A 7-Day Journaling Practice To Encourage Self-Love

Written by Melissa McConnell

Photo by Melissa McConnell

My constant best friend is a journal. I always carry it with me, and the pages are available at any time for what I have to share. My willingness to open and be who I am in life is also mirrored by how deeply I am able to express myself on the page using words and imagery. This daily practice is my compass, my guide, and my avenue for sharing my heart with myself and others.

There is great power in weaving our intentions and dreams into the folds of the page as we write and color the map home to ourselves. Here is a weeklong journey to help you love your creative self through the art of journaling:

Day One: An Initiation to Root the Practice

Sit comfortably by yourself in the morning light, preferably with a steaming cup of tea and in a spot you want to revisit for the next seven days. Breathe in; breathe out. What quality are you looking to initiate into your life right now? Is there a word that comes to mind? A phrase? Get clear on it—crystal clear. Write it down, simply, in your journal. This is all for today, and you can hold this word in your heart to explore it further as you go about the rest of your day.

Day Two: Find Your Muse

What inspires you to get creative? A quality of light, an animal, a child? Let loose and do a freewrite of these things, for the muse comes in many different forms, and it's unique for each of us. How can you honor and feed these sources of creativity in your daily life? How can you make offerings to them so that they will flourish and grow? Mull these questions over as you let the ideas flow.

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Day Three: Deepen & Heal

The truth is, we all have some creative wounds. Perhaps someone once told us we couldn't draw, or we may carry some residual frustration from not being able to stick to our creative practice. All of these limiting beliefs prevent us from accessing the muse in the moment. If a river gets dammed, it cannot flow as freely.

Free yourself up and spend this day's page writing down and illustrating these limitations. It may not be fun, but it will be freeing. It is your choice to rip this page out and burn it when you are done. Whatever feels best. Let the river flow free.

Photo by Melissa McConnell

Day Four: Color the Heart

Now it's time to weave a little more color into the page. Color is the language of the heart. My favorite pages in my journal are the ones that combine color and words into a medley of my day's expression. I love watercolors because the water allows the color to flow in ways that are unexpected and delightful: sometimes messy, but always beautiful.

Simply start in the center of a new page and move out in a circle, layer upon layer, like a mandala. Grab whatever color looks good to you next. Don't think about it. Let the colors bleed together. Cultivate a sense of play.

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Day Five: Voice the Love

With the same fluidity of yesterday's color exploration, we will now bring some light to our words and our own reflection by writing ourselves a love poem. Can you name the qualities of truth and beauty that you embody? Rhyming or not, today we can jump into the flow and honor ourselves with a written tribute. When you feel complete, speak the poem aloud to yourself in a mirror or to your reflection upon a surface of water.

Day Six: Inner Vision

Can you paint an abstract self-portrait of your essence right now, utilizing color, line, shape, and space? Explore the energy you cultivated in yesterday's love poem and translate it into a visual representation of yourself.

Photo by Melissa McConnell

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Day Seven: Expansion

Who else in your life do you see as hungry to join you on this quest for daily exploration of self-expression? Who else is ready to dip his or her brush in color and let some words spill forth? Write down your ideas and get in touch with anyone who comes to mind. Plan a tea date with them in the next week, and open up a page or two of your journal to them.

The act of sharing the creative journey reminds us that we are not alone and gives us hope for our own discovery. We start to notice new ways to walk and can see ourselves in the mirror of others. Our capacity to honor and recognize the creative muse expands and grows.

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