I am currently confronting the fact that I am not really good at appreciating myself. Or rather, being appreciative of who and all that I am. There is always something missing. I have never just sat and said - “I am enough”. However, when I dwell on all the things I have identified as lacking in my life, I find that I lose myself.
A trivial example is that of my relationship with my body. I have never appreciated it. It has never looked good enough. At the same time, I have never appreciated my efforts towards building a health and fitness lifestyle for myself. It has always been insufficient.
What happens when you don’t see and appreciate all that you are? You become exactly what you fear. You lose what you have, and that which you are so adamant that you lack, is taken from you by your inability to see, appreciate and use it. So the notion that you are missing something, continuously manifests itself in reality. After all, we are what we think.
As a consequence of ignoring my efforts in the gym and my opting for healthier food choices, I eventually stop exercising and eating properly. I slide back into bad habits, and because that is how I see myself anyway- a person who does not exercise or eat well enough- it is very easy for me to become someone who does not exercise or eat properly. After doing this for years, what presents itself in my life, is exactly the way I see myself. So over years of doing this dance, I put on close to 45 lbs. Would this have been the case if I had acknowledged my efforts and kept going? Probably not. In that way, by not appreciating all I was doing, I lost my ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Another example of my inability to appreciate myself is in my work. I never appreciated the progress I made in school or in the office. I hardly stopped to marvel at the little growth I made each week. I would start off completely stumped about how to approach a task, project or assignment, but by the end of the week, I would either have completed it successfully or made significant progress on it. It was never enough. I could never appreciate the growth that was taking place. So I was constantly frustrated and disappointed in myself. Those skills that I learnt by going through the struggle of learning something new remain with me, but it is not good enough. Why? I believed I should not have found it difficult in the first place and so I was not able to embrace the struggle. That is the problem with the fixed mindset. So what happens is that I don’t appreciate my work or my efforts and I remain constantly dissatisfied with myself and by extension, my career. It is not possible to make progress when you have it in your mind that you are stagnant.
I am sharing these personal examples, just to explain why It is important to acknowledge every single bit of effort you make in your life. The feeling of “not enough” is a parasite. It makes you sick. It takes and takes from you until you are left with nothing.
Acknowledge the baby steps and encourage them because that is how they eventually become the steps of an adult. What you don’t encourage will struggle to thrive. So encourage yourself. Pat yourself on the back - say well done, say good job. Tell yourself - “this is excellent! This is great"!”
Say these things to yourself everyday:
Instead of - I should have done more, say - Well done for what you did.
Instead of - That doesn’t count, say - Good job for doing that. I appreciate you.
Instead of - I struggled and it took so long to do it, say - Look at you! You made it! Well done!
Every day, every step - well done. Encourage yourself. Be proud of yourself. Inspire yourself to do more by acknowledging all that you have done and are currently doing.
Just as you would be for a loved one, be your own cheerleader. If you do this and adopt these attitudes, it will help you to stay committed and eventually, all that seemed impossible, is happening before your very eyes.
This is not about telling yourself not to give up. While that is a part of it, the focus is on saying “well done”, “good job”, “you are doing this and you are doing great”, “all your work and efforts count” because these things are all true.
Don’t let any one or any thought convince you that the “something” you are doing is not enough. It is enough, as long as you are doing it and you are making steady progress, it is enough.
We can always do more, but that is not the point. That is what gets us into trouble - focusing on what we haven’t done instead of continuing with what we are doing
You are doing it
And that deserves as big a congratulations as any.
For the final product is a result of your refusal to be discouraged or distracted by everything you thought you did not have or everything you think you are not doing.
Right now, every single thing about you is enough. You are not lacking in anything. Well done for all that you do. Well done for who you are becoming. Well done for showing up and being you.
Your Friends Within