Journaling is an activity that can benefit you in so many ways, and
there are many different kinds of journals you can keep. This is an underrated
ritual that can truly help you toward increasing your self-love. One simple journaling
idea is to just focus on what you did well each day. It involves finding one
thing that you did or accomplished that made you feel good. This one little act
can have surprising results. Continue reading to discover more about journaling
and how this practice can enhance the amount of self-love you feel.
Journaling is pretty much what it sounds like. It involves writing your
thoughts in a dedicated place on a regular basis. This can be in a traditional
paper journal or you can choose a digital format. Your journal doesn’t have to
be fancy. It can be a simple college-ruled notebook or the notes app on your
phone. If you want to make it more personal or detailed, choose a beautifully
bound leather journal or an app with lots of features dedicated to the practice
of journaling. What matters is that you use it on a regular basis to help
process your thoughts in some way. You can free write, jot down what you’re
grateful for, or follow writing prompts. There are countless ways to use your
Benefits of Journaling
The benefits of journaling are numerous. Keeping a journal can help you
to gather your thoughts and make sense of your feelings. It can help you to
note patterns in your life, helping you to make change. Writing in your journal
can be cathartic and help you to heal past traumas. It can improve your
emotional intelligence and relationships by helping you get in touch with and
make sense of your feelings. Journaling can create a sense of mindfulness,
focusing you on the here and now. It can also spark your creativity by
providing you with an outlet for your thoughts, feelings, and moods.
Why Journal Your Accomplishments?
Taking the time at the end of each day to journal just one good thing
you did that day can be an empowering exercise. As you already know, it can be
so easy to give into that naysayer and listen to the negative messages in your
mind. You forget about your positive qualities and what you do well. Even the
smallest thing can count. Writing down these accomplishments boosts your
self-esteem. It also gives you written validation to return to on the days
you’re feeling down or defeated. Just look back through these journal entries
to see all the ways you’ve been successful, and you’ll see just how capable you
are and that you will succeed in the future.
Hopefully, you now see how such a simple journaling technique can make a big difference when it comes to changing a negative mindset. Give it a try and see how it works for you.
The world is in the midst of crisis with this COVID-19 pandemic. Our minds are overwhelmed with current difficulties as well as many, many imagined future crises. We are continuously consuming information that further inflames our mental drama. So, how do we get through this without losing our minds?
First of All, It’s Normal
Your brain is designed to scan for danger. It’s how it keeps you safe. If you are having mental drama it just means you are a human with a normally functioning brain. We live in a world of information at our fingertips. We watch the news, read the paper, scroll social media – all of it vying for our attention with headlines and information that scare us even more. Your brain wants you to think that you need ALL this information. You can decide how much information to let in.
It’s understandable to want to learn the current updates. But be sure to give equal (or more) time to good stuff. Learn something new, read your Bible, play some great music, make a list of things you’re grateful for or that you’ve noticed in the last week.
Mind Your Thoughts
Pay attention to your thinking. Now is a great time to practice the habit of doing a thought download. Every day grab a sheet of paper and empty out your brain. All the crazy thoughts, the anxiety, the words swirling around in your brain. Literally write it with a pen or pencil. There’s something therapeutic about the mind, hand, paper connection. You can keep the paper or throw it out when you’re done, but get them out of your head.
Write, write, write. Empty out your brain. Don’t think about proper sentences or proper grammar or punctuation. Just write.
Feel Your Feelings
Once you’ve done that, let yourself feel. We spend so much time and energy pushing away negative emotions. We buffer them with food, alcohol, TV, games and more. Anything to not feel them. Go ahead and feel the actual sensations in your body. Let it flow through you. Sometimes it helps to name the feelings and to describe how they feel in your body. Often, in doing this, you will feel the intensity lessen. You may feel some relief from not trying to push them down.
Focus on the Good
Now that you’ve let your brain do what it was designed to do, and you’ve let yourself feel your feelings instead of trying to tamp them down, it’s time to redirect your brain. Spend some time focusing on things that you know to be good, and true, and right (Philippians 4:8-10). Write down the things that you are grateful for, think about what you are learning through your situation and the areas for growth, speak out loud what you want to spend time focusing on.
As you practice this – the negative and the positive things of life – your brain will get better and better at acknowledging your fears and concerns, feeling your feelings, and then acknowledging that there is also good out there.
Ask for Help
If you’d like some help sorting out your thinking and going through this process, I’m offering some free coaching sessions over the next few months. Grab a spot here.
By now, you should have a fairly good idea of what self-love is and why it’s important. You know that confidence and self-awareness are essential components of loving yourself. What you might be wondering is how to start practicing self-love on a regular basis so that you can begin to internalize new ways of thinking. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to cultivate self-love on a regular basis. Take a look.
Focus on the Here and Now
Too often, we find ourselves looking at the past with longing or waiting for someday. It’s hard to love yourself and your life when you don’t appreciate what you have in the moment. Centering yourself on the present, being mindful, and practicing gratitude are quick ways to cultivate an appreciation for what you have right now. We often think that the things that have happened in our past still affect us. But the truth is, only your current thoughts about the past can affect you. The past is over.
Work on Your Goals
Setting goals that reflect your values will help you to feel you’re living a life of purpose. You’ll know you’re taking real steps toward growing as a person when you’re regularly doing things that will bring you closer to your desires. Proactively using your time rather than just absent-mindedly going with the flow and putting out fires is quite empowering. One of my favorite coaching sessions to do with my clients is the before and after process. We talk about where you are now and what’s working and what’s not working. Then we work on where you want to be and who you want to be. And we get you started on the path to getting there. If you’d like to do a before and after session you can sign up here.
Take Care of Yourself
It can be hard to take time for yourself in this busy world full of obligations. This is especially true when you’ve gotten in the habit of putting yourself last on the list. To experience true self-love, you need to start giving yourself higher priority. You can do this by eating well, exercising, taking time for a hobby, pampering yourself, or any other activity that focuses on your wellbeing. Sometimes self-care includes self-discipline. Exercising, committing to the schedule you set for yourself, and following a nutrition plan are not always fun but are a necessary part of being accountable to your own goals.
Most of all, you must learn to forgive yourself to truly love yourself. We all make mistakes. It’s a part of the human condition. Some of those mistakes will be serious and life altering. Allowing yourself understanding and care regarding those things will show you that you’re still worthy despite your faults. This is a crucial lesson on the road to embracing self-love. You give others mercy and compassion and you have to remember to practice this on yourself as well.
Recognizing and becoming aware of your inner naysayer can be tremendously difficult. This is especially true because you’ve probably been living with it for as long as you can remember. That little voice that tells you all sorts of negative things about yourself and your abilities is there to act as a defense mechanism. It thinks it’s protecting you. Unfortunately, what it usually ends up doing is holding you back.
You can take positive steps to manage that voice and overcome its effects if you recognize it when it pipes up. That’s why today’s post is going to tackle that topic and give you concrete strategies to become aware of when your inner naysayer pops up.
Challenge Your Thoughts
When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself or your abilities, be curious about that thought. Ask yourself if it’s entirely true. Identify which parts may not be true. Then, try to counter it with a more realistic and accurate message. This can be quite challenging at first, but with practice the new thoughts come easier.
Let It Go
When you do notice your inner critic nagging at you, acknowledge it, reframe the message into something more positive, and then let it go. Try not to obsess over the untruths your naysayer is telling you. This is called rumination, and it can keep you in a pattern of negativity. It’s hard to move to a place of self-love when you’re stuck in a cycle of worry. At the same time be sure you are not judging yourself for having the negative thoughts. That only serves to add negative on top of negative and that is never useful.
Consider the Worst-Case Scenario
What if your naysayer is telling you the truth, and the worst should
happen? Sometimes, letting that scenario play out in your head can actually
show you that you don’t have that much to lose, after all. That thing you fear
might not be so bad in reality. Therefore, you shouldn’t let the idea of it
scare you away from trying something new or going after what you want. You no
longer need to worry about what others think or if something won’t turn out
well when you realize the worst-case scenario really isn’t that terrible.
Accept Your Flaws
While it’s good to analyze negative messages and refute them, it’s also
okay to recognize your flaws. None of us is perfect. When you are strong enough
to admit there are things you could work on or improve upon, you’re
demonstrating self-love. it can be hard to face our own difficulties. Knowing
you have flaws and looking for ways to improve upon them shows emotional
intelligence and courage. Embrace your weakness and strive for self-improvement
on a regular basis.
Give these strategies a shot in order to be aware of and manage your inner naysayer. You’ll find it’s not so hard once you get the hang of it, and you’ll feel so much better once you master this skill. Coaching can help you work through these types of thoughts. If you’d like to see how a coach can help with this join me for a free call.
This is Day 9 of the Losing Weight with Love series. Subscribe to the whole series below.
No matter how much you’ve internalized the concept of self-love, you probably still have an inner naysayer nagging at you. That inner voice that is constantly giving us messages is there for nearly everyone. Your inner naysayer can often be quite a pest, telling you all sorts of negative things that hurt your self-esteem and make you second-guess yourself. But sometimes that voice can be useful. Let’s take a look at when you should listen to your inner naysayer and when you should ignore it.
About Your Inner Naysayer
Your inner naysayer can be due to a lot of different things. Regardless of its purpose, it’s your inner voice that is trying to tell you something or guide you. The name “naysayer” implies negativity. Therefore, the things this voice has to say are usually negative in nature. Each person’s inner naysayer is unique. The messages they give are based upon your own individual life experience and personality. Your inner naysayer is trying to protect you in most cases, even if that protection ends up hindering you or limiting you in some way.
Part of your brain is focused on your survival. It is motivated by seeking pleasure, avoiding pain, and seeking efficiency. This is known as the motivational triad. Your inner naysayer is always scanning for danger. It will tell you not to do hard things – speaking in public, going on a diet, reaching for a big goal. That’s it’s job.
When to Listen
Sometimes you should take heed when you hear your inner naysayer giving you a message. In order to know whether the message is helpful or not, it’s important to take time to dissect it. Ask yourself some questions. Is it realistic? Is it helpful? Is it true? If the answer to these questions is yes, you should listen. Sometimes your gut feeling is right. If you see red flags, listen to your gut. It’s there to protect you physically and emotionally.
When Not to Listen
Often times, we let negative messages that others have given us stick with us through life. We may internalize them as our own and adopt them as self-defeating beliefs. Your inner naysayer may be telling you that you should just give up on your diet. Why is it saying that? Your brain will try to convince you that evidence shows that you will just fail again. But we will never accomplish anything new if we only look to our past for evidence. It’s time to say, “no thank you” to the inner naysayer and start believing in a different future.
Your inner naysayer is usually there to protect you. Perhaps it’s
acting as a defense mechanism and repeating insecurities you’ve internalized
about yourself. Maybe it’s a warning from your gut reminding you to heed red
flags. Take time to listen to your inner naysayer before deciding how to act.
You’ll know whether to give in or not.
This is Day 8 of the Losing Weight with Love series. Subscribe below to get the whole series in your inbox.
Labels. We use them to describe and identify both ourselves and others. Labels are even applied by people who don’t know each other. However, it’s often the labels we give ourselves or the ones applied by those closest to us that have the biggest impact. Some labels are hurtful and may seem inescapable. Labels can be helpful in helping to provide a basic understanding of roles or identities. One problem with labels, however, is that we can sometimes fail to see beyond them. You are so much more than what they convey.
What’s in a Label?
We are given labels in various aspects of our lives. You probably use one to define your career or job title. Maybe you’re a parent and go by “mom” or “dad.” There are labels to define race and ethnicity. Labels that point to certain characteristics are common. You’ve been using labels practically since you were born. Some of these may make you feel good. Others are hurtful. Many labels are assigned to us by others. Some we place on ourselves.
Labels Can Be Limiting
Labels don’t define who you are as a person, though. They don’t tell who you are or who you desire to be. Using and accepting labels can be limiting. Perhaps you were told as a young child that you were lazy. You could go through your own life limiting your potential because you’ve become convinced you don’t have the ambition to go after your dreams. Even positive or neutral labels can place limits on you. For instance, many mothers feel that the label of “mom” means they have to leave a part of themselves behind and focus solely on meeting the needs of their children. This causes them to abandon their own interests and lose a large part of their identities.
When I was in middle school I began to tell myself that I was bad at math. I’ve hung on to that label for decades. The only thing that label served to do was to keep me from keeping an open mind about learning math. By doing that, I proved the label true by being bad at math.
How to Move Beyond the Labels
It’s important to remember that you can move beyond these labels. That’s where self-love comes in. When you see yourself as valuable and worthwhile, you’ll feel more confident in defining your own labels. Breaking through labels requires self-awareness, acceptance, and belief in your abilities. You can create your own new identity separate from any of the labels you’ve been given. You simply need to decide what it is you want to be known for and start living with this image in mind. Don’t hesitate to correct anyone who mislabels you in a way that makes you feel negative or uncomfortable.
A great way to look beyond the labels that you have placed on yourself or that you have accepted from others is to look at who God says you are. Ken Boa has a great post that lists some verses that affirm who you are in Christ.
Labels are a part of life, but they don’t define who you are inside. Claim your own identity. Make sure the story you tell about yourself will lead to increased self-love and confidence.