when I've self-love journaled, it has actually helped me to get clarity on a relationship, create boundaries with certain people in my life, set aside money to pamper myself, actually implement self-celebration rituals (oh, I'm good for toasting myself!) and, not just set standards but raise them, both personally as well as professionally.
That's why I say that self-love journaling is the ultimate emotional self-care exercise, and yes, Ms. Von Furstenberg is spot-on. The more you love you, the more you end up liking yourself. And the more you like yourself, the more you only want to be around those who feel the same way about you as you do.
I really could go on and on about self-love journaling because that's just how dope it is. For now, I hope I've provided you with, at least enough reason, to purchase a journal and give it a shot. After all, how can you lose when you're actively doing something that helps you to love yourself more? My thoughts exactly.
Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.
Featured image by Shutterstock
After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Take Our 2-Minute Wellness Quiz To Up Your Self-Care Game!
Black women are not a monolith. We all are deserving of healing and wholeness despite what we've been through, how much money we have in the bank, or what we look like. Most importantly, we are enough—even when we are not working, earning, or serving.
Welcome to Black Girl Whole, your space to find the wellness routine that aligns with you! This brand-new marketplace by xoNecole is a safe space for Black women to activate their healing, find the inspiration to rest, and receive reassurance that we are one small act away from finding our happiness.
Want to discover where you are on your wellness journey? You don't have to look far. In partnership with European Wax Center, we're bringing you a customized wellness quiz to help you up your wellness game. Answer our short series of questions to figure out which type of wellness lover you are, what you need to bring more balance into your life, and then go deeper by shopping products geared towards clearing your mind, healing your body, and soothing your spirit.
Ready to get whole? Take our quiz now!
‘Sistas’ Star KJ Smith Reveals How She Learned The Value Of Divine Timing
Actress KJ Smith's inspiring journey within the entertainment industry is a testament to how believing in oneself and trusting in divine timing can pave the way for success.
Over the years, Smith, whose acting career began in 2009, has appeared in various television shows and films before landing her leading role in BET's Sistas in 2019.
Since then, the 38-year-old's success has skyrocketed as she starred in other projects, such as Fatal Affair alongside Nia Long and Omar Epps, The Family Business, and Power Book III: Raising Kanan. Smith recently opened up about her experience during Black Love's The You Retreat discussion panel.
KJ On Success
In the panel last month, Smith revealed that despite her past achievements, she doesn't consider success to be a linear path but rather a continuous process.
The star shared that she gained this logic through the numerous times she auditioned for roles and has either received rejections or landed job opportunities. During that process, Smith added that she learned that if something was ordained in her life, that said thing would come to her.
"I think the phrase ‘made it’ is a little deceiving. It's a process of continuing to make it. How you know it's for you is when it's undeniable," she said.
KJ On Divine Timing
As the conversation continued, Smith recalled a particular moment when she didn't land an undisclosed role she thought was destined for her and expressed how heartbroken she was.
Still, the actress preserved and ultimately got the next gig she auditioned for a day after reading for that role.
"Actually, my first pilot, it was written for a white male, and at the time, I had just lost out on a role I had tested for. For something that I was like, 'This is actually me!' I tested for it, didn't get it. At the time, I was so heartbroken, " she explained.
“The next thing I booked... it was the quickest audition I had ever done. I literally went into the room. I did one scene, and then the next day, they were like, 'You're booked. We need you to fly to New Orleans.'"
Later, Smith mentioned that since that moment occurred in her life, she had shifted her mindset about not receiving certain things and that divine timing plays a role in "everything."
"That was mine, and no one else could have had that. That belonged to me, so now I'm like, 'No, it's going to be good thing, after good thing, after good thing, after good thing. Because nothing happens to me, everything happens for me," she said.
Smith continues to inspire her fans by using her social media platform to spread the message about trusting God's plan for one's life.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images