“Let’s begin by clearing up something: Self-respect does not make you narcissistic or conceited or self-centered … in fact, it does quite the opposite. Self-respect is about amassing a deep sense of self-worth and self-love to show that you are worthy of receiving love and in turn, giving love.” – Danielle Dowling, PsyD.
Since we were young, our parents taught us the value and importance of being grateful in life especially to the people who have been good to us. We learned that by being grateful, we become benevolent as well, for we know that in every appreciation we give, comes the feeling of happiness and fulfillment not just on the person we thank for but also to ourselves. We got used to appreciating every little thing in life regardless of how well or bad it is because we know that, everything happens for a reason and that we should still show kindness during adversities. Learning the importance of gratitude has helped us to embrace and live up its value; hence, we become grateful for everything, always.
On the other hand, despite the fact of being grateful for everything that we have, we sometimes forget to appreciate one important person to be thankful for, and that is our self. We have the innate selflessness that enables us to put others’ well-being first, that is why with all the appreciation that we have for other people, we fail to appreciate our self.
Start Within Yourself
Most of us see gratitude as something to be shared with others, except for our self, because we think that appreciating one’s self is already arrogant. Give yourself a short break for a while and try to be grateful for what you have become. Examine within yourself that you are thankful for the person that you came to be so that you can be a blessing to others as well. This way, you know your worth thus giving yourself importance. Be narcissistic for a while. You must remember that gratitude starts with you; hence you deserve to appreciate yourself for choosing and doing what is right.
Steven Stosny, Ph.D. says, “Self-value is more behavioral than emotional, more about how you act toward what you value, including yourself than how you feel about yourself compared to others. It necessarily includes self-care.”
What Should You Thank Yourself For?
It is easy for us to recognize the things and people we are grateful for while we unnoticed the things we should thank our self for, like appreciating yourself for:
- Being thankful for everything
- Keeping up the faith amidst life’s adversities
- Returning kindness over cruelty
- Courage to let go
- Believing in love despite the pain
- Giving second chances
- Accepting things that are not meant for you
- Forgiving others and yourself
- Recognizing your mistakes
Just like how we appreciate and admire other people on how they overcome the challenges in their lives, we should also do the same to ourselves. “Acknowledging and expressing genuine gratitude for what you appreciate in your life is a deeply kind act,” says psychotherapist Lea Seigen Shinraku. When you know how to appreciate yourself, you begin to discover your strengths and weaknesses, and this would help you improve yourself into becoming a better person. Self-appreciation is a way of recognizing self-worth, which enables you to realize that you are a human of substance, worthy to be loved and respected.
Your relationship with yourself is as significant as your character. As they say, you cannot give what you do not have. You cannot learn to appreciate others if you do not know how to thank yourself. Do not be too hard on yourself, give yourself the reward that you deserve. Remember you are doing your very best to be the best version of yourself and that is already an achievement. Reward yourself with appreciation, celebrate your pain and triumphs and rejoice for better days to come.