Art Journaling for Self-Esteem

By: Amy Maricle

What Do You Love About You?

I want to start a revolution. A self-esteem revolution. A self-love revolution. A self-appreciation revolution.  Will you join me?

I’m not talking about conceit. Not selfish, self-centered insecurity masquerading as confidence. Do you know what I’m talking about? “Oh my God, it is SO hard being this skinny, my friends are ALWAYS making jealous comments. It’s SO annoying.” That’s insecurity, don’t be fooled.

I’m talking about true, calm recognition of your worth. It doesn’t need to be loud or bombastic, or apologetic. It just is. It’s exactly the way you name the strengths of friends and loved ones without a second thought.

It’s not flaunting. It’s gratitude. I want you to be able to graciously give gratitude and recognition for all your wonderfulness.

And I want you to start right here. Right on this blog in the comments. Right in your journal. And I’m going to take a chance and do it right along with you. I’ll lead you through and tell you how. I give you permission to do it. Heck, I give myself permission!


Art Journal Prompt:

What do you love about you?

Even if this is hard for you to answer, if you dig, and muster up some courage, you will find some little things that you can honestly say you love about yourself. Start small. (e.g. I love that freckle on my knee.)

If you really struggle with it, talk to your family or a close friend and do the exercise together, making a list of what you love about each other. That can be your starting point.

I also found that using the word “sometimes” gave me permission to quiet the negative voices and make way for self-love. (i.e. I love that I sometimes make people laugh.) If you want to make a fun, artsy journal page, for yourself, or an art therapy client, here’s how:

Self Love Art Journal Page

1. Start by painting a background color you enjoy – something bold – in watercolor, tempra, or acrylic.

2. Draw a circle or a heart in the middle of the page, and inside write “What Do You Love About You?”

3. Draw wavy lines all across the page.

4. Fill in the lines by completing the phrase, “I love…” over and over again until you fill the page.  Don’t let yourself stop until you fill it up.


Share What You Love About You!

Will you share some of what you wrote here in the comments? Will you post your journal page on Instagram with #selfesteemrevolution or on the Creative Self-Care Facebook page? Will you make this poster your profile pic on Facebook?



You will inspire others to do the same with your courage. You are starting a self-love revolution. Do it for yourself. Do it for your daughters, your mother, your sister, and your friends.


Do You Like You?

Singer Colbie Caillat says it perfectly. It’s all about loving yourself, just as you are. Please check out this awesome video full of women and girls of every variety, age, shape and size, loving themselves, just as they are.


Self-Esteem and Art Journaling Resources

SARK is an author who is all about self-love, self-acceptance, and creativity as a way to get there. What could be better? Check out her books here.

Visit my Self-Esteem Pinterest Board 

Raising Confident Daughters in a Changing World

Make a $5.00 Art Journal with artist Alisa Burke – genius!



  1. Grace

    Hi Amy,
    I stumbled across your website while looking up things about art therapy. I know you don’t know me, and I live in Southern CA, but I just wanted to let you know how much I value your field and work as an art therapist. I have been going to an art therapist for the past 6 months, and it has been life changing. I have done regular talk therapy before, with two other different therapists, and while it was helpful for different things, nothing gets to the core issue like art therapy does. It’s an amazing approach to therapy. Thank you for your informative website with great ideas for personal journaling!

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI Grace!

      What a pleasure to have you here on! I am so thrilled to hear how much you have been benefitting from art therapy. It really can be sort of “magical” can’t it? I think that’s why I love it so much. It feels so much more energizing to me than talking alone and what I can accomplish with someone that way.

      I hope that you take advantage of the art tutorials page if you haven’t already:



  2. karin

    Its strange doing this what you love about yourself exercise. it took a bit but one thing fit. today i came up with i love that i like trying new things without much hesitation. i still don’t like eating liver but i’ve even tried a few extra times over the years just to make sure that is still how it is. and that seems funny.

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI Karin!

      Thanks for reading, trying the exercise, and commenting! It’s funny how hard it is to focus on what we like, but especially, what we love, about ourselves, isn’t it? It’s a strange thing given how easy it would be for us to rattle off a long list of what we love about our family or close friends.

      I love that you brought up loving your ability to take risks, because it’s been a huge area of interest for me lately – the relationship between our ability/willingness to take risks, and our level of happiness. I hope that it has proven true for you. May you find many beautiful discoveries in each little risk you take today.

      Also, I heard a wonderful podcast a while ago on NPR somewhere about a guy who heard that you have to try things 20 times before you know for sure if you truly can’t acquire a taste for them. He picked his list of least favorite foods, and for a year, tried them all prepared in numerous different ways. He was able to like them all minus perhaps one. Fascinating, right?

      Cheers and thanks for contributing here,


  3. Chelsea Anne Baugh

    Amy, this is such a wonderful post! I appreciate this writing prompt. I love how you defined what you love about yourself “true, calm recognition of your worth…exactly the way you name the strengths of friends and loved ones without a second thought.” We are trained to be self-depreciating. Combine that with our culture of comparison and our self-esteem takes a nose-dive. Thanks for helping us remember why we are great and showing gratitude for our strengths and even our weaknesses. The beautiful combination of strengths & weakness is what makes us who we are.

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI Chelsea: Welcome to! I’m tickled that you dropped by. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I love the wonderful work you do on on living your passion in a realistic way.

      You make a good point about learning to put yourself down. And I have the sense that it’s more pressure on women to do this. Assertive, confident women can sometimes be seen as “pushy” or “bossy,” which is sad, because we have so much to offer.

      In my experience, the people who have a realistic assessment of both their strengths and weaknesses and embrace themselves and others fully, have been some of the happiest people I’ve known.

      Thanks for all your good input.




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