Learn to Appreciate Who You See In the Mirror. Photo by Brad Lloyd on Unsplash

7 Easy Ways You Can Appreciate Yourself More

You Do It So No One Else Has To

Kristin van Tilburg
Feb 4 · 8 min read

When you learn to appreciate yourself it no longer matters so much whether or not anyone else appreciates you. Sure, gaining the approval and accolades of others is always nice. But when you appreciate yourself the approval of others is more like icing on the cake, rather than the cake itself.

Knowing your worth is a key to enjoying life. It seems our humble beginnings as infants, the relative powerlessness we all experience as well-meaning caregivers let us cry ourselves to sleep, makes a sense of worthiness fleeting.

“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”
Michel de Montaigne

For this reason, it is very, very common for adults to seek approval from others, and to live in an unconscious competition with every other person within range to get attention and appreciation from other people.

Once you recognize this phenomena and decide to supply yourself generously with appreciation and accolades you automatically coat yourself with an almost bullet-proof shield that allows you to live a satisfying and authentic life.

Self-deprecation and self-hatred are running rampant in our modern world. We often take ourselves for granted. Critics are everywhere. Most people automatically believe the negative things others say about them.

They unconsciously internalize criticism and beat them selves down with their own thoughts until their self-esteem until is almost non-existent.

“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.”
― August Wilson

The only way to reverse this process is to train yourself to appreciate yourself on a regular basis. This means learning to acknowledge and encourage yourself with empowering self talk.

This can be trickier than it sounds, especially if you’ve been beaten down a lot, but it’s not impossible. In this article, we’re going to walk you through seven ways you can develop a mindset of self-appreciation today

1) Decide You Are Worthy Just By Being Alive

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Have you noticed that some invisible force is sustaining your life? Think about it for a minute.

Why is your heart beating? Why is your breath breathing? What is actually sustaining your life?

Scientists tell us the reptilian brain does those things. But how? Where is that impulse to live coming from?

Something has decided that you will live. Something has decided you are worthy of a heart beat and breath and all the other life-sustaining functions your body performs every day.

Accept that as a sign that you are worthy to be here. Appreciate it.

Don’t set yourself in opposition to it by telling yourself you are not worthy. You are as worthy as anyone else whose breath and heartbeat is being given to them.

Can you see that?

Can you accept that?

Would you be willing to appreciate that and celebrate your existence?

Could you accept that you are worthy?

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ― Sharon Salzberg

2) Consider Where The Criticism Is Coming From

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

If you’ve lived in a self-defeating mindset for a long time, it can be hard to convince yourself of your value or to accept compliments. The easiest way around this is to consider the source of the negative comments.

People often project their insecurities onto others; for example, if they’re struggling with their intelligence, they’ll insult you by calling you dumb.

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.” ― Harvey Fierstein

Just because someone criticizes you or something you did doesn’t mean their opinion has to matter to you. People can say anything. Their saying something doesn’t make it true.

Consider where the hate is coming from before you take it too personally; this will make it easier for you to believe yourself about your good qualities.

“One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.” ― Michael J. Fox

3) Remember All You Have Accomplished

Photo by Grant Ritchie on Unsplash

Appreciating yourself is easy when you stop to realize all you have accomplished thus far in your life.

Humans tend to remember the failures much more readily than the achievements. This is unfortunate. But you can turn this around by choosing to focus on all you have done that has worked well for you.

Make a list of all your achievements. Keep adding to it regularly. List the small stuff as well as the big stuff. Realize all the things you do on a daily basis at work, at home, and for family, friends, colleagues, employers.

Given the time you have, can you see that you have accomplished quite a lot and are in a good place with room to grow?

If the answer is no, you might want to re-evaluate your standards. Are they set too high?

If not, and you genuinely feel you should be more productive, put a step-by-step plan in place so that you can achieve what it is you want to achieve; actively work toward this goal. Appreciate each accomplishment along the way.

Prove to yourself that you’re an accomplished and capable person.

4) Reward Your Efforts

Photo by André François McKenzie on Unsplash

When was the last time you treated yourself for your hard work and efforts? Don’t wait for others to do this! Do it for yourself!

An important part of appreciating yourself is to take time to stop and acknowledge all the hard work you’ve done, fully appreciate yourself for it, and reward yourself.

This can be as small as creating a certificate of accomplishment for yourself. Patting yourself on the back and saying “Well done!” while looking at yourself in the mirror. Purchasing something you have wanted. Taking time off from work to do something you really enjoy. Allowing yourself time to relax and read a book. Whatever makes you happy, use this to reward yourself.

5) Stop Judging Yourself Harshly

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It is a human tendency to compare ourselves to those around us. This may be useful in so far as it may help us to accomplish all that we can.

But when you take it to the point of tearing yourself down, you have taken it too far. Undermining your own worth and self-esteem is not productive.

“When you’re different, sometimes you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’t.” ― Jodi Picoult

This may be a habit you picked up from a well-meaning parent who wanted to see you actualize your potential. I know I was raised that way. Nothing I did was ever enough.

But this wasn’t because I was inadequate. It was because my father saw my potential, and he thought he was helping me to strive for it. He couldn’t see how demoralizing it was for me to live with constant criticism. His intentions were good.

I have had to consciously let go of incessant inner criticism that became a habit I internalized after growing up. My father died years ago, but the inner criticism didn’t stop automatically. That was when I realized I had internalized this counter-productive motivational style.

I have had to learn to appreciate myself. I have had to develop habits of encouraging internal self-talk. I have had to learn to validate my own efforts and stop looking for it externally.

Sure, it’s lovely when it comes from others, but I don’t need that when it comes from within. This helps me to feel free to be my best self, and my most authentic self. What a joyful way to live!

Everyone is unique with their own sets of skills, experiences, and qualities; comparison doesn’t make sense. Comparison is always apples to oranges.

You don’t know what privileges the person you’re comparing yourself to may have had or lacked; you don’t know their experiences; it’s not fair to compare yourself to them when you’re so different.

6) Appreciate All The Good Things In Your Life

Photo by Ty Williams on Unsplash

Take time to notice how good your life is. Do you have indoor plumbing? Did you have plenty of food today? Start with the basics, and allow your gratitude to flow over all that is truly wonderful about who you are and where you are in life.

Appreciate the wise choices you have made. Appreciate the kindness you have shown to others. Appreciate that you have survived and grown from the challenges you have faced. Appreciate how far you have come from where you started.

7) Let Yourself Receive Appreciation From Others

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

While it is true that you will be happier without needing appreciation from others, when they do extend appreciation, let it in!

We tend to deny the compliments we’re given from others.

We respond by saying “oh no, not really” or “not me,” rather than just saying “thank you.” The more you accept compliments from others, especially from those that you hold dear, the more you’ll start to believe them and internalize them.

If you grew up like me, receiving much more of the “stick” rather than being offered the “carrot,” appreciating yourself and experiencing your own worthiness can be a difficult habit to develop and maintain. But you must make the effort to do it.

Self-esteem is a confidence booster and a real game changer. This is a gift no one else can give you. Maybe there will always be haters in this world, but you don’t have to live as a victim of them. You can allow their opinion to be none of your business, and travel through your life to the beat of your own inner drum.

“Dare to love yourself as if you were a rainbow with gold at both ends.” ― Aberjhani

Kristin van Tilburg

Written by

Writer for Thought Catalog and Publishous. ****** Helping savvy Entrepreneurs master their mindsets to activate their full potentials.

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