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In this final part of this 6-part series on self-compassion we are going to practice noticing our awesome and be a little better at appreciating it.
What you will learn in this episode:
Like all of the aspects of self-compassion, learning to appreciate yourself is an incredibly powerful tool. When I am better at noticing my good qualities or the stuff I do really well or the ways I impact the world in a positive way - when I notice those things and I can name them, then I become stronger. I build my self-confidence. I build my emotional resilience and strength. I build my ability to move forward and serve others.
We are so good at being mean to ourselves. If you recall from previous episodes, this is called a negativity bias. Humans are pre-programed to notice all the crappy stuff - especially about ourselves. Our failures, etc…
Let’s say that you made an amazing dinner for your family. It was pinterest perfect. You share it on social media. What would your caption say? “Nailed it. It was so good.” Or would it say something like,” it was great except for the sauce. The sauce wasn’t quite right.” Or would you even post a picture of the dinner? Would you worry it wasn’t good enough? Would you worry your friends would think you were bragging? Or that people would think that you cook this way all the time? Would people then think all of my dinners are this awesome? Maybe you would feel like it was showing off or that you were telling everyone that you are a better cook than they are?
Why are we so afraid to acknowledge our awesome? To celebrate our success? To shout out the things that we are doing well or that we are good at doing?
No big surprise that self-compassion would be important in becoming better in appreciating ourselves. If you recall from the previous episodes in this series on self-compassion, the three components of self-compassion are mindfulness, self-kindness, and common humanity.
Noticing. Being aware. For you to become better at appreciating yourself, you first have to notice your awesome. And not just notice it when you are asked to (like during this podcast), but starting to become more aware of your good qualities everyday. Don’t let your failures or flaws dominate your thoughts. They aren’t going anywhere. They will always be there. But so will your good qualities. They are always with you. You just have to notice them and value them.
Action step: Pick just one thing that you consider to be one of your good qualities and see if you can notice it just once a day.
When you are trying to become better at appreciating your good qualities, it is a form of being kind to yourself. When you appreciate your good qualities, it is self-kindness.
Action step: Come back to my favorite self-compassion practice of “How would you treat a friend?” There are things you love and value about your friends. If I asked you to think about your bestie and to list all of the things you love and value about her - you would be able to create this long list very quickly. So, can you do the same thing for yourself? Or maybe even enlist your bestie or your partner or your Mom to help you create a list of your good qualities.
So I think that we could all agree that some people in the world have good qualities. Think of all the people you know. There is something good about all of them (although sometimes it doesn’t feel that way). That guy who cut you off in traffic - he might be an amazing Dad. Even Darth Vader, who was trying to take over the entire universe, had some good left in him, enough to save his Son’s life. Think of all the people in your life - you would consider that they had some good qualities, right? If you are human, then you also have good qualities. It would be very hard for you not to have them. If Darth Vader can have some good, then so can you. Interestingly, noticing his good qualities and acknowledging them is what allowed Darth Vader to save himself, the universe and his son - that’s a pretty good argument for appreciating yourself and embracing the good qualities you have.
Action step: Be more like Darth Vader! I’m kidding. That’s mostly a bad idea. Consider some of your good qualities that were maybe influenced by the people in your life. For instance, my sense of humor comes from my mother. Luke Skywalker’s strength in the force comes from his father. Like the force, good qualities are everywhere - they surround us, they are a common thread throughout most of humanity.
Ok, I’m going to stop with the Star Wars references. But I’m having some self-compassion for some of my good qualities - and I’m going to count my love and passion for Star Wars and being a huge nerd as a good quality.
OMG. Is it hard to appreciate your awesome? Is it uncomfortable? That’s ok. It’s hard work. Learning to notice and value your good qualities is challenging work.
Take a moment and consider why it’s so hard for you?
Maybe you think that it’s bragging? Or arrogance? Or a way to view yourself as superior to others?
There’s no right or wrong.
But I will ask you this….
Does it feel more comfortable to acknowledge your flaws and failures and bad qualities?
Does it feel more natural?
Why are you ok with that?
Why are you more ok with noticing the things that you suck at instead of the things you are doing well?
Remember, that this is yet another practice. It takes work. You have to keep trying and working at it to get better at it. But I’m guessing that you might have some good qualities to help with that… perseverance, determination, love, humor, gratitude… just some ideas.
Thank you so much for listening. My sincere hope is that you found this episode and the entire 6-part series on self-compassion to be useful. Self-compassion is an incredibly powerful practice. As always, there are lots of details in the show notes...
Kristen Neff, 2015, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
Kristen Neff and Christopher Germer, 2019, Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Program
Kristen Neff and Christopher Germer, 2018, The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook
You can dive deep into some the benefits in Dr. Neff's books above, but here is a helpful summary.
I wish you a healthy, happy, and mostly sane week!
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