Journaling for Self-Esteem: Building Confidence From Within

Sian Ferguson
Sian Ferguson

Sian Ferguson is a health content writer based in Cape Town, South Africa. With almost a decade of experience reporting on health and wellness, her goal is to create empathetic, science-based content that empowers readers to take care of their well-being. You can read more of her work on Healthline and Psych Central.

November 25, 2023

In many ways, self-esteem is like an internal mirror that reflects how you perceive your value and self-worth. Over time, life's hurdles and negative thought patterns can damage that mirror. 

This is where self-esteem journaling comes into play. Think of it as a polishing tool that sharpens your reflection, allowing you to confront and articulate parts of your life that may be chipping away at your confidence.

By writing down your thoughts, you not only acknowledge your inner struggles but also celebrate your victories, big and small. 

This practice of reflection and affirmation turns journaling into a means of rediscovering and reinforcing your self-worth.

Key Takeaways icon

Key Takeaways

  • There are several digital journaling apps available, and choosing the right one can feel overwhelming.
  • The first step is to understand what you aim to achieve through journaling, as your journaling goals will significantly influence the type of app you choose.
  • Key factors to consider when choosing the best journaling app for you include user interface and accessibility, privacy and security, features, pricing, user reviews, and ongoing updates.
  • To make your decision, compare your top contenders, try the free versions, and go with your gut.
  • Rosebud, an AI-driven digital journaling app for personal development and mental health, offers a free version so you can explore the functionality and feel of the app.

How Does Journaling Build Self-Esteem

Journaling doesn’t just facilitate day-to-day reflection. It allows you to engage in deep introspection, helping you weave facts and interpretations into a dialog that you can have with yourself. This dialog encourages greater insight, nurturing greater self-acceptance while revealing hidden thoughts and feelings[1]

But sometimes your inner dialog doesn’t always play out how you want it to. Limiting beliefs or negative thought patterns, such as believing that others are better than you or having a gloomy outlook on life, can leave you feeling worthless and powerless.

Gratitude journaling has the potential to shift this kind of thinking by helping you focus on the positive aspects of your life and making way for a more positive, confident mindset[2][3]

You can take this a step further by writing affirmations about your core values, capabilities, and potential. Doing this can lead to greater feelings of happiness, self-esteem, self-actualization, and positive attitudes toward yourself and others, creating a positive affirmation cycle[4][5][6].

Journaling is more than a reflective practice — it's a journey of learning from past experiences, tracking progress, and honing your self-communication skills. Ultimately, this practice helps you build a reservoir of confidence and empowerment, both of which are essential components of self-esteem.

What Are The Benefits of Self-Esteem Journaling?

A low sense of self-worth can manifest in several ways. If you’re struggling with your self-esteem, you may:

  • believe that others are better than you
  • have difficulty expressing your needs
  • dwell on past negative experiences
  • have a negative outlook on life
  • struggle with confidence
  • have an extreme fear of failing
  • putting other people’s needs before yours 

Journaling can combat the above through its potential to improve your mental health, reduce stress levels, and enhance your emotional processing[7][8][9]

As a result, self-esteem journaling may help you:

  • acknowledge your achievements 
  • nurture the relationship you have with yourself and others
  • feel more stable in your sense of self
  • remind you that you're stronger and more capable than you might think
  • determine the illogical and negative thought patterns that result in poor self-esteem
  • identify what triggers your low self-esteem
  • enhance your problem-solving skills
  • develop a positive and empowered self-perception
  • stay motivated to reach your goals

Learning about these benefits may prompt you to begin journaling for your self-esteem — if so, fantastic! However, it’s worth remembering that journaling is a process. Change takes time, so be patient with yourself and your progress.

As the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

How To Start Journaling For Self-Esteem

Start by choosing a journal that you find visually appealing or meaningful. It could be a simple notebook, a journal designed for self-reflection, or a digital AI journaling app like Rosebud

Next, designate a time for journaling that suits you best. Whether in the morning, before bed, or during breaks — it doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you work toward consistency, and even better, a routine.

Now, let’s get down to business. You have your journal and are ready for some self-esteem-boosting introspection!

Here are some ideas to inspire your self-esteem journaling:

  • Reflect on positive experiences. Jot down any recent incidents that left a positive impression on you. Maybe you had a lovely interaction with a stranger or have finally accomplished an enormous task weighing down your to-do list. Reflect on how it went and how it made you feel. 
  • Let your thoughts flow. Are there any worries or negative thoughts making you feel bad about yourself? Vent about it without judgment — emotional release is best when done freely.
  • Check in with yourself. Carry out regular check-ins to bolster your emotional awareness. Describe your feelings and explore the reasons behind any differences you may see in your self-esteem.
  • Set realistic goals. Don’t shy away from a challenge — it doesn’t have to be anything significant. Write down a goal, then try to break it into smaller chunks. This could help things feel more manageable. Celebrate your progress as you accomplish each step and goal.
  • Use journaling prompts. If you’re struggling with “blank page syndrome” and don’t know where to start, try using our list of journaling prompts for self-esteem.

Once you get the hang of it, you can incorporate aspects of gratitude journaling, positive affirmations, and personal growth reflections. Periodically reviewing past entries will allow you to see how you’ve overcome challenges and evolved. 

But as we’ve already mentioned, be patient with yourself. Journaling is a process, and so is building your self-esteem. 

Kickstart Your Journey to Greater Self-Esteem With Rosebud

Need a bit of assistance? Consider trying Rosebud for free. You can take advantage of its intelligent  AI-driven prompts along with its valuable insights and weekly summaries based on your entries to cultivate healthier self-esteem and a happier you!

FAQs About Journaling for Self-Esteem

Absolutely! Journaling can significantly boost your self-esteem. It provides a way for you to reflect on daily experiences, acknowledge your achievements, and process emotions constructively. Regularly noting down positive aspects of your life and personal strengths can foster a more positive view of yourself.
Journaling offers a private space for self-expression, which benefits your self-confidence. It helps you identify and challenge negative thoughts, set personal goals, and recognize your strengths. Tracking your progress and achievements through journaling reinforces your belief in yourself.
Journaling increases confidence by helping you articulate and understand your thoughts and emotions. It encourages self-reflection and self-awareness, which are essential for personal growth. Writing about challenges and how you've overcome them provides concrete evidence of your capabilities, bolstering your confidence.
Focus on your successes, strengths, and positive traits. Reflect on challenges you've overcome, express gratitude, and set personal goals. Acknowledging your positive qualities and achievements on a regular basis can significantly enhance how you see yourself.
Both digital and handwritten journaling are effective. Some find therapeutic value in writing by hand, while others prefer the convenience of digital methods. Choose the method that you're most comfortable with and likely to continue using.


  1. Crawford, A., Sellman, E., & Joseph, S. (2021). Journaling: A more mindful approach to researching a mindfulness-based intervention in a junior school. International Journal of Qualitative Methods.
  2. Wong, Y. J., Owen, J., Gabana, N. T., Brown, J. W., McInnis, S., Toth, P., & Gilman, L. (2018). Does gratitude writing improve the mental health of psychotherapy clients? Evidence from a randomized controlled trial. Psychotherapy Research, 28(2), 192-202.
  3. Gallagher, S. (2017). Feeling Thanks and Saying Thanks: A Randomized Controlled Trial Examining If and How Socially Oriented Gratitude Journals Work. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 73(10), 1280-1300.
  4. Emanuel, A. S., Howell, J. L., Taber, J. M., Ferrer, R. A., Klein, W. M., & Harris, P. R. (2018). Spontaneous self-affirmation is associated with psychological well-being: Evidence from a US national adult survey sample. Journal of Health Psychology, 23(1), 95–102.
  5. Düring, C., & Jessop, D. C. (2014). The moderating impact of self-esteem on self-affirmation effects. British Journal of Health Psychology, 20(2).
  6. Cohen, G. L., & Sherman, D. K. (2014). The Psychology of Change: Self-Affirmation and Social Psychological Intervention. Annual Review of Psychology, 65(1), 333-371.
  7. Thoele, D. G., Gunalp, C., Baran, D., Harris, J., Moss, D., Donovan, R., Li, Y., & Getz, M. A. (2020). Health care practitioners and families writing together: The three-minute mental makeover. The Permanente Journal, 24.
  8. Baikie, K., & Wilhelm, K. (2005). Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 11(5), 338-346.
  9. Ford, B. Q., Lam, P., John, O. P., & Mauss, I. B. (2018). The psychological health benefits of accepting negative emotions and thoughts: Laboratory, diary, and longitudinal evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 115(6), 1075.
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