Whenever we’re about to make a decision or take action on something of importance to us, it’s easy to second-guess ourselves. It’s in our nature to anticipate threats or danger. But, one thing that heightens our paralysis is the way that we perceive ourselves. It's the way that we talk to ourselves.
Negative self-talk can keep us from being our best selves. And, if you’re struggling with this, one of the ways to counter it is through self-appreciation. Self-appreciation is seeing yourself exactly the way you are, valuing yourself for it, and showing yourself compassion and gratitude.
Self-appreciation can change your life by transforming negative ideas of yourself into positive and nurturing self-beliefs. Here, we’ll be talking about the importance of self-appreciation and how you can practice it on the daily!
- Step inside: do you appreciate yourself?
- Studies on the effects of self-talk
- Self-appreciation as positive self-talk
- The importance of self-appreciation
- How to appreciate yourself
- Wrapping up
Step inside: do you appreciate yourself?
I’ve always believed that everything in our lives depends on how we do our inner work. Stepping within is always the first step whenever we find ourselves at the crossroads of decision-making (which, according to science, happens 35,000 times a day!) We always have to ask ourselves if we’re doing the right thing or whether we’re capable of doing such things or not.
So, imagine stepping into your inner self, asking it what you should do next, and only finding negativity and anxiety such as:
- I am not good enough.
- I don’t matter to the people I love.
- I won’t be able to face it when something goes wrong.
- I’ve failed before and I might fail again.
- I’d rather play it safe.
Surely, it won’t help you maximize your true value and become the best version of yourself, right?
To drive this point home, I’ve looked into some scientific research about how self-talk can impact our daily lives.
Studies on the effects of self-talk
Self-talk can drastically impact our attitudes, behaviors, and how we relate to other people. In a study conducted on secondary school-aged adolescents, it has been found that negative self-talk predicted loneliness, especially if it involves a socially threatening mentality.
Positive self-talk, on the other hand, can help with enhanced performance and self-esteem. A study explored the effect of self-talk intervention on junior athletes and found that it led to less anxiety and higher self-confidence, self-optimization, self-efficacy, and performance.
In another study, self-talk has been regarded as a “skill” that can change even young children’s perspectives and impact how they deal with circumstances that involve themselves and others. It only takes awareness, coming up with strategies, and implementing them on a regular basis.
Self-appreciation as positive self-talk
If you have a friend who’s having a bad day, you would usually try to turn their situation around by pointing out all the positives that they currently possess.
Easy, right? But, when it comes to ourselves, we become more critical and less compassionate, even during the times when we need support the most.
One way to channel positive self-talk is through self-appreciation.
A good rule to follow is: if we wouldn’t say it to our best friend, we probably shouldn’t say it to ourselves, too.
Now, self-appreciation all comes down to valuing ourselves for what we already are and all the good that comes with it (like we would do for a friend!)
The importance of self-appreciation
Whether it’s giving ourselves a compliment when we look at the mirror or patting ourselves on the back for a job well done, self-appreciation can instantly change the way we view our inner selves and, furthermore, conquer the world outside of us.
In my own moments of anxiety, instead of dwelling in rumination, what-ifs, or self-doubt, I try to get a hold of my situation by talking to myself in such a way that would acknowledge my capacity to get through difficulties.
One of the ways that I appreciate myself is identifying my current state and adapting a kind and supportive disposition, which helps me counter my negative self-talk. The way I appreciate myself may sound like:
- I am enough.
- I am needed and loved for all the good that I am.
- I do not abandon myself, I can fill myself up with love and support.
- I am grateful for my resilience despite my anxieties.
- I have so much potential even if I don’t see my growth right now.
Personally, having this realization made a huge difference in how I face my struggles and how I try to improve myself. I’ve realized that when I’ve learned the importance of self-appreciation, I gained the best supporter that I could ever have: myself.
How to appreciate yourself
Practicing self-appreciation may be easier said than done. I still struggle with it most times, but here are the key things that have helped me get the hang of it.
1. Step out of your negative thoughts
It’s really hard to see your value when your mind is clouded with negative thoughts.
So, it’s crucial for you to be aware when you are being hard on yourself and criticizing yourself too much. Once you’ve noticed the negativity, it’s time for you to separate yourself from it. Remind yourself that you are not your thoughts.
Some of the most effective ways for me to get out of my head is by writing my thoughts down or releasing them to a friend (who has the mental space to listen.)
I find that when I’ve moved past my thoughts, I realize that my situation is not as bad as I have it in my head, and there is always room for positivity, hope, and self-appreciation.
2. Accept who you are at this moment
Self-appreciation may seem synonymous with self-esteem or confidence. But, the difference is that self-esteem has something more to do with a triumphant sense of how we view our best self.
Self-appreciation, on the other hand, is finding value in ourselves even when we’re at our lowest, when we don’t have it in us to stand out or beat the rest.
Accepting who we are at this point in our journey is what self-appreciation is all about. No matter how far you are from your goals or how undervalued other people make you feel right now, self-appreciation allows us to make space for who we are at this moment without judgment, but with compassion.
It’s being able to say to ourselves:
“Hey, it’s okay that you’re lost right now. It doesn’t mean that you’re not worthy; it only means that you are human with so much room to grow.”
3. See the goodness in you
Even at rock bottom, you can still see gems of hope. Self-appreciation is all about identifying what’s good in you during those times when it’s hard to recognize them.
Perhaps, you’ve just lost your chance at your dream job, which may easily be a source of self-doubt. But, with self-appreciation, you can pat yourself on the back for sending an application to that intimidating company and showing up at the interview no matter how nerve-wracking it was. You were determined, and that’s what mattered.
During the times when you feel insecure, downplayed, or unsupported, it’s up to you to see the positives not just in the situation but in who you are as a person. Be your own cheerleader, and you will never lose the game!
4. Be grateful
Once you’ve seen the good in you, the final step is to be grateful for it. When it comes to appreciation, gratitude is the cherry on top; it’s the red ribbon that wraps up the best present that you can give to yourself.
Thank your body for being strong and being a testament to what being human is like. Thank your mind for being resilient despite your anxious tendencies. Thank your heart for having so much room for compassion even when people have hurt you. It turns out there are lots of things to be thankful for!
When you show gratitude towards yourself, it makes the experience even more rewarding. Honestly, thank yourself just for existing (as you would to a loved one!) Feels nice, doesn’t it?
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Appreciating yourself is one of the best ways to get rid of your own negative beliefs towards yourself. Oftentimes, we beat ourselves too much, not realizing that we can use this energy to build ourselves up instead. We are the only supporter we need, and the benefits of self-appreciation will help you realize that.
Now, what’s one thing that you appreciate about yourself today?