Practice Self-Appreciation to Own the Value You Bring to the World
“If you really want to change society, encourage self-appreciation.” ~ Réné Gaudette
I’d like to start out today by trying a simple experiment — since we’re entering the season for thankfulness, quickly write out a list of 7-10 things you’re grateful for. Take a moment and do that right now. I’ll wait…
As you read through your list, how many of your items are about possessions? How many are about people in your life? And here’s the big question: did you express gratitude for yourself?
If you’re like most of my clients, you probably didn’t. They easily name a few things they’re grateful for. Yet, when I direct the question to them, they get confused, because they’re not accustomed to self-appreciation. They leave themselves out of the equation.
Often women are afraid of being selfish, self-centered and grandiose. But more often it never occurs to them that thanking themselves can be, and should be, part of their self-care routine.
Self-appreciation is the foundation of our self-worth. After all, if we can’t articulate what we value about ourselves, how can we communicate it to others? I like how Oprah Winfrey expressed this: “When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.”
A clear sense of self-worth gives you the ability to assess a situation and make decisions quickly. You know what fits and what doesn’t.
If you find it difficult to identify what you’re good at or to claim your contribution in the world, you’re not alone. Many people, especially women, struggle with self-worth. That’s why I recommend a practice of self-appreciation.
How can you mindfully practice self-appreciation?
Let’s make this clear at the start, self-appreciation is not about bragging or putting others down. It’s not built by you comparing yourself to another person. Self-appreciation is practicing the art of seeing, and acknowledging, the positive within yourself.
We live in a world that tears us down. Because so many have negative experiences that have taught them negative self talk, getting comfortable with self-appreciation will take practice and patience. It can be as simple as saying “Thank you” to a compliment instead of dismissing or downplaying it AND allowing your body to feel the joy of those kind words, without judgment. Here’s a tip for you — start recording all of the compliments you receive and read them out loud later that day, until they become part of you.
While compliments are nice, your self-appreciation shouldn’t depend on what other people think. It’s important for you to form your own opinion of yourself, because you’re the one who will have to live up to your expectations for yourself. It will be most powerful if you daily record a compliment you give yourself.
If writing isn’t your thing, try a breathing meditation. Quiet your mind and “listen” to your thoughts. As you breathe in, focus on one thing about yourself that makes you feel grateful. When you feel your body flooded with appreciation, verbally tell yourself “thank you for…”
Gratitude comes from how you live. If you feel tied to a schedule of have-to-dos, you’re not going to see the miracle of appreciation often or clearly. Do something every day that makes you feel alive…that you can be grateful for! Stand up for someone being bullied; open the door for someone; smile at a stranger; volunteer in your community; make a phone call; create a home-cooked meal…whatever gives you an opportunity to express self-appreciation. At the end of the day have something specific to say to yourself — “(your name), I appreciate how you were so ______today when you ______.”
What are the benefits of self-appreciation?
Feeling grateful to yourself helps heal the body and mind, as your brain is rewired. You get to process and contextualize the negativity you experience during the day. Self-appreciation has a ripple effect, as you look for moments of gratitude. This will encompass not only yourself but all of the people you encounter. Radiating gratitude is appealing and people are drawn to it. Their positive feedback will nourish you. It reduces stress, anxiety, depression, pain, and builds self-esteem. With enhance self-esteem, you’ll perform at a higher level each day.
To help you become more mindful of how you operate in the world, I’ve created a new downloadable PFD, 10 Steps to An Embodied Practice. Whether you’re a coach, therapist or woman trying to bring your best self forward, this report will help.
Let me leave you with one more thought…If you wrote a thank you letter to yourself, what would you say? I invite you to come to my Facebook page and share your thoughts on this.
Thank you Shin Enn Yapp on Unsplash for the use of your lovely photo!