Practicing Self-Esteem- by Alice Kofman

Many people with eating-disorders have low self-esteem. An excellent tool to develop higher self-esteem is to practice writing in a journal every day. A journal is like a mirror into one’s soul. It’s a great place to express emotion, creativity and to work through negative emotions.

Journaling can be used as a safe outlet to release private thoughts and feelings. By practicing free flowing stream of consciousness writing, one can effectively explore one’s inner world. Many people are far too busy to pay attention to the subtle inner feelings that arise in the course of the day. By slowing down and taking the time to write them down, one can gain awareness of the types of thoughts one has, the type of inner dialogue one has whether positive or negative and the general mood those thoughts create. That kind of self knowledge is priceless in working toward creating a more positive self-image.

The goal is not to suppress negative feelings, needs and heart’s desires because when those things are not released they create negative thoughts and self-image. If those emotions get worked through everyday, the slate is clear for a more positive outlook. I recommend getting a plain old boring regular spiral notebook as opposed to a pretty hardbound journal. A pretty journal makes one feel pressured to write something lovely and poetic. That is not the goal. The goal is putting pen to paper, writing as much as possible about the negative thought patterns that we usually bottle up. That way, the negativity will be released before it fuels one’s urge to binge.

Keeping a special notebook creates a form of intimacy because it necessitates establishing an honest, caring relationship with oneself. Putting inner thoughts and feelings on paper makes them more tangible. Since no one is reading it, total honesty can easily be achieved. Reading it later may reveal negative patterns of thinking that may need to be challenged. The result, a healthier outlook on one’s eating habits.

The journal should be treated with love and respect. Practicing treating the journal that way will translate into a practice of treating the self that way too. And what better way to gain self-esteem than by practicing treating the self with love and kindness?

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