SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST’S CORNER
Gratitude is the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself; it is a general state of thankfulness and/or appreciation.
The majority of empirical studies indicate that there is an association between gratitude and a sense of overall well-being.
Please, think for a while now: what do you do when you appreciate someone for what they have done? Most likely, you would say, “Thank you”, or you would be nice, kind and courtesy towards the other person. But how many times do we say “thank you” to ourselves? Do our children thank themselves and therefore appreciate what unique people they are?
Self-appreciation is the process of appreciating yourself. Appreciating yourself is about being grateful for yourself. You can be:
- Thankful that your body is functioning properly
- Grateful that you are given your natural talents and gifts
- Appreciative towards your weaknesses too.
Being aware and grateful for what we are given, without judging if this is something good or bad, gives us a sense of control. Furthermore, people are more likely to appreciate someone, a child or an adult, who appreciates themselves.
How to appreciate yourself?
1. Don’t wait
Appreciate yourself. Do it now.
For instance, there are simple things we or our bodies do or have which we can be appreciative of. These are things we pay the least attention to when we are busy and things we most likely to take for granted. When it comes to appreciation, it’s important to see what we have, and not what we don’t have.
Start with all your body parts — the eyes, the nose, the mouth, the ears, all your fingers, and toes. How do you use them in your daily life? What roles do they play? Then, proceed to your inner organs such as your heart, stomach, and lungs. Can you be thankful for them too?
2. Use kind words
Being appreciative of yourself is as simple as using kind words on yourself. Change how you speak to yourself. Think of the language you would use when you are being appreciative towards someone else. Use the changed language on yourself. Use fewer words that create judgment and drama. When you forget to do something, instead of scolding yourself, why not appreciate all the times when you did remember to do the things you plan to do? Humans tend to focus on their mistakes and forget all the times when they are doing things right.
Being aware of how you speak to yourself will help you to appreciate yourself more.
3. Keep a gratitude journal
Using a gratitude journal have many benefits. One of which is to help you uncover things which you have taken for granted
for about yourself. Having a fixed schedule to write your gratitude journal would also remind you to appreciate yourself. Not only does having a gratitude journal let you review what you are grateful for over the years, it helps you develop the habit of appreciating yourself. Once you have developed the habit, you would realise that even if you don’t write your journal daily, you would naturally appreciate yourself more.
4. Give yourself a gift
Giving yourself a gift is one of the best ways to show yourself appreciation. You can be like the mother who gave herself a Mother’s Day cake.
Gifts can be something material such as a cake, a new phone, a car or a holiday. It can also be something simple such as taking a break from work, walking in nature, giving yourself a massage or hugging yourself.
Instead of buying something because you want something, you do it from a place of giving and appreciation. You give because you want to give thanks to yourself.
When you give yourself something, you have to receive too. The act of giving and receiving feels great. But when you desire something, you expect to get it. It’s a feeling of anticipation. The feelings between the two are very different.
5. Be a teacher for your family and friends
Teach your family and friends how to do and use self-gratitude!
Based on: my own self-gratitude experience, websites on self-gratitude, especially Yong Kang Chan’s article.