A Neccessary Exercise In Self-Appreciation

One of the hardest things to do in life is learning how to appreciate one’s self. Really, truly, appreciating one’s self.

It is fairly easy for us to recognize our blessings. We can recognize how life blesses us, and how the people around us bless us. We can even recognize how we bless others. But can we learn how to take it a step further, and recognize how we are a blessing in our own lives?

This is the great challenge of self-appreciation: recognizing that we wouldn’t be were we are, without us.

Why We Need To Learn How To Appreciate Ourselves

We live this life focused mostly on our “outward vision.” After all, our eyes look outward for signals to respond to; our eyes often do not know how to look internally. Our eyes cannot leave our own bodies and look at us from an objective plane.

This is why, most of the time, we witness life subjectively. We see the people around us, we see life, but we cannot see ourselves. This is why it is a challenge to recognize what we do for ourselves, because, often, we do not witness it. We literally cannot see what we do for ourselves on a daily basis.

This is why, of all the people we could lack appreciation for, the person we are often the most unappreciative of is us.

How ungrateful are we, right?

To overlook the ways in which we care for ourselves, help ourselves, and work for our happiness is to commit a grave injustice against our soul.

When others take care for us, help us, and work for our happiness, we know to thank them. This is just common courtesy. We see that the intentions of others are good, and even if they do not care for us perfectly, help us perfectly, or work for our happiness perfectly, it does not matter: we still thank them for their effort. We thank them for trying. We thank them for caring. We thank them for their work. We thank them for their help.

We appreciate them.

So, why would we lack this same common courtesy for ourselves whenever we care for ourselves, help ourselves, or work towards our own happiness?

Why are we so unappreciative of all our efforts to better ourselves? Why are we so ungrateful to ourselves?

I think it’s because we don’t take time out of our day to recognize all the good things we do for ourselves.

This is why we must engage in an exercise of self-appreciation. If we don’t engage in such an exercise, we will always find our efforts lacking, we will always see ourselves as “not good enough,” or, worst of all, we will consistently punish ourselves for not living up to our own expectations, instead of celebrating our efforts–efforts which were born only out of love.

An Exercise In Self-Appreciation

Today, I’d like you to join me in an exercise in self-appreciation.

Today, both of us are going to learn how to appreciate ourselves–really truly appreciate ourselves–for the very first time.

Here is what I would like you to do:

Get Alone. Get Quiet.

Sit down in a quiet, private place where you will not be disturbed.

Appreciate Yourself for Caring For Yourself

While you sit there, meditate on your daily routine. See if you can’t step outside of yourself for a moment and recognize all the little things you do each day to take care of yourself. You might recognize things like: you take care of your teeth by brushing them, you take care of your body by exercising, eating healthy, and resting, you take care of your soul’s calling by writing your book (or engaging in some other passion), and you take care of your relationships by spending time with friends and family.

Once you recognize how much work you put into taking care of yourself every day, tell yourself how much you appreciate all this effort in self-caring. Thank yourself for being a blessing in your own life.

Once you are done with this part of the exercise, stay seated.

Appreciate Yourself For Working So Hard For Your Happiness

Now meditate on all those tasks, or goals, you believe you have failed to achieve or accomplish. Now, before you go into your usual routine of negative self-criticism, stop yourself. Instead, I want you to look at the effort you exerted in accomplishing those goals or tasks you have “failed” at. Can you appreciate yourself for the effort you exerted in trying to achieve something good for yourself? Can you see that even though you did not get what you wanted, or did not execute the task perfectly, you were still willing to work hard for it? Don’t you think that hard work and effort deserves your appreciation and thanks?

Today, instead of going the route of negative self-criticism, be appreciative of all the effort you made to work for your happiness. Thank yourself for being such a loyal and dedicated worker for yourself.

Once you are done with that part of this exercise, stay seated.

Appreciate Yourself For Helping Yourself

Now meditate on what you did to improve yourself after you “failed” at that task you were trying so hard to accomplish. What classes did you take to master your craft? What books did you read to enhance your knowledge? What guides did you consult to help you grow in skill and capacity? How did you handle yourself in the “failure”? Did you give yourself a break? Did you allow yourself time to heal from the wound? Did you surround yourself with friends, family, and counselors who could support and encourage you to keep moving forward?

Can you recognize how much you help yourself on a daily basis? Can you find a place in your heart to thank yourself for all the help you have given to yourself?

Today, recognize how much you have helped yourself on a daily basis and then, out of common courtesy, show your appreciation to yourself. Thank yourself for being such a good friend, mentor, and guide to yourself.

Once you are done with this part of the exercise, stay seated.

Bring It All Together

Finally, review all the ways you care for yourself, help yourself, and work for your happiness.

Then, today, make a pledge that you will not allow yourself to get overly negative about your talents and abilities. Instead, pledge to focus on how much you care for yourself, help yourself, and work towards you happiness on a daily basis. Then, promise yourself that you will practice self-appreciation as much as you can. Promise yourself that you will thank yourself for being such a vital part of your life.

Because if it weren’t for you, you wouldn’t be where you are today.

much love,

Ollin

What are ways in which you practice self-appreciation? Please share your wisdom with us in the comments below!

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12 comments on “A Neccessary Exercise In Self-Appreciation

  1. Andrea Lewis says:

    Ollin, this is a great way to start of the week with this essential reminder to appreciate ourselves. Something that I tend to overlook. But lately, I’ve been appreciating myself and having pep talks in the mirror on a daily basis. I find it highly effective.

  2. Madison says:

    Thank you Olin
    This has encouraged me as I have been feeling exhausted
    I will post another comment on the the things I did this week to appreciate myself
    Which is very foreign to me however going to give myself permission to self nurture & appreciate me 4 me :))))

    • Ollin says:

      Yes, do engage in this necessary exercise and you will so much better afterward!

      • Madison says:

        Hello Olin
        This week I undertook time to appreciate myself
        1. Self nuturing
        2. Changed my hairstyle
        3. Reviewed my value – respect, trust & honesty
        4. Reset boundaries & discussed the topic with my friend
        5. Spoke kind & soothing words to myself
        6. Organized a service to link up with a mentor
        7. Had lunch with my best friend
        8. Ate nourishing & healthy foods
        9. Taking time out to review & write new goals for 2013
        10. Prayer & being still

        Overall I feel lighter, healthier, more secure and have decided to value & appreciate myself in different ways on a daily basis as it really worked for me ! Especially the positive self talk, setting boundaries & checking in with my values & sharing these with the important people in my life. The more I placed value on myself the more I saw it “mirrored” back to me by others….this was an amazing exercise
        Thank you Olin
        I value you & your blog it brings such a richness into my life
        With gratitude
        Madison🙂

        • Ollin says:

          YAY! Oh, that made me so happy Madison. I am sooo soo glad this worked for you. Sometimes I put these excercises out there and I wonder: do people realize that these excercises work if they try them? I don’t just make up random stuff – I actually do them myself first to see if they work and then I share. Well, anyways, I’m so glad you actually did the work and was successful at it! You made my day.🙂 Couldn’t make a blogger happier.

  3. Yvette Carol says:

    This is brilliant, Ollin. Talk about coincidence. I had a tough weekend with two sick kids at home, and yet, against the odds I wrote the all-important and daunting first chapter of my book. I also did half the enormous job of weeding the garden. Yet,all I could focus on this morning was the one tiny interaction I had with my middle son where I lost my cool. I realized gee, I did so much good work all weekend, and yet why am I choosing to solely focus on the one moment where I didn’t do as well as I would have liked? The only answer is habit. It’s a matter of noticing when I’m doing it! And choosing to focus on the positive.

    • Ollin says:

      Thank you for this illuminating and thoughtful comment, Yvette. I think your elaboration was incredibly helpful: yes this is also about focus, to. You’re right. Sometimes we only focus on all the ways we screw up our lives, and not on how we try to fix it.

  4. Mary says:

    I so appreciate your enlightenment in how to better appreciate myself. I had an Improv teacher tell me a while back to look in the mirror for two minutes every morning and tell me why I love me. I haven’t done that lately, but tomorrow is a new day. I am much happier and more productive when I stop and appreciate what I’ve done instead of what I didn’t do. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. 83October says:

    Hi Ollin,

    It’s been awhile since I last visited your blog, but nothing is by chance. This post was something I needed. It’s been tough for me to appreciate myself. I feel like nothing I do is enough and somehow in the end we need to learn to love ourselves. Someone once told me that once we learn to appreciate ourselves to love ourselves, loving other people because more meaningful.
    Thanks Ollin for touching on this topic. I needed it.🙂

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