How The Self-Love Journal Transformed My Life
Photography by: Shelby Tessier Model: Alexandra Babbel
I have a confession to make...
I'm a sucker for self-improvement tools....
I used to think that one more course, or one more book would be the key to feeling happy with who I was, and how I looked. I would hop from one method to another, hoping to learn some grain of wisdom that would transform my life.. But I was mistaken.
Don't get me wrong.
Books and courses helped me a great deal, but the lessons would quickly fade and I would return to my old thinking habits.
Self-love didn’t come easy for me, my inner voice would make things really tough.
- I would overthink things
- I was way too hard on myself
- I projected negativity onto my spouse
- I would get angry at myself
This lack of self-love drained my confidence, and that impacted my work, my relationships, and ultimately my health.
Over the years, I’ve been advised by my therapist to journal. Write about your thoughts, write-and-rip, write down what you want to say to your husband. Seems simple enough right? Wrong.
I hate journaling—and especially when my mental health is down the tubes, the act of journaling feels like yet another area that I’m falling behind in. *Self-judgement activated.*
There is a ton of evidence on the power of journaling, but staring at that empty page would give me anxiety - so I never really stuck with it.
It wasn’t until my therapist suggested we work through a new type of journal she had heard of, that I really saw those benefits - and started to see a lasting change.
It felt like I was making 10x the progress with my therapist after we implemented it.
The Self-Love Journal by Switch Research is completely science backed and written in collaboration with over a dozen mental health experts, from psychologists to clinical counsellors.
It was designed to be used by therapists with their patients, but has quickly become one of the best selling journals in the USA.
It’s concise yet in depth, simple yet powerful, and a li’l bonus is that it’s really freaking cute to look at. It’s like a planner for your path to self-kindness, and it’s much more than your average notebook.
The journal is a 91-Day journey, and since the idea of self-love can feel vast and, when you’re in a bad headspace, daunting—they’ve broken it down into three digestible segments.
- Exploring the Fundamentals of Self-Compassion. Over the course of three weeks, your own humanity will be reflected back to you while you explore and confront ideas about self-kindness. With real-life examples and applications, it’ll warm up the water while you dip your toe into the healing pool.
- Expanding Your Self-Compassion. Now, you’ll be getting your feet wet with practices around self-acceptance and gratitude. This segment emphasizes the here, the now, and why whatever it is you’re feeling about it is completely and totally valid. It’s a reminder to come up for air.
- Establishing Self-Compassion as a Lifestyle. You’ll be fully submerged in the self-love water now—you might even dip your head in. Here, you’ll spot methods for applying self-compassion in your daily life beyond the journal’s hard cover. When I penned away at the prompts, this filled in the gaps where I’ve had the most trouble in my own journey: sustaining self-kindness.
Within each section, there are actionable, self-love subdivisions that allow you to reframe the image you have of yourself—the one that’s refracted by trauma, stress, and stories you’ve been told about “who you are” with affirmations like this:
“I am perfect in my imperfections, secure in my insecurities, happy with my choices, strong in times of weakness and beautiful in my own way. I am myself.” ~ Anonymous
The prompt on Day 5 hit me right on my self-critical nose. It began with, “when we fall short of our expectations, we can either approach the situation with self-kindness or self-judgement.”
It was like this page was reading me—but I needed it, and I needed this example:
Harsh Self Judgement: “I am a horrible cook.”
Self Kind Response: “I often get compliments on my favorite dish.”
Self-love is a conscious practice until it’s embedded into your brain, and self-judgement is a habit. You can’t change a habit without setting a new one in its place. That’s where the Self-Love Journal comes in and serves up compassionate habit replacements on a platter.
It teaches you to be patient with yourself while you make these, well, switches. It helps you shift your focus. It allows you to zoom out.
It reminds you that you are bigger, deeper, and richer than your thoughts are at this moment.
The Self-Love Journal and their upcoming installments specific to Emotional Regulation, Trauma, Postpartum, and various offshoots of the hard things that life throws at us, are intended to be accessible for all.
The goal is to make mental health a priority, and that’s a mission that Switch Research will keep in motion until anyone who’s had trouble seeing their own worth, owns a copy.
The reasons may seem obvious, but they’re also based on the results from the University of British Columbia’s controlled study, and its participants had a lot of, well, positive things to say about their journey with this journal:
- Users found their self-kindness increased by 49%
- Their common humanity went up by 62%
- Mindfulness increased by 42%
- Self-acceptance rose by 38%
They also reflected on the Journal’s impact on their well-being once day 91 was complete:
"I feel like I have someone cheering me on, and that comes from a confident place from within."
"It helped me realize everyone feels the same and has issues and I am not as alone as I think I am."
"I'm more aware of when I'm being too hard on myself and will remind myself of the lessons I've learned through using the journal."
How Much Is It?
It drives me nuts how much some companies charge for their products. I’ve seen workbooks go for over $60.. Weekend retreats can end up costing thousands of dollars, and one on one therapy can be hundreds of dollars per hour.
I was surprised to see that The Self-Love Journal is only $39.95. You can tell they put the effort into creating a high quality product.
I’ve purchased 3-4 more copies to give to friends and family, dramatically transforming the way a person feels about themselves makes for a really amazing gift!
If you can resonate with how any of this feels, the self-doubt, the lack of motivation, the insecurities, the poor relationships, give this a shot. No matter your age, gender, or career type, if you get through all 91-days, I guarantee you’ll learn something about yourself and feel all the better for it!