Knowing our strengths and achievements, and appreciating them is not being self-obsessed; it is seeing ourselves as a whole; weaknesses, and strengths.
Part of having healthy self-esteem, is having a realistic view of ourselves. Keeping our strengths in sight; using them for the benefit of others, and of ourselves, and being compassionate with ourselves for our flaws.
In my experience, most people have no idea, of how much they have accomplished, and the things they are good at.
My clients often find it hard to list more than four or five items, if left to their own accord. Then, after several levels of questioning, and reminding them to consider all spheres in their lives, we often end up with a much, much longer list.
Unfortunately, as explained in this famous Ted Talk, our minds are programmed to look for negative information and to hold on to it for longer. So any activity that helps us counteract this tendency, will help us, be more positive and improve our self-image.
Listing Your Achievements
Below is a simple worksheet, that helps you remember more of your good qualities and achievements.
I suggest you do this exercise in writing, and not just mentally. Writing them may help you get into the momentum of the exercise, and list more. Listing them down will also help you see how many there are, and make them more real. Plus you will also be able to refer back to them when needed.
For example are you good in languages, helping others? Are you a loving mum or a good cook?
Think about what you bring to your relationships? What do your friends and family, compliment you about? What do they seek your help in?
Do you make them laugh? Are you a good listener? Do you give them sound advice?
What have you been able to build, change, overcome in your life, or at work? Do you have a successful career? What skills and abilities have made this possible? Are you a hard worker? Have you recuperated after losing a job, or a bad divorce?
If you want to go a step further, you can ask your close friends to tell you, what they think are your top three qualities.
This may be a stretch for some of you, but its a stretch in the right direction. You are building your “self-esteem muscle” in facing things you fear when they are not bad but simply frowned upon by society.
Here is a typical message you could send to your friends – “I am doing an exercise, that will help me concentrate on my strengths and not only my weaknesses. I would appreciate your help in this, by listing what you believe are my top three strengths and qualities. If you wish I could also send you back what I believe are your top three qualities.”
You can always reciprocate of course, and in today’s world with instant messaging, this exercise is made a bit easier.
If you have difficulties listing your true strengths, I suggest you try the StrengthFinder Test. It does not come for free, but it is a very good one.
The book, also suggests, that we should concentrate on improving our strengths, rather than overcoming our weaknesses. For many, this is quite a shift in approach. It is definitely a good piece of advice, for those who are consistently concentrating on their flaws or have already done a lot in that regard.
However, in my opinion, it is also important to address those weaknesses that adversely affect our day-to-day functioning and our relationships.
Many times, when we can see ourselves as a whole, we find that a strength can be used to address, overcome or make up for our deficiencies.
Once you do this exercise, I suggest you read the list again the next day and try to add more.
Keep the list handy. Read it often, and keep adding to it. When you need a pick me up, read it again and try to add something new.
If you found this article interesting, subscribe to my blog, by pressing the button in the right column, or click here.