I recently came across a journal entry from 2018 that listed things that I was grateful for. They were pieces in my life that affected me in some positive way. It said that I was grateful for: my family, my degree, and my job. I could not expect anything less from myself, and even now, I still value those things.
But is that enough?
We show appreciation for everything that we have, like our jobs and our families, by how we act. If we value our jobs, we make the effort to wake up, get dressed, and drive to work. If we value our significant other, we will spend time with them by eating a meal together or watching a movie. Every day, we express appreciation through our simple actions, yet we forget to take the time to thank ourselves.
For this year, I challenged myself to create a new list, focusing on myself—my worth. I opened my journal and was mentally prepared to write. But I stopped. My hand could not move. I remembered how easy it was before, writing a list of things I have and for which I was thankful. Yet why was it difficult to write about my own appreciation toward myself?
According to bloggers, researchers, and psychologists, they mention that it is easier to see the negative aspects within ourselves, and if we express ourselves highly, it would appear narcissistic. But Dr. Kristin Neff, researcher and author, disagrees. On her website, she talks about how self-appreciation corresponds with self-compassion. She believes, “Appreciation for our good qualities, then, is really an expression of gratitude for all who have shaped us as individuals.” Thinking about our own qualities does not make us selfish. In a way, we acknowledge the relationships and experiences that have helped bring us to where we are now by appreciating our own qualities. They may have assisted in developing those qualities, but it is also we who accepted the people and moments that make us who we are.
And so, I started to ask myself some questions. What qualities do I appreciate in myself? What are my values? How do I want to compliment myself? From there, I started writing my own list:
- I am grateful that I was able to try something new today
- I am a supportive sister
- Thank you, Jerline, for always trying your best each day
As I closed my journal, I then remembered what my friend had told me: “It is important to know who you are.” She had mentioned it to me so many times, but now I felt I truly understood what she meant.
During this month of gratitude, focus your thanks on yourself because you are important.
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