We often think of everyone and everything around us when we are asked what we are grateful for, but what about ourselves? This is such a powerful aspect of our being and yet we all throw it to the back burner and before we know it, we’ve shrunk. We withdraw, ignore, and lack self-care and self gratitude.
So what is self gratitude exactly then? Practicing self-gratitude is about being grateful for YOURSELF. Why do we need self gratitude? It helps build confidence, strength, and highlights your abilities, gifts, and talents to serve others, who then, in turn, are soooo grateful for you too!
“Give the world the best of you, not what’s left of you..” Burnout breeds a lack of confidence, it results in personal destruction. So how does one go about being grateful for themselves?
First of all, make a list, a list of things you like about yourself. What are you good at? What did someone last thank you for? It could be as simple as being a good listener, or a helpful friend to someone who needed a ride somewhere. Take your time when doing this, it’s your foundation moving forward to build confidence and self gratitude. It’s not cocky, go ahead, ...compliment yourself.
Now how can you improve on it? If you are a good listener, could you listen to yourself a bit better? Take time daily to reflect on one thing you are grateful for about yourself?
An exercise you could do is write down those strengths you have and put them in a jar. When you are having a tough day, pull one out and meditate, go for a walk, reflect on it.
Furthermore, in order to better care for yourself, consider committing to one complaint-free day a week. If Mondays are rough, go for that one. And try your best to counter anything negative with a positive affirmation. Have those affirmations ready… for example:
I’m so stupid… I love myself for who I am
Exercise sucks… I love exercising a bit more each day
I am ugly… There is only one of me, I am beautiful
Do some homework as we like to call it around here…
Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle
On one side write down those negative things
On the other side, counter them with a positive.
Use positive words like strong, smart, skillful, powerful…
Some simple tips that can help you improve your own self-gratitude, as well as gratitude for others, are sleep, nutrition, and relationships. Again, if you are burnt out, not feeling well due to all those stomach bombs, and do not have support around you, then you will struggle when things become challenging, and there will always be challenges.
Simply thanking a new acquaintance can encourage a relationship to bloom. Enhancing empathy instead of aggression, offering help even though it may be inconvenient for you but providing someone else with service that they are grateful for.
Finally, to sum up, some gratitude exercises... Try these!
Journal- you knew that was coming- you can purchase some good ones online that help direct you or just right down 1 thing you are grateful for a week and reflect on it when things get challenging.
Gratitude Jar- write those things you are grateful for down on a piece of paper and put them in your jar as you think of them daily. Before you know it, you have a jar full of encouragement!
Gratitude Rock- or object... Now I like the rock idea because this past year at Rugged Running the Camp, I stayed behind and picked some special rocks from the top of Mt. Tilton to pass out at the end of camp. I carry this rock with me every day to remind me of the efforts that were made that weekend, the accomplishments and inspiration of others, and how, with baby steps, we can all reach the top of any mountain! It also symbolizes the awesome group of people, my community, my support system that I could share it with.
Gratitude Tree- This one I got from Maya and Wyatt who recently took a shopping trip to Hobby Lobby and picked one up. You can easily make your own too, it's a great activity to do as a family and to place in the house somewhere for all to see!
Gratitude Collage- Kind of like the sight scenes I encourage my athletes to create before a big race, or at the beginning of the year to execute goals. Include pictures of you, magazine clippings, affirmations, goals, but most importantly what you are grateful for... And hang it where you can see it every day!
Gratitude Flower- you’ve got it... Make the middle “what I’m grateful for” then place different colored leaf construction paper cutouts with the things you are grateful for... Glue and hang in your office!
Gratitude Box- otherwise known as my Happy box! Place things inside it that makes you happy (or pictures, or write them down)... Visit it when times get rough.
We will go over Gratitude Garden next time, but get on these! Let your light shine!