This article will demonstrate the benefits of implementing self appreciation as an intentional activity in daily life for good mental and physical health. How is that people can look at other people, places, things, and declare them beautiful but never quite manage to apply ideas of beauty to themselves? The answer is because too few have ever been taught how to or had the behavior modeled for them to apply.
The exercise has never been prompted and people tend to see beauty only in other people, places, and things beyond themselves. How different might people be if taught beauty must be part of them to recognize it beyond themselves? Might that awareness bring with it the capacity for enhanced self appreciation?
Self – Appreciation
Self – appreciation is the capacity to perceive, feel, and express authentic positive regard for self as a unique expression of life with infinite possibilities. David, King of Ancient Israel may have summed up self – appreciation best in Psalms 139 vs. 14. Aware of the majesty and beauty of his own creation from the mind and heart of unseen hands made a comment I remind myself and others of daily.
He said and I paraphrase, “I am so well made I am awesome. My soul well knows that I am awesome because awesome are the Creator’s works.” I am awesome! You are awesome! We are awesome!
Consequences of the Lack of Self – Appreciation
Charles Dickens’ Classic, A Tale of Two Cities begins with the words, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the season of light, it was the season of darkness.”
Dickens describes a time not so very different from our own. For some it is the best of times and they are too few. For some it is the worst of times and they are too many. It might be said this is the age of disappointment. Born to live the dream of ancestors where everything was believed possible, something has gone terribly wrong.
In the age of disappointment, something or someone must be blamed. It is the economy’s fault. It is the President’s fault. It is the opposition party’s fault. It is the rich’s fault. It is the poor’s fault. Blame always finds an object for its negative affection.
Disappointment unmanaged for too long becomes depression. Depression unmanaged for too long becomes despair. Despair that does not seek help can drown in mental illness. These are but of few of the negative consequences of the lack of elf – appreciation.
Advantages of Self – Appreciation
The primary advantage of self- appreciation is clarity. Clarity allows people to look at new born babies, beautiful flowers, art, and not see them as something of beauty detached from them but as reflections of their inner sense of self.
Clarity allows for the pursuit of goals, wants, and desires emerging from the inner motivation of personal interests. There exists minimal to no need to keep up with the Jones to do what they do or have what they have. People with clarity want what they want because they are clear about what they want.
Process for Achieving Self – Appreciation
In my mid 30’s, I discovered my personal beauty. It dawned on me that I recognized beauty in women, in children, in nature, in written words, in pictures, in art, in songs, and in film.
The light bulb just came on. If I could recognize beauty outside me; it had to first be in me. It was a turning point. My ability to love and respect myself and others went through the roof.
This can work with intention. When there is a moment, listen to Joe Cocker’s sing, “you are so beautiful to me” as if you are singing to yourself. Really feel your beauty as if you are looking at yourself through the eyes of intense love.
If it takes a bit of practice, that is OK. Look through the eyes of the persons that have loved you most in your life, really loved you. Or look through the eyes of your favorite pet that adored you and see and sense what they saw when looking up at you with eyes forever adoring you. You’ll feel a bit of what beauty is really trying to offer us all, a bit more reason to loving of our self and others. Self – appreciation is good medicine for mental and physical health.
Bardot, Bridget. (2010). Beauty. Retrieved from http://thinkexist.com/search/searchquotation.asp?search=beauty&page=2
David, King. (2010). Psalms 139 vs 14. Retrieved from http://www.biblestudytools.com/kjv/psalms/139-14.html
Dickens, Charles. (2010). The quotations page. Retrieved from http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/29595.html