Appreciating Ourselves

As we hurtle towards the end of the year, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. There’s a lot of bad, bad news out there these days, a lot of things we need to do, and what feels like fewer and fewer resources with which to handle it all. But an effective counterbalance to this is to appreciate all the things we do well. Maintaining a cheerful outlook about ourself and our opportunities is a key factor in our actual experience of life.


To get started, I want you to spend two minutes to write down the things you are doing well, living your life exactly as it is today. Come on, pen to paper—chop chop. You can start with brushing your teeth and build from there…Inventories such as these can prove enormously useful because they remind us of all those “little things” we gloss over or minimize. “So, I got a semi-decent meal pulled together, so what?” “Yeah, I pay my bills on time, but so does everyone else.” Uh, not actually, so each of these count. You did this, please give yourself credit…


Stemming, perhaps, from our Puritan heritage we are more reluctant to brag, but in the circles in which I run (even here in DC), I find that the vast majority of people are likely to dismiss their contributions rather than give them the real and necessary recognition they are due. I’m as guilty as anyone and am grateful when friends call me on it, reminding me that the “little things” I do actually make a difference. So, let me turn this thinking back onto you. It may be hard to trust, but you just being you is a contribution in and of itself!


Do you believe me?


Part of maintaining our store of hope and confidence requires that we have things to look forward to each day—be that taking a hot, steamy shower or planning for that special overnight getaway you’ve been dreaming about. Finding a strategy to inhabit our lives with gratitude and joy makes the rest of what we have to deal with bearable. There is always more good than bad in this world—always. Yes, I’m being relentlessly cheery but I’m also speaking the truth. And you know it. Besides, what is the point of slipping over to the doom and gloom side of the equation? Honestly. What good does that accomplish?


Whether or not you believe in a Higher Power (and I most certainly do), in order to live effectively, each of us needs to find faith in something. Having faith in ourselves is an excellent place to start; in fact, it’s the foundation of everything we do. We build from our strengths. So what are yours? What is it that you do well (whether or not those around you even notice)? Think about this as you’re driving about today—take my request seriously.


One of the things we’re prone to forget when caught up in the rigors of our lives is that it takes time, dedication, and an open mind to see new connections, to gain new insights, and to imagine another way around the problem. Good ideas don’t present themselves right away. Sometimes, we have to push ourselves to think beyond the first right answer. What I’m getting at is this: having inventoried what you are doing particularly well right now, ask yourself what other ways you might utilize these strengths and skills? Could they be useful to tackle an entirely different kind of project? For instance, might your organizational abilities or your superior party planning skills have application to some other sort of job or project? Could your expertise in military history or knack for fixing leaky toilets translate into some other effort? Does the fact that people respond to the sound of your voice suggest a different vocation than the one you’ve already thought of? What else is out there waiting for you to discover it?


Now, if you’ve stuck with me this long and actually done as I asked, making an list of the things you are do well, I’ll bet you’re feeling more energized and your responsibilities may feel a bit lighter. What you choose to do with all those excellent skillsets doesn’t have to set the world on fire—that may come later, but now you are approaching life from a position of strength, a position of confidence in yourself and your abilities. And don’t we all benefit from that?


So, to wind this post up, I want you to be specific about all the things you are doing well because having this knowledge provides a greater sense of pride and confidence which will then enable you to move through life more positively. And, what could be better as we march forward into the darkest days of winter? If it would motivate you, send me your list, let me know you’ve done your homework.



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One Response to “Appreciating Ourselves”

  1. jimpattersonjrgmailcom Says:

    Good one

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