What My Old Journals Taught Me About Self-Love


I was sitting on my bed, going through my old journals, when I noticed a pattern.

Typically when you journal, you write about your day or dump out your thoughts. I did that some days, but the majority of my entries were about some guy I was into or over. As I kept reading, I realized that I only wrote in my journal to vent about these dudes.

I read page after page, then I got angry.

The purpose of going through my past was to get a better understanding of who I am. I’m on this journey to heal from experiences in my past.

But I didn’t write about what I was going through in life. There was nothing about the emotional and mental abuse I felt at home; I didn’t write a single entry in the three years I was homeless.

I only wrote about these guys.

Like how I was so into this guy Chris who had his own place and a Mercedes, how we’d drive around listening to music in his car. Okay, that was cute. But not long after that, I wrote that he got in a relationship with another girl he was dating at the same time. That happens.

I was into Brandon for a long time. Every journal entry was like an update about that year-long situationship. I wanted to slap myself in the face several times while reading about it.

Then there was Jeremy, who had just gotten out of jail, and Issac, who ghosted me, and Terry, who was the most fun but then he moved out of state.

It wasn’t until I read my oldest journal entry from middle school that I noticed the pattern. There it was in purple marker: May 12, 2000, the first sentence I wrote in my first journal.

“Well, today it started out boring and dull, but when we got to homeroom I saw Marcus.”

When I read that my heart dropped. I realized my life up until recently always revolved around a guy. The common theme in all these journals unveiled a deeper issue: How badly I needed and wanted to be loved.

I dated these guys, many whom I should have ran away from, but there was a void I was desperate to fill. Seeing how my life circled around needing to feel someone’s love, I realized I needed to love myself.

That was almost a year ago.

I made the decision to be single by choice for a while, to take a break from dating and the need for a relationship. It’s harder than it sounds, especially when we’re made to love, be loved, and yearn for companionship. The first few months I did waste a lot of guys’ time by going on dates knowing good and well I didn’t want anything more. I still go through phases of deleting and downloading dating apps.

I am not closing myself off from the opportunity to meet my other half. But I’m putting the majority of my effort in giving myself the love I needed as a child, the kind of love I grew up looking for from others.

Right now, my priority is doing whatever makes me happy at all times, be it lying around the house all weekend or shopping till I drop. I found new hobbies that I like, and the pressure and need for wanting a relationship has been subdued.

Now I journal about my accomplishments and my bad days, and I plot for the future. I’m healing from past traumas and finally writing it all out.

Ten years from now, when I look back at my journal entries, I’ll read about the girl who became a woman, healed, and learned to love herself.