I have a friend who has an excellent eye for interior design. Quite frankly, what she can do with a couple of cushions and carefully positioned knick-knacks is incredible. She can bring a room to life.
Yet, when I tell her this, she laughingly responds that I’m just being kind and that she could have done so much better given enough time.
I find it sad she does not see her skill.
But this is not a one-off example. I know so many brilliant women who find it difficult to see what they are doing well yet can readily reel off a long list of all the things they do wrong.
Perhaps you can relate.
Do you squirm in embarrassment when you think about your unique characteristics? And woe betides anyone who asks, I bet you downplay all that brilliance you have inside you.
Or perhaps you become uncomfortable when someone pays you a compliment? Usually, we readily dismiss it. What, this old dress? I got it dirt cheap in the sale.
So, how can we positively appreciate our great traits? Self-compassion is the way forward, or to put it more bluntly, “self-appreciation.”
Read on to discover 5 ways to change the record on looking at yourself negatively and learn to appreciate yourself more.
How To Appreciate Yourself More
1. Make the decision to appreciate yourself
Nobody can make this decision for you. I can’t tell you to appreciate yourself more.
You’ve probably had a lifetime of beating yourself up, thinking that you’re not good enough. Me telling you would be like arming me with a stick to hit you when you’re down.
So, the decision has to be yours. You can decide to appreciate yourself more, and to achieve this, I want you to tell yourself the truth. You are human, you’re not a machine, and at times you, like everyone else, make mistakes. Nobody is perfect, and that is good. Because boy, wouldn’t life be dull if we were all perfect.
So begin by allowing yourself to appreciate yourself more because you are worth it.
Take time to tell yourself this and permit yourself to enjoy yourself. If you do this, you are taking a massive step forward.
One way to do this is to thank your body for what it does for you (this is just one way). To read more about this, have a look at How To Feel Confident And Happy In Your Own Skin. The thank-you bit is about halfway through the article.
2. Challenge Your Negative Thoughts
Many of the reasons we believe we are a failure or some form of defect are due to the negative thoughts we entertain in our heads. But, of course, thoughts come from our subconscious and trust me, your subconscious is not always on your side. Especially when our self-esteem is at stake.
There is no quick fix to this. Because it takes time and effort to educate your mind into healthy habits. But, the first step is to recognise the lies your subconscious is telling you.
Recognise that feeling like a loser does not imply you are a failure. Even if the negative thought spiral makes it feel that way.
Examine the evidence to support your findings. For example, a friend not replying to your text does not automatically mean that she hates you or doesn’t want to get in touch. Instead, she could be busy with what’s going on in her life.
And, one negative comment or off the cuff remark should not prevent you from appreciating positive feedback.
And don’t forget to recognise that good things, like compliments or feedback, should grab your attention as well.
It won't matter if in feedback you are given 10 examples of how well you're doing and 1 example of constructive criticism of how you can improve - I can guarantee that the mind will immediately zone in on that one negative.
Try and put a positive spin on it and put that comment into context.
3. Act With Compassion To Booboos And Setbacks
Remember what I said earlier about not being perfect. You don’t have to beat yourself up for every booboo or mistake you make. However, when you react to your blunders with compassion, you boost your self-esteem, making you more competent and resourceful.
Fight back against the inner critic who distorts reality and tells you lies:
Little in life is “all or nothing”. Even if things don’t go as planned, it doesn’t imply that nothing good came from it. See the learning or the positive.
One setback does not define you for the rest of your life – one failure doesn’t mean you are a failure.
Challenge the feeling of pessimism by reminding yourself, “Okay, things didn’t go my way this time, but that doesn’t mean they won’t go well in the future. I’m not a clairvoyant.”
4. Get Rid Of The Pretence Of Little Miss Perfect
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s surprising how many of us think we have to be perfect. To have the following:
- Perfect body
- Perfect house
- Perfect relationship
- Perfect job
- Perfect LIFE!
Repeat after me – Perfect does not exist, regardless of what you see on social media.
You, me, everyone will never be flawless. But, please don’t let this prevent you from appreciating yourself. To despise yourself for not being enough or “perfect” is based on focusing on things you don’t have.
Instead, focus on what you do have. Self-appreciation blossoms when we have a positive attitude. That view on “never good enough” will negatively impact your ability to understand yourself. It’s where your self-esteem goes to fade and die!
When you appreciate yourself more, warts and all, you can finally put the idea of “perfection” to bed.
5. Say “No” More Often
How many times do you say “yes” without thinking it through? As a result, and we’re all guilty of this, you overcommit and end up putting other people’s needs above your own.
To truly appreciate yourself more, spend some time prioritising your personal needs.
I know that “no” might be one of the smallest words in the dictionary, but boy is it difficult to say.
Every yes, you give to another person means that you are saying no to something else. Unfortunately, and tragically, the no is usually to our own needs.
Now is the time to break the habit of a lifetime and start putting yourself first, which may feel awkward to you at first.
Trying to keep everyone else happy is stressful – it’s also a thankless task.
When you appreciate yourself more, you reduce the stress you feel. One way to do this is to adopt a good routine of self-care practices. I write a lot about this topic, so be sure to check out some of my articles in this area. I recommend starting with What Is Self-Care And Why It Makes You A Better Person. You might also find the article How To Assess Your Self-Care With 12 Powerful Questions helpful.
Don’t be the woman who hides her beautiful skills and abilities under a bushel. Instead, celebrate yourself and what you are capable of. Learn how to appreciate yourself more, warts and all.
Theory is one thing, but action is where the magic happens
Start today by taking action on the following:
1. Make the decision to appreciate yourself.
One way to do this is to write down a list of the things you’re good at – no item is too small - make a cracking cup of tea, write it down. We all have things we are good at; it’s time for you to recognise them.
2. Challenge your negative thinking.
Make a list of the bad things you tell yourself, and then put alongside all the ways it isn’t true. For example, I’m a failure – write beside it all the things you have succeeded at. Include significant and small things
3. Treat yourself with compassion.
Made a mistake recently, forgive yourself for it and look at ways to stop repeating it in the future. I find it helpful to journal about things of this nature. Explore how the mistake happened, the actions taken and what you could do differently in the future.
4. Let go of perfection
Think of yourself as beautifully unique. Accept that you have quirks of character. Then, the next time you want to do something “perfectly”, give yourself permission to get it to 80% correct.
5. Say No
The next time someone asks you to do something you really don’t have time for, say no. To make this easier, practice saying no to simple things that are non-confrontational. For more information on saying no to the bigger things, take a look at When You Need To Say No And You Can’t
There's No Time Like The Present
Start today and begin the incredible journey and learn how to appreciate yourself more, warts and all.