Today is Day 2 of my 31 Days of Self-Love posts to celebrate Self-Love Month with suggestions for jump-starting your own self-love and joining The Self-Love Movement™.

I’m delighted top have self-love ambassador Friedemann Schaub MD., Ph.D., the founder of Cellular Wisdom, back as my guest today. He works with people to help them improve their health using both inner tools and his medical background.  He’s also the author of, The Fear and Anxiety Solution, which is full of suggestions for taking control of any fear or anxiety you might have. Today he shares how to develop the habit of appreciating yourself more.

How to Develop the Habit of Self-Appreciation
Excerpted with permission from the book “The Fear and Anxiety Solution”
by Friedemann Schaub

It’s a strange phenomenon. Although gratitude and appreciation are natural emotions, expressing them doesn’t come naturally to us at all. When, as a child, I was feverishly unpacking the fabulous toys my aunts and uncles gave me for my birthday or on Christmas, saying thank you wasn’t the first thing on my mind. Actually, it was somewhat of a buzz kill when my mom made me write thank-you cards or call up my relatives to express my thankfulness. But at the same time, I always enjoyed it when they expressed their appreciation for the cookies I baked or the little gifts I made for them.

Appreciation is not only a polite gesture, but it’s also a reward or gift for what we done for others. Imagine you work for someone who expects you to be there at all times, but takes you for granted. Worse, instead of appreciating you, your boss either criticizes your efforts as not good enough or completely ignores you. Sounds like drudgery, right? But don’t we often treat ourselves the same way?

Unfortunately, for most of us, self-appreciation is a highly underdeveloped skill. Early in our lives, well-intended messages such as “Don’t show off,” “Don’t feel too good about yourself,” or “Pride goes before a fall” cause us to believe that praising ourselves only leads to arrogance and complacency and, consequently rejection and failure. Plus, because, in general, we put more stock in the opinions of others than in our own opinions, self-appreciation seems like a complete waste of time.

Case in point: I routinely ask my clients to write down every day three reasons for why they can feel good about themselves. Most of them either forget that I gave them this assignment or dutifully write down everything they appreciated about their days?except for themselves. Now, don’t get me wrong—I’m big believer in the power of routinely acknowledging all the gifts and blessings in our lives. But for the purpose of building your confidence, trust in yourself, and love for yourself, you need to acknowledge the gift and blessing you are. Here is an exercise, which can help you to establish a routine of daily self-appreciation.

Every night, write into a special notebook at least three things you appreciated about yourself on that day. Here are three things to keep in mind as you do:

Be specific. Rather than affirming that you’re smart or friendly, write down (at least the Cliff Notes version) what particular incidents made you realize this today.

Make it mainly about “being” you. I’ve seen people scribble pages of self-appreciation notes listing all the things they’ve done for their careers, their families, and their communities. Although this is a step in the right direction, if you value only your contributions and accomplishments, self-appreciation can easily turn into conditional acceptance, which obstructs your goal of unconditional acceptance. And your “doing” doesn’t necessarily reveal who you are. Pay attention, for example, to the aspects of yourself that the light of your essence revealed to you, the qualities that make you a unique and brilliant human being. Acknowledge your sense of humor or your creativity. Recognize when you are compassionate and kind or when you take the time to stop and enjoy the beauty of a moment.

• Be open. Reflect on your day with an open mind and appreciate both those qualities of yourself that you usually take for granted and those you weren’t really aware of until you paid attention to them. Open your heart to truly feel and savor the gratitude for yourself, because appreciation without feelings is like a gift that’s never been unwrapped.

Every day you appreciate yourself, you add another layer to your growing foundation of self-love and confidence. According to Yogi Bhajan, who introduced kundalini yoga to the Western world, “It takes 40 days to establish a habit, 90 days to confirm it and 120 days to master it—and everybody will know it.” Isn’t the habit of loving and appreciating yourself, and thus, inspiring others to find the courage to embrace and love their own truth, something you would want to be known for?
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Join The Self-Love Movement™! Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Commitment and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at http://howdoiloveme.com. Read my 2012 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE.

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