This time of year, everyone seems to be talking about being thankful. But how often do we direct those feelings of love and gratitude towards self-appreciation? As we give thanks to the things in our lives for which we are grateful, from our friends and family to the food on our table, we almost always forget the most important one: ourselves.
Those things that exist outside of us are the easiest to focus on, as it doesn’t take any self-reflection to see them. Turning our focus inwards to pay attention to the things we love and appreciate about ourselves can be overwhelming at first. For trauma survivors, it can be especially difficult to learn how to love and honor the self. However, the practice of self-love is essential to the healing process. When you can truly see and appreciate all aspects of yourself, you increase your capacity to see the truth in others and experience deeper and more authentic feelings of love and appreciation all around.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are a few easy ways to tap into some gratitude for yourself.
Show yourself you care. Go to a movie you’ve been wanting to see all by yourself. Buy yourself flowers. Get outside and spend time in nature. Take a long relaxing bath with no interruptions. Do something for yourself that makes you feel pampered and loved.
Stop being so hard on yourself. Instead of spending so much time beating yourself for not being as far along as you’d like to be towards meeting your goals, allow yourself to notice how far you’ve come.
Say “thank you”. Take a moment to think about the things you love and appreciate about yourself, big and small. Reflect on your strengths. Remind yourself of how you have coped during challenging times, how you have kept yourself alive. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and say “thank you” to yourself in your minds’ eye.