30 Journal Prompts For When Your Self-Esteem Is At Rock Bottom

It’s hard to feel great about yourself 100% of the time. You probably know deep down that you’re pretty great and have a lot to offer, but that doesn’t mean you’re never going to have periods in which you hate the reflection staring back at you in the mirror. We all go through times when we feel a bit blah, but it’s how we rebound and get back to being our badass selves that matters. There are many different ways to achieve this (and you probably already have your own tried and true methods), but you might find journal prompts to be extra helpful when it comes to reflecting on what’s getting you down and ultimately boosting your self-esteem.

If you’re not sure where to get started, here are a few things to reflect on — they should remind you just how amazing you really are.

  1. What are three unique qualities that make you stand out, and why do you value them? You don’t fit the mold and that’s a good thing. It deserves to be celebrated.
  2. List five achievements that you’re proud of and what you did to get there. You don’t just make goals, you reach them. You’re incredible!
  3. Write a letter to your younger self in which you share what you love about the woman you’ve become. This is one of those journal prompts that is a more obvious self-esteem grab, but it’s an incredibly important exercise.
  4. What does self-love mean to you, and how do you practice it daily? You might discover you haven’t been loving yourself as well as you should!
  5. Describe a situation where you stood up for yourself or someone else. How did it make you feel? Sometimes one of the best ways to remind yourself of your innate goodness is to think about what a support you are to others.
  6. What are some compliments you’ve received that genuinely touched you? Why did they mean so much? As hesitant as you are to accept compliments, when they’re genuine, they can make a world of difference.
  7. How do you handle criticism, and how could you turn it into a positive experience for personal growth? Criticism doesn’t mean you’re not good enough — it means you’re a work in progress, and that’s a blessing.
  8. List down the physical features you love about yourself and why. And don’t say there aren’t any. Take a good, hard look at yourself and find something beautiful. There’s plenty there.
  9. What would your life look like if you fully believed in your abilities and worth? Use this journal prompt to discuss what a day as a woman with high self-esteem looks like. You’ve probably even lived it before — it’s worth revisiting.
  10. How do you define success for yourself, and what steps are you taking to achieve it? Having a road map for our future not only gives us focus and direction, it challenges us to be our very best.
  11. What are your favorite self-care routines, and how do they enhance your perception of yourself? If you don’t have a favorite, you’re not doing it enough. Make self-care a priority.
  12. What are the valuable life lessons you have learned so far, and how have they shaped you? You might still be young, but you’ve probably been through a lot. Reflect on how these experiences have made you the incredible person you are.
  13. What are some personal boundaries you have established to protect your self-worth? Why were they so important to you and what gives you the strength to uphold them?
  14. Create a list of positive affirmations that resonate with you and explain why they hold significance. Affirmations may feel a bit corny and ineffective, but when you find ones you connect to and reflect your circumstances or feelings, they can be truly transformative.
  15. Identify and describe three role models in your life and the qualities they possess that you admire. Maybe it’s your mom, a friend, a colleague — the options are endless. Since we are who we surround ourselves with, chances are you have more in common with them than you think.
  16. What are the ways in which you can nurture and cultivate more kindness towards yourself? Journal prompts should serve to inspire you, and this question in particular fosters high self-esteem as well as self-reflection. Embrace it.
  17. Describe a time when you felt completely confident and in your element. You know that time you walked into a room and just felt like you owned it? What can you learn from that experience to apply in your daily life?
  18. What are the aspects of your personality that make you a good friend, family member, or partner? Maybe it’s your ability to give good advice. Or, perhaps you’re incredibly good at being a cheerleader and encouraging people to be brave. Whatever it is, write it down.
  19. Reflect on your growth over the past year. What achievements or improvements are you most proud of? There may not seem like there are many on the surface, but if you truly think about it, you’ll realize just how far you’ve come.
  20. Journal about your dreams and aspirations. What qualities do you possess that will help you achieve them? No goal is too big as to be unachievable. With enough perseverance, you can do anything you set your mind to.
  21. What are the core values that shape who you are, and how do they empower you? These values are a reflection of the type of person you are (an amazing one) and they deserve recognition.
  22. Reflect on a time when you showed resilience. What did that experience teach you about your strength? When times are tough, you don’t simply lie down and give up. You get right back in the fight and make it through to the other side.
  23. If you could have a conversation with your future self, what advice or words of encouragement would you expect to hear? You wouldn’t want her to feel down on herself, would you? Tell her the words you need to hear yourself.
  24. What are some talents or skills that you are proud of? How do you plan to nurture them further? This is another of those journal prompts that focus on the elements of your life that you often overlook and that can and should contribute to a positive sense of self-esteem. You have so much to give!
  25. Describe an instance where you were your own best support system. How did you encourage yourself? You’ve got your own back, and that’s incredible.
  26. In moments of self-doubt, what are some affirming phrases or statements you can tell yourself to boost your confidence? We all have little wobbles from time to time where we doubt ourselves. Lift yourself up again.
  27. List three moments in your life where you felt a strong sense of accomplishment. What role did your personal strengths play in those moments? It doesn’t have to be a massive achievement, either — small victories count.
  28. How has your perception of yourself improved over the years? What contributed to this growth? Maybe you used to really hate yourself or you simply didn’t value yourself. You’ve come a long way since — how did you do it?
  29. Describe a goal you have for yourself. What qualities do you possess that will assist you in achieving this goal? You’re going to get there, and it’s all down to your tenacious character.
  30. Reflect on the compliments and positive feedback you’ve received over time. How can you embrace these affirmations more fully? If everyone else can see these things in you, you should be able to see them in yourself.
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill