The Power Of Journaling: 5 Prompts For Improving Your Self-Esteem
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Black women have been at the receiving end of plenty of negative messages and news for quite some time, including within the last few months of the media cycle. And while many of us are used to it or unbothered, the repetition of such commentary can take a toll mentally on others.

The unprovoked slander of Black women in the media is astounding – especially surrounding our looks. Clips continue to resurface of Black men proudly stating on podcasts that they are not attracted to Black women. A joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head, inadvertently mocking her alopecia condition, was made on one of the most prominent of stages. Thinkpieces on why Black men prefer white women [usually in regard to looks] have gone viral on TikTok. Black women constantly have to defend their beauty and fight for the acceptance of it.

Sadly, the affirmation of Eurocentric features is nothing new.

“Poor self-esteem is rooted in rejection and abandonment,” says licensed marriage and family therapist Danita Thompson, PhD of Mending Hearts Family Counseling in New Jersey. “For people of color, racial discrimination and the lack of race pride, there’s not enough positive messages.”

A survey published by the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology reported that most Black women at one point in time wished they did not have features attributable to their race. About 78% thought this about their hair texture, 64% about their skin complexion, and 60% about their facial features.

“Comparing oneself to others can lead to negative self-worth,” Thompson says.

But affirmation and encouragement are powerful tools to increase confidence. It is important to encourage yourself, and journaling is a tool that does that. “Journaling is a necessary self-care technique. It is an expressive coping mechanism. Writing about the positive and negative things you feel or have experienced helps release what is pent up on the inside,” Thompson says. Journaling is often incorrectly branded as a place to dump your emotions, but it is a clinically derived mechanism to maintain confidence. “It helps to identify positive experiences to hold onto,” she adds. “Gratitude journals are scientifically proven to increase positive moods.” Documenting moments of feeling beautiful, confident, and assured in one’s self can help to preserve those emotions as time passes.

The characteristics of individuals with high self-esteem are, as Thompson says, “those who engage in positive self-talk, approve of themselves and journal.” The secret to confidence is intentional reflection. She says the following guided journal prompts can help to build self-esteem:

1. What am I grateful for today?

2. These five positive traits make me unique.

3. How might my life be different if I saw failure as a good thing?

4. In what ways can I celebrate me?

5. What does a confident me look like? (dress, speak, think)

When fostering positive mental health, it is important to recognize how much media Black women are consuming. Yes, there are positive messages concerning our beauty and our being, but the resurfacing of harsh ones, which is oddly common as well, can have a traumatic impact. Intentionally affirming our worth through the means of journaling is a powerful tool to help us navigate the world we live in today.