How often do you compliment yourself? I know that might sound like a weird thing to do, but hear me out…
I like to think of myself as a confident person, but lately I’ve had moments of self-doubt. Out of nowhere, I’ll start to doubt my skills, my abilities, my successes—for no reason at all.
These moments of vulnerability are short-lived but intense. And as frustrating as they can be, I remind myself that these feelings are normal with a capital N, especially when I’m doing something new or outside of my comfort zone.
These events got me thinking about how our brains are wired to focus on the negative, also known as negativity bias. This adaptive trait, although useful for humans ages ago, is wreaking havoc on our self-esteem. Thanks a lot biology! Though there is comfort in knowing it happens to everyone, and I’m not alone in this experience, it is rather annoying.
One way I’ve been able to combat these feelings is to acknowledge my skills and abilities immediately. And I’m not talking about reciting vague, positive affirmations—I’m talking about the cold hard facts. As soon as negativity seeps into my thoughts, I remind myself of specific things I’ve accomplished; this keeps me grounded and prevents my mind from thinking irrational thoughts.
Now that we know we are all prone to negative self-talk, why not face it head-on? This brings me to why we should all get in the habit of complimenting ourselves. Many of us don’t think twice about giving others compliments, so why not turn that inward?
Earlier this week, I posted about this on Instagram, and someone in the community had a great idea! She said the post inspired her to create a challenge where she gives herself three compliments a day, which she then turned into a family activity. I loved her idea so much that I’m doing it myself. Every day this week, I’ve been complimenting myself as soon as I wake up, and I’ve already noticed a difference!
To keep things simple, I’ve been focusing my compliments on something that happened the prior day. For example, yesterday I was running an errand, and instead of merging on the 10 freeway, I stayed on the 60 and ended up at my work office. Not where I was supposed to be! I quickly realized I made a mistake, and instead of beating myself up for it—which is the natural tendency—I laughed about it and made the best of the situation. So, this morning I gave myself kudos for being flexible and having the ability to recognize that little mistakes are a part of life.
Self-praise typically gets a bad rap, but it can be helpful with building confidence, self-awareness and nurturing your mental well-being. And I think we would all agree, after everything we’ve gone through this past year, this positivity is exactly what we need!