In kindergarten, you were given a gold star for being a good listener. When you landed your first job, you soon got a raise for your exceptional work ethic. In your relationships, you’re praised for being kind, generous, funny and so on.
All of us have traits that make us stand out. They’re part of who we are and, therefore, part of what makes up our whole beauty. Sure, a mirror won’t reflect them. But they are as striking as a shiny head of hair or glowing skin. They allow us to share our individuality, what we excel at and what we take pride in with others—all the wonderful ways we contribute to the world around us. Acknowledging and embracing those strong points helps shape how others see us, as well as our own self-esteem. It’s a way of reminding yourself, I’m good at this, I can help others because of this, I’m proud of this—and this makes me special.
If you haven’t taken the time to reflect on the beautiful characteristics you possess, start today by following these three simple tips:
Make a list of your strengths. Recognizing—and fully accepting—what you’re great at can be a tough task, especially when you tend to focus on what you see as your imperfections, but it’s one worth working on. Forgive yourself for any negative thoughts that you might place on yourself and spend some time thinking about the wonderful qualities that make you you. Are you a caring friend? Are you able to see things in a positive light or express your gratitude often? Can you multi-task without dropping a ball or make the best chocolate chip cookies? Reflect on all the areas of your life and how you participate in them—your strengths may be more obvious than you expected.
Find little ways to shine every day. One of the best ways to remind yourself of your strengths is by putting yourself in situations that highlight them. Don’t think of them as opportunities to brag, but instead as ways to share those parts of your beautiful self. Do you love to cook? Invite some friends over for your famous turkey meatloaf. Are you a great writer? Send a thoughtful note to someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Doing little things like this not only lets you enjoy those traits, but others as well.
Learn how to embrace compliments. It’s easy to brush off praise as no big deal. However, though you may have a desire to be humble, it’s important to really hear and accept the nice things people say to you. The next time you receive some kudos, take a deep breath and let it soak in before you say “thanks.” Then, later in the day, remind yourself of what that person said to you. Taking the time to see the light in which others perceive you is a gift that’s worth opening again and again.