How many of us have considered the topic of appreciation in our lives? And how many of us truly take moments to stop and appreciate ourselves? For me, taking moments to appreciate me has allowed a greater depth of understanding of both myself and others.
Self-appreciation used to be a completely alien concept to me. It was never even on my radar to consider appreciating myself at all, and I feel that underlying this was because it felt indulgent and conceited – something I would shy away from, preferring a more self-effacing identity.
Yes, I could appreciate some of the people in my life, my home, a holiday, possessions etc. but I could never bring appreciation to myself or acknowledge the qualities I bring. It just wasn’t something I could feel. From talking to others, it seems that this is a common theme.
Why is this? Why is it that we find it difficult to truly appreciate ourselves and the qualities that we bring to others and indeed the world? Imagine if we all began to feel and express our appreciation for ourselves in our lives. What would that look like?
It seems to me that we live in a society that deliberately gives us the impression that it’s wrong to appreciate ourselves, that it’s held as ‘cocky’ arrogant or impolite in some way. For some reason it’s much more acceptable to appreciate other people, which is great, but there’s something wrong when it detracts us from bringing true appreciation to ourselves.
Because of the beliefs we have developed around self-appreciation, we can sometimes feel judgement from others when we do dare to stand out and shine like a beacon, offering the fullness of ourselves and the beautiful qualities that we bring. And so, to avoid reactions and to ‘fit in’ I learnt to hide, and I would be embarrassed and change the subject if someone happened to actually pay me a compliment. Although, I desperately craved praise and approval from others to feel my worth and to let me know that I was ok.
But I have the understanding now that this is a false perception. I can feel now, how I have searched outside for approval and appreciation, but no matter how much somebody told me how wonderful I was, it was never enough. I can now feel how a growing connection to what’s inside me naturally builds self-appreciation. So, I realise now that I can confirm that in myself and not have to seek outside for anyone else to make me feel ok about myself. When we do this, we are at the mercy of life, but when we feel true self-appreciation we are more than enough. From my experience, it’s totally inspiring and refreshing to meet someone who emanates appreciation of themselves – it inspires me to do the same.
And so, inspired by others, and with a new level of self-acceptance, I have felt that true appreciation has begun to emerge for me. In learning not to be so critical of myself and to not compare myself to others, I am learning to accept that I have many qualities that are a blessing to both myself and the world, my appreciation for myself has grown and deepened.
At first it was a bit of a challenge and I noticed that it was easier to appreciate the things I do well, this was a start, but I realised that I needed to dig deeper and recognise and appreciate the qualities that I bring and that others can feel in me, such as, my steadiness, my strength, my loving and caring nature, my ability to allow others to be, and my delicacy and joyfulness.
As this has opened up for me, I noticed that I felt lighter and not so weighed down by the debilitating critical voice that used to perpetually play in the background. I feel now much of the time, a genuine and loving appreciation for me. When I don’t feel this, I know that there is something coming up for me to look at and let go of. Re-connecting to me allows the appreciation to be felt once again. It resides within constantly there waiting to be tapped into.
I no longer have to think ‘Now, what is it that I can appreciate today?’ it is there naturally within me to feel when I allow it. And with this, I have noticed that I appreciate the qualities that others bring from their essence rather than just what they offer to me as an individual. To me, this feels like true appreciation and it’s turning my life around.