7 Internal Power: Part- 2/7 THE POWER OF APPRECIATION

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7 Internal Power: Part- 2/7 THE POWER OF APPRECIATION

7 Internal Power: Part- 2/7 THE POWER OF APPRECIATION.

7 Internal Power: Part- 2/7 THE POWER OF APPRECIATION
7 Internal Power: Part- 2/7 THE POWER OF APPRECIATION

How to Appreciate Yourself?

Low self-esteem can trap you in a terrible cycle: the worse you feel about yourself, the more you beat yourself up. Self-help advice often falls flat because these struggles make you feel powerless: if you don’t feel in control of your thoughts, how are you supposed to change them? The answer lies in changing your habits. Treat yourself like you’re worth it, and you’ll train your brain to believe the truth: that you deserve respect just like every other wonderful, flawed human.

Question your negative thoughts.

Challenge thought patterns that focus only on failures and flaws. When we struggle with self-esteem, our brain is not always our friend. It takes practice to train your mind into better habits, but the first step is recognizing the lies it’s telling you:

  • Recognize that feeling like a failure doesn’t make you a failure.
  • Check the evidence for your conclusions. A friend not responding to your text doesn’t mean they hate you, even if the negative thought spiral can make it feel that way.
  • Realize that positive events deserve your focus too. One negative comment shouldn’t stop you from appreciating praise.

Respond to your mistakes and failures with compassion.

You don’t need to condemn yourself for every failure. Studies show that responding to your own mistakes with compassion not only helps your self-esteem but also makes you a more capable and resilient person. Push back against the inner critic that blows things out of perspective:

  • Very few things in life are “all or nothing”. Even if something didn’t go the way you had hoped, that doesn’t mean nothing good came out of it at all.
  • One failure does not define you forever. The question the feeling of hopelessness by telling yourself “Things didn’t go my way, but that doesn’t mean that will always be true. I can’t predict the future.”
  • Even when you make mistakes, you deserve kindness. If you’re feeling ashamed or self-loathing, allow yourself to watch your favorite show or order comfort food. Don’t punish yourself by withholding the things that help you cope.

Fight perfectionism with realistic thinking.

Impossible standards are a sure way to lower your self-esteem. Do you agonize over doing each task perfectly, or procrastinate and give up on tasks because you feel you can’t succeed to the right standard? This perfectionism wears down your self-image and interferes with your ability to function. Remind yourself of more realistic perspectives on at least a daily basis, even if you don’t believe them at first:

  • “It’s okay that someone doesn’t like me. No one is universally beloved.”
  • “I tried my best, and that’s all that anyone can do.”
  • “It’s unreasonable to expect perfection. Nothing is perfect, and that’s okay.”

Argue back against negative thoughts.

Turn internal monologues into a two-way conversation. Research and therapeutic practices show that this can help overcome cruel and unhelpful “inner critics”. By responding to negative thoughts in a separate, more supportive voice, you distance those thoughts from your sense of self and learn to criticize yourself in kinder and more productive ways.

  • For example, if you find yourself thinking “I’m so awful, everyone hates me”, re-imagine that as someone else talking: “You’re so awful, everyone hates you.”
  • Speaking as yourself, argue back against this “other voice” (mentally, out loud, or on paper). “My friend Sarah doesn’t think I’m awful.”
  • Come up with counterexamples to prove the “inner critic” wrong: “They don’t hate me, they sent me birthday cards.”

Say no when you need to.

Value your own needs instead of overcommitting. Respect your boundaries and learn to say no to commitments that aren’t worth the stress. The automatic “yes” in response to any request is a form of “people-pleasing”: putting everyone else’s desires ahead of your own. Here are some ways to make saying no easier:

  • Stall with “I’ll get back to you” or “I’ll think on it.”
  • Set hard boundaries, without apologizing or making excuses: “I am not available to work on weekends” to a client or “I cannot take calls during the workday” to an emotionally needy friend.
7 Internal Power: Part- 2/7 THE POWER OF APPRECIATION
7 Internal Power: Part- 2/7 THE POWER OF APPRECIATION

Appreciate what you have.

It’s okay to be happy with where you’re at. Not appreciating yourself often leads to endless chasing after goals. Maybe you compare yourself to other people and try to “catch up” with them, or maybe you feel there are certain things you’re “supposed” to want. Whatever the case, you’re not being true to yourself when you fail to appreciate what you already have.

  • List the things in your life that you are proud of and that make you happy. Cherish these things and don’t sacrifice time with them needlessly.
  • Re-examine your goals in your career, in dating, and other areas of your life. What kind of life do you genuinely want?

Be your authentic self.

Express who you are instead of who you “should” be. Do you feel like you have to hide your opinions and personality to make other people happy? Get back in touch with your core values to chip away at your self-doubt.

  • One way to start this process is to identify moments that make you feel inauthentic (either in the past or when they happen to you). Have a dialogue with yourself: what is your “inauthentic” side afraid of? What does your authentic self wish it could do?
  • Trust your instincts about what scene is right for you, which people are right for you to be with, and what career to pursue. You know yourself best and how to make the most of what you have to offer the world.

Improve your body image.

  • List the things in your life that you are proud of and that make you happy. Cherish these things and don’t sacrifice time with them needlessly.
  • Re-examine your goals in your career, in dating, and other areas of your life. What kind of life do you genuinely want?

Be your authentic self.

Express who you are instead of who you “should” be. Do you feel like you have to hide your opinions and personality to make other people happy? Get back in touch with your core values to chip away at your self-doubt.

  • One way to start this process is to identify moments that make you feel inauthentic (either in the past or when they happen to you). Have a dialogue with yourself: what is Is your “inauthentic” side afraid of? What does your Does authentic self wish it could do?
  • Trust your instincts about what scene is right for you, which people are right for you to be with, and what career to pursue. You know yourself best and how to make the most of what you have to offer the world.

Improve your body image.

Cut sources of negative body image out of your life. Reframe poor body image as a mental health issue, not a physical one. Common physical “solutions” like dieting often lead to worse depression and anxiety and can put you in a weight-see-saw that harms your health. This isn’t a choice between accepting yourself or getting healthy. Learning to view and think about your body without toxic negativity is an important step for your health, both physical and mental.

  • Unfollow social media feeds and delete apps that make you feel bad about yourself.
  • Take a break from TV and other media full of idealized bodies.
  • Avoid people who trigger negative thoughts, or ask them not to bring up triggering topics around you.
  • Talk to a mental health professional if you are constantly focused on your weight, size, diet, or exercise.

Practice self-care that makes you feel present.

Find activities that focus you at the moment. Even when we have free time, many of us spend it on activities that don’t let us properly recharge. Effective self-care makes you more aware of what you’re feeling and keeps you focused on that experience. Whether you’re into yoga or video games, the activity should suffuse you with a positive feeling, whether that feeling is calm, wonder, or excitement.

  • Getting through a to-do list helps “future you”, but it’s not helping you recharge now. If you can’t relax when there are chores to do at home, go for a walk or get out into nature.
  • Numbing yourself with passive screen time or alcohol distracts you from yourself and your needs, instead of focusing your attention on them. Schedule an activity with a friend if you have trouble resisting these temptations while alone.

Lean on supportive people during crises.

Rely on friends for perspective and encouragement. Sometimes it feels like a catch-22 to improve your self-esteem when all you have to work with is your self-critical brain. Share your anxieties and even your self-loathing with someone who cares about you, and listens to share their perspective (which is usually more accurate and realistic).

  • If you don’t have someone to talk to, try to imagine your struggles with another person. Would you think someone else is lazy in your situation? Or would you be sympathetic?

7 Internal Power: Part- 2/7 THE POWER OF APPRECIATION

Foster regular connections with others.

Take action against loneliness. Socialize with other people at least once a week, every week. Connection with others is a critical tool for getting us outside of our heads and reminding us that we are ordinary, imperfect humans just like everyone else.

  • When circumstances make hangouts difficult, find the next best alternative. A half-hour video chat is a great option when nothing else is feasible.
  • Even connecting to a stranger on the street can have a remarkable positive effect. In several experiments, commuters on public transit who talked to other passengers enjoyed themselves and felt better afterward—even though many of them described themselves as introverts and predicted they would hate it.

Volunteer your time to help others.

Helping others strengthens feelings of belonging and agency. Both of these effects in turn help with self-esteem. Volunteer at a local program such as a homeless shelter, or make informal arrangements in your social network.

  • For instance, new parents can always use help with cleaning, cooking, or childcare. Volunteering can even be as simple as spending time with a lonely relative who appreciates your company.

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SEVEN POWERFUL INTERNAL POWERS: PART 1/7 THE POWER OF ACCEPTANCE