My dear friend Mitzi is so right. We don’t spend enough time being thankful for who we are and the positive impact we have on others. Too often we are only focusing on how we fall short, we’re not enough, and what we can’t do or what we should be doing instead of stopping to smell our own proverbial roses.
Others may be better at seeing your gifts than you are. If you cannot identify your strengths and the ways that you positively impact your world, you should A) take those strengths assessments I talk about all the time (VIA and Clifton StrengthsFinders) and B) do the Reflected Best Self exercise. This is one of my favorite exercises! Go ask 30 people to describe a time when you made a contribution. Likely it will surprise you in a very good way (see suggested social media campaign below).
I don’t struggle with my self-esteem like I used to in part because I’ve made a conscious effort to use my gratitude strength more intentionally and frequently. I discovered that, though gratitude is among my top 5 VIA strengths, it was not apparent to those around me. Effectively showing my appreciation for others and for our world also required that I appreciate myself, including the strengths that I have and my passion for creating positive change around me. To ignore the gifts I was given and only focus on my shortcomings is like telling your loved one that the sweater they picked out for you is the wrong shade of green: the blessings in my life
are not good enough. Also, focusing on the little wins during the day is rejuvenating, energizing, and generative. Best of all, since gratitude has been shown to be good for your health while strengthening relationships and positive emotion, adding one more major thing to be grateful for (yourself) can only be good for you.
I also don’t believe it’s arrogant to be grateful for your strengths and abilities. It’s not saying we’re perfect or better than others; rather we are just choosing to focus on what we do well and how we contribute, and feeling good about that. By using our strengths and assets to improve in our weaker areas, we can even improve our shortcomings while still focusing on our strengths. What a win-win!
Dear Universe: thank you for my ability to see the best in others and to help them grow into that person. Thank you for the ability to do the same for myself.
PS – I’d like to start a social media campaign for us all to do the Reflected Best Self exercise. Post this on your timeline: We all need to be more aware of the positive impact we make on the world. Please help spread the idea by helping me with this Reflected Best Self Exercise. Comment here regarding how I make a positive contribution to the world, then put this exercise on your timeline so that others can reflect your best self back to you.