12/01/2021

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The Importance of Self Appreciation

By Tasha Howard, Extension Assistant Professor

man hugging himself

November is a month where we focus on appreciation and give thanks for those things and people who make our lives better. Oftentimes, left off our list of thank yous is ourselves. According to an article by Psychology Today, self-appreciation is a good skill to have and goes beyond self-compassion and self-esteem by allowing you to truly appreciate who you are. It not only allows you to reflect on the hard things you’ve done, but it also gives you time to reflect on your strengths and can build on your confidence. However, it isn’t always easy to show self-appreciation. Between the constant social media feeds filled with the highlight reels of other’s lives to the sometimes-extreme body types and social expectations shown in tv and movies, it can seem like there’s no way you measure up or it may be difficult to find what you appreciate about your own self. If you notice these feelings this season of thanksgiving, here’s some ways you can show some self-appreciation:

1. Look back and reflect on where you’ve been in your life. One of the easiest ways to show self-appreciation is practicing reflection. According to an article posted by The Open University, reflecting gives you the ability to learn new skills by looking at how things have gone and where things have gone (The Open University, 2021). Looking back on where you came from can give you a sense of strength in truly understanding where you can go, providing optimism for the future (The Open University, 2021). 

2. Put time into your physical health. This doesn’t mean going on a diet or starting an extreme exercise routine. It means making sure your body is fueled by food that makes you feel good and that you get regular physical exercise. Science has shown that when you take care of your body and put time into your physical health, you can have a greater sense of appreciation for who you are and all that your body can do (Stonsy, 2021).

3. Put time into what you value. Connecting with something greater than yourself and finding meaning in what you value can really help you appreciate yourself by allowing you to have a greater connection and meaning. Finding what you value can be a task, but there’s an easy activity that Psychology Today says can help you narrow down what you value by appreciating those around you. To do this, list out 5 people who you look up to or that are role models for you. Think about why those people are important to you and the values they embody. This may help you realize some of the values you embody as well (Selig, 2021).

4. Evaluate the way you talk to yourself. We all have an inner monologue and sometimes that inner monologue can be our worst enemy. One thing you can do is identify the negative cycles of self-talk you get into. For example, try to identify when you start to have a more negative inner monologue. Once those cycles are identified, you can start turning them around. An example of this would be when you start to doubt yourself over something you are about to do or have done, allow yourself to turn the fear and doubt into an opportunity, and instead make it positive. 
Oftentimes we leave ourselves off our gratitude list, but it is important to make sure you show self-appreciation. By recognizing and reflecting on where you’ve been and where you can go, putting time into your physical health, figuring out what it is that you truly value, and lastly evaluating the way you talk to yourself, you can show yourself the same gratitude you would show others.

References

  • Holland, K. (2020, June 27). Positive Self-Talk: How Talking to Yourself Is a Good Thing. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/positive-self-talk#examples-of-positive-self--talk
  • The Open University. (2021). Self Reflection. https://www.open.ac.uk/choose/unison/develop/my-skills/self-reflection
  • Selig, M. (2021). 6 Ways to Discover and Choose Your Core Values. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/changepower/201811/6-ways-discover-and-choose-your-core-values
  • Stonsy, S. (2021). Anger in the Age of Entitlement How Much Do You Value Yourself? Https://Www.Psychologytoday.Com/Us/Blog/Anger-in-the-Age-Entitlement/201406/How-Much-Do-You-Value-Yourself. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/201406/how-much-do-you-value-yourself