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Ep #38: Self-Appreciation

Many times when the topic of self-appreciation comes up, we tend to roll our eyes at the subject for one reason or another. However, it is crucial to take the time to stop and appreciate the things about ourselves that we are proud of in order to be able to continue growing in all aspects of our lives.

Join us on this episode of Life Coach School as we explore the benefits of self-appreciation and how you can take advantage of them in order to improve your life. The tools I share with you here have helped many of my students and are sure to help you as well. Don't miss this important episode!

Grab your copy of our new Wisdom From The Life Coach School Podcast book. It covers a decade worth of research, on life-changing topics from the podcast, distilled into only 200 pages. It's the truest shortcut to self-development we have ever created!

Listen to the show

What You will discover

  • The importance of taking the time to appreciate the things you do or have done well.
  • A process that will help you define your good qualities and allow you to grow them further.
  • Examples from my students’ work that will help you get started.
  • The harmful effects of only focusing on what’s wrong with you.
  • How to shift your negative thoughts about yourself to ones that serve you.
  • BONUS: A couple of my older writings from the past.

Get the Full Episode Transcript:

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Episode Transcript:

Welcome to the Life Coach School Podcast where it's all about real clients, real problems and real coaching, and now your host, master coach instructor Brooke Castillo.

Hey everyone, what's going on? Welcome to the podcast. Today we are going to be talking about self-appreciation. I know that some of you are rolling your eyes. "Oh brother, is she going to tell me to hug myself again?" I just want to say that I hear what you are saying. There's a lot of times where I have listened to people talking about self-appreciation or self-care, and I want to roll my eyes about it, because I am so Type A and I really like to create and get out there and do things in the world that, taking time to take care of myself in a fluffy way. I have had an aversion to it sometimes.

It doesn't feel as productive as I want to be, and I just want to say that since I have learned the tools of self-care and since I have really started applying them to my life which was required for me because I wanted to lose weight and I wanted to figure out why I was overeating. One of the most important pieces of that was self-care. It's a whole chapter in my first book. If I am so smart, why can't I lose weight? A whole chapter is just on self-care.

In this episode, I want to talk about specifically self-appreciation, and one of the main components of self-appreciation is attention, and I have talked so much about awareness and paying attention to ourselves and paying attention to our minds and what's going on in our minds and that's so key and so important when it comes to self-appreciation.

The word appreciation means recognize the full worth of, and the word appreciation, when I was thinking about it was, I was thinking about how we use that word a lot to talk about other people, how we appreciate other people and we appreciate things other people do. I also thought about it in terms of the value of a home or the value of money when you invest it wisely, appreciates in value. I think that that's true for us as well. I think when we invest in ourselves, we appreciate, which means we grow in value, and we also need to take time to appreciate ourselves.

Every year, at the end of the year, I go through and write my goals for the next year and start thinking about what I want to do and where I want to focus on, and one of the things that I have decided this year based on some classes that I have been taking and some coaching that I have received is that I want to focus on one thing at a time and do it really well.

I know that some of you have probably heard about this concept of multitasking, how it doesn't just take longer to get something done because you are doing something else at the same time. But the wasted energy is the energy that you are wasting to shift gears in between taking on those two things, and so as much as I can this next year, I'm really going to focus on one thing.

Last year, I was focusing on many different things. I had many different ideas and many things going on, and it was more challenging for me to get the one thing done because I was doing them all at the same time. What I do at the end of the year is I try to appreciate what I did well the year before. I take time to be proud of myself and to pat myself on the back and to acknowledge and to look at where our success is. I like to acknowledge, I just met with one of the people that I work with and I just really wanted her to know how much I appreciate her and all the work that she does for the school and for me and with me.

I would like to do the same thing with myself, and that, I think, is something we miss out on doing, and you might even be listening to this podcast and think, "Oh, that would be a really nice idea. That sounds really pleasant," and you may not do it. Especially those Type A people out there, that if they are anything like me, you'll think this is a nice concept intellectually but you won't actually do it.

I want to encourage you to do it because it's one of the most, I think, strengthening things that we can do, and if you are Type A and you are ambitious and you like to create a lot, you need your strength and it's a way of replenishing your strength, and especially when you look at the year in review.

A lot of you may feel like this last year was not a great year for you and so maybe you just want to dismiss it. I think you miss the magic, you miss the gold in the year if you don't take the time to find what you did appreciate about the year, about yourself especially. What did you do that you appreciate, what did you create that you appreciate, what did you say, what did you learn, what about yourself do you appreciate?

If you want to appreciate something in your life and you want to love something in your life, what you normally have to do is take time. Think about when you're buying a house, so you want to love that house when you move into it. You'll take a lot of time paying attention to the house before you buy it, right? You'll go to every room. You'll look around, you'll look at the yard. You want to look at the square footage, you want to look at the stats, you want to see how old it is, you want to make sure everything's in functioning shape. You want to have an inspection done, right? That's how you end up appreciating a home enough to buy it.

That's what I want to suggest that you would do with yourselves is that you would do an inspection and you would take some time to find the things that you really love and appreciate about yourself. One of the assignments, I just taught a class on self-care, and one of the assignments that I had my students do was write down 12 things, normally it's 25, but I had them write down 12 things that they appreciate about themselves.

For some of them, it was very difficult, and to share it publicly was very challenging, but it slows us down enough to acknowledge and to notice those things that we really do appreciate and therefore, I think, can grow and encourage to grow are those things that we appreciate in ourselves. I want you guys to think about this as a process. I want you to get a piece of paper and write 1 to 12 on the paper, and if this is really challenging for you, you may want to do mostly little things that you can appreciate. You can appreciate maybe that you can see.

You can appreciate maybe that you have clean drinking water and a warm home and a bed to sleep in and a pillow to put your head on, right? Just trying to find maybe some of the small things that you can appreciate in your life and then really focus in on what you appreciate about yourself. What is it that you notice that you like about yourself that gives you value and there are things that are non-negotiable, right, when you look at yourself. That is valuable.

The fact that you have a mind is valuable. If you can walk and you have a body, that is valuable, okay? Focus on those things and then try and get a little bit deeper even. One of the things that I'm going to do is I'm going to read you some of the answers. I'm not going to give you any names to protect the privacy, but I'm going to read you some of the answers from some of my students to give you some ideas of things that you can appreciate about yourself, and that you can maybe put on your list of appreciation.

Okay, so here are some things that I appreciate about myself. I appreciate that I love working hard. I think that really serves me. I appreciate that I have high energy. I appreciate that I no longer eat instead of feeling. I appreciate that I love laughing. I appreciate that I am generous. I appreciate that I have very cute feet. Just ask me. I have very cute feet.

I appreciate that I am 5'9". I like being tall. I appreciate that I love being alone. I appreciate that I'm madly in love with my husband. I appreciate that I have a quick sense of humor, that I can catch most jokes as they are said and especially sarcasm. I truly appreciate the awesomeness in myself and that makes it really easy to appreciate the awesomeness in other women.

Here were some other answers that came through. Having learned to live well without alcohol as a way to change my inner experience. I appreciate my lips and really the rest of a high-functioning 65-year-old body. I appreciate my curiosity and my desire to keep learning. I appreciate having learned to live in a non-US international context for my adult life. I appreciate the hills and valleys of a long marriage and having learned massive lessons in the deep valleys.

Here are some more. I appreciate that I can find something good in most people that I meet. I appreciate that I had the opportunity to go to college and receive a BS and an MS and use them in my career. I appreciate my intellect, I appreciate this color of my eyes. I appreciate that I was able to have the emotional strength and fortitude to care for my mother and keep her home until her last breath.

I appreciate as much as I love people, I do love being alone. It refuels me and I am confident saying it. I appreciate that I'm very open-hearted. I appreciate that I'm a freak for animals and nature. I appreciate that I grew from a victim to a survivor and to a thriver. I appreciate that I am brave, that I love music. I appreciate that I am good at sports.

I appreciate that I'm a good Mom. I appreciate that I love learning, that I have small feet, that I have an excellent sense of humor. I love this. I appreciate that I have a beautiful voice, that I'm tenacious, that I'm thoughtful, that I'm compassionate. I appreciate my Italianness. I appreciate that I like to try new things. I appreciate that I'm a work in progress and I appreciate that I am brave.

I love reading these, and you know what's so interesting is I think that if you could get this list from everyone in your family and hear them acknowledge what they appreciate about themselves, it would be really fun to hear them read that, right? I think a lot of times, we feel like if we take time to appreciate ourselves that we're somehow being arrogant or that we're somehow being, we're bragging or something.

Just taking a moment to acknowledge ourselves and pay attention enough, to appreciate, to do that inspection, and appreciate ourselves. I'm not saying that you have to share this list with anybody, and you certainly don't have to share it with your family, but I really want to encourage you to do it for yourself. Give yourself that moment of appreciation and acknowledging what it is that gives you value to you. What is it that you value about yourself?

What I have noticed will happen is that things that you appreciate and acknowledge in yourself are the things that will develop and grow, and that it's what you will put your attention towards. Most of us want to spend our time thinking about the things we don't appreciate about ourselves, that we don't like about ourselves, so we are constantly trying to fix all those things.

I want to recommend that you direct your energy towards thinking about the things that make you feel good. I have been noticing this a lot lately, as something comes up that will invite me to worry or tempt me to stress out or get me worked up because it triggers a bunch of negative thoughts. I have noticed that if I just switch my mind over to thinking about something I appreciate or thinking about something I'm looking forward to or thinking about my goals or thinking about what I appreciate about myself, it's an immediate shift.

It's just taking a right turn. I don't necessarily have to dive into it and explore it. I can just shift it, and the more I do that, the more my brain wants to do that because it gets more efficient at thinking about myself and what I appreciate about myself.

I want to recommend that you do the list of 12, write them all down, and then, as you go through your day, as you notice that you may be thinking a negative thought or getting invited into some negative spiral, I want you to just take a moment and think of one thing you appreciate about yourself, and even if it's your feet. Even if it's your eyes, just notice it, take a minute and think about it for just that second, and notice how your feelings can change immediately when you shift [that 00:13:40] focus. This is something that you can get very good at doing.

I think the more you are able to direct your mind, tell it what to focus on, even in those really small ways, the more powerful you will be as a manager of your mind, and in addition to that, the more you appreciate things about yourself, the better you're going to feel about yourself so it's almost like a 1-2 punch. You're not just directing your mind which is something really powerful, but you're also directing your mind to appreciate yourself which is something that is usually very neglected when it comes to self-care.

As we go into this holiday season and when you're listening to this, you might be right in the middle of it, or maybe you're listening to this in July because you just found my podcast. Where you been? Then you're going to be appreciating that you can wear a bathing suit and maybe your mind is going to try and switch and focus on the parts of your body that you don't like and just redirect it: what do you do like? What are the things you can appreciate about yourself? Direct your mind in that way and find the things that you truly appreciate about yourself.

Please go to the comments at thelifecoachschool.com/38, tell me one thing that you appreciate about yourself, and I will definitely read those comments and reply to you. I hope you have an amazing, wonderful rest of the year and depending on when you are listening to this and I will talk to you all next week.

Wait. Don't go yet. I have a couple of bonuses for you on this podcast episode. Self-appreciation and the directions that I gave you there ended up being a short podcast. I went, "Aw, you guys are going to be disappointed that you didn't get to hear me talk so much." What I thought I would do is add on a couple of blog posts that I had written way back in the day for your listening pleasure.

One of the reasons I want to do this is some of you don't know that all of my blog posts are on thelifecoachschool.com because we don't really have a tab for them. They are secretly in there. But if you go to thelifecoachschool.com and you go to the podcast tab and you scroll down, there is a section there called Categories, and there is a section there called Archives, and if you go there, you can find many of my writings from the past 10 years that I have written on both my personal site and on the Life Coach School site. I thought I would read a few of them for you here and I will do that from time to time, just to give you a little blast from the past, and hopefully give you something wonderful to think about.

This one is called, "What if you really believed this?" You are loved, truly, deeply. Not because of anything you have done or deserve, but just because you’re you. You don’t have to change, or do it better, or improve. There is nothing needed to be more loved.

Your face is amazing just as it is, with no make up. Your smile and eyes are real and alive and they need to be seen and felt. Your body is beautiful with all of its imperfections and lumpy places and saggy places and scarred spaces. It’s lived and alive and here. It’s amazing no matter what you say.

Your mind is exactly as smart as it needs to be to fulfill your destiny on the planet. If someone is smarter than you in some other way, it’s because they need to be smart to fulfill their life, and that has nothing to do with you. Your brain is perfectly perfect and capable of making all the mistakes necessary for your full life.

The people around you are doing the best they can. It’s not their intention to hurt you, because if they knew how much hurting hurts them, they would never do it again. But they don’t know and that’s okay, and you can be okay with them being exactly who they are now.

You don’t get done what you don’t get done on purpose. What you don’t complete is as significant to accept as what you do get done. It’s not what gets done, it’s who, who, who is getting to the getting. Oh yes, that’s you, perfect and amazing and here. You are here.

The world has noticed. The world is excited to see you and is wondering why you are so worried. The world is waiting for you to notice it noticing you and waiting for you to believe how much you are loved. How you are love. Not in some future, better, thinner, prettier, smarter place, but here on a Tuesday, with your jeans on in the middle of your day. You matter now.

Here's one more for you. This one's called "Loving is hard when it's hard." Love is amazing when it's easy. The other person is doing what you like when you like it, so the loving comes easily and feels great. But then they do something you don't like, really don't like. That's when loving is hard. It's hard because you don't want to love them when they don't do what you want them to do. You want to punish them or hide from them or ignore them.

But why? Because none of these things feels good. It sucks to ignore, hide and punish. It feels unjustified to answer unwanted behavior with love, but do you know what? It feels good. Love always feels good. Even when it's unjustified, love rocks, and it doesn't mean you condone, agree or want what they did. It just means you love them and nothing they do will ever change that.

All right, everybody. Have a wonderful week and I will talk to you next week. Bye, bye.

Thank you for listening to the Life Coach School Podcast. It would be incredibly awesome if you would take a moment to write a quick review on iTunes. For any questions, comments or coaching issues you would like to hear on the show, please visit us at www.thelifecoachschool.com.

17 Comments

  1. Brooke,
    I began listening to your podcasts about 3 months ago and am addicted. I listen when I run and I run about 3 X/week. Now that I’m caught up and have to limit myself to one Brooke a week…well, let’s say I’m sitting with my thoughts on that. =D I was lucky enough to listen to your podcast with #AlanStandish on his show #progressnotperfection. Anyhow -my intent is to thank you for this past podcast, #38 but I got to babbling because of the connection I feel with you. Thank you. Two things:
    1) After dinner with my 3 sons last night, I played the portion of your podcast where you talk about taking some time to appreciate ourselves and our past year. Long story short, my sons and I moved out of an emotionally abusive situation in June. (I had been married 19 years but am now legally separated). All four of us got a piece of paper and tried to write out 12 things we appreciate about ourselves. It was one of those moments I will remember fondly AND I will now make it a yearly tradition. My youngest son whipped his 12 off in the shortest amount of time and they were probably the most authentic of us all! Regardless, it allowed us to open up, share, toot our horns (3 out of the 4 of us shared our 12), and to practice being respectful while the others were reading. thank you.
    2) Later in the evening, I read your blog post “What if you really believed this” (ad libbing a bit: taking out the part on makeup and changing the end to “athletic pants on a Sunday evening”). It had touched my heart when you read it on your podcast and, to share the message with my boys was very important to me.

    I thank you so very much. You make such a difference to so many people in this world. I’m a wellness coach (of a much smaller scale than you) but I direct people to your podcasts and, when I remember to get on my facebook and instagram, I mention you there as well. Your influence is rippling out in a profound way.

    I appreciate you!

  2. I couldn’t decide which of the 12 to share – so take you’re pick 😉
    12 Things That I Self-Appreciate:
    1) My Smile
    2) Dedication to Motherhood
    3) Sacrifice for Husband (and thus support of his work – renewable energy)
    4) My Intelligence
    5) Adaptability
    6) Global Community Point of View
    7) Thirst for Knowledge
    8) Spirit of Adventure
    9) Talent for Writing
    10) The Dark Circles around my Irises
    11) Hard Working Attitude
    12) Desire to Enjoy Life

  3. Brooke,

    I really appreciate finding your pod cast and everything that it has taught me about myself!

    After I listen to each of your pod casts I am inspired to leave a comment but I am usually out on a run or walking my dog. So, forgive me for not leaving more comments. The work you do is amazing and greatly appreciated. I am constantly telling my patient’s about your pod cast. What I appreciate most about it is how you explain it in ways that are easy for me to apply to my own life. You are a peach! and I love peaches!

    Thank you for sharing your passions with us!

  4. Here we go:
    1. My long legs
    2. My smile
    3. My love of learning
    4. My eyes
    5. A body that is fit and healthy
    6. My drive to improve myself
    7. My ability to be alone and enjoy it!
    8. My conviviality
    9. A witty sense of humor
    10. I love that I enjoy my job…even after more than 20 years.
    11. My love for my family
    12. My persistence

    Thanks for all the great podcasts!!!

  5. Brooke!

    I so needed this podcast. I swear the past 24 hours have not been the best. Why didn’t I listen to this yesterday! I am so grateful though that I got two in today. Really helped turn my day around. Dealing with a lot of old stuff is scary and emotional. This helped snap me back to peace and reality.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
    Shauna

  6. Hello again 🙂

    So two things. First, here are a couple things about myself that I really appreciate. I love that I love people, that I’m compassionate, that I get to spend my days helping kids, and that I value learning and growing. I love this podcast and that it helped me realize I can so EASILY focus on things I appreciate about myself rather than spending my time and energy thinking about the things about myself I wish I could change. LOVE IT!

    Next, you mentioned in this podcast that one of your goals this year is to take one thing at a time. That is one of my resolutions for 2015 as well and I want to share a resource with you that has already helped me TREMENDOUSLY. It’s called the Franklin 13. I don’t know the whole story behind it but basically Benjamin Franklin decided he wanted to acquire all these differenet character traits. When he tried being everything he wanted all at once, he failed epically (of course). He decided to try a different approach since his last was far too overwhelming- spend one week focusing on one goal, leaving all others to chance. Every week he picked a new goal to focus on. He came up with the structure of 13×4- 13 goals, one a week, and repeat 4x. It fits perfectly in one year. And it was hugely successful! This model is used all over. I use it in my personal life and also in my classroom and am amazed at it’s effectiveness and simplicity.

    Here is the free udemy course I watched to learn about this approach- it’s called Everyday Mind Mastery. It was so useful and actually reminded me a lot of the things you talk about in your podcasts. So here’s the link, feel free to use it or not but I just thought I would share. https://www.udemy.com/everyday-mind-mastery/#/

    Thanks again for all of your help!
    Bri

  7. Brooke,

    I appreciate that I’m willing to take this time to consider these concepts and put them to work in my own life. I also appreciate that I am able to tell people about my Journey and to recommend your podcasts for use in their lives.

    I appreciate you 😉

    Mary

  8. I love this! Also, when you talk about doing just one thing… I was multitasking listening to this and at one point I was like “did she just say she was 65?!?” For a second I thought that along with being a great life coach you were also a witch who had learned to stop the aging process lol! Alas, I guess that won’t be a future podcast, but I did get an instant lesson in what happens when you try and do more than one thing at a time.

  9. Hey Brooke,
    I’ve only just discovered your podcast. I started with episode 1 about 2 weeks ago and have just finished the self-appreciation episode. It’s been my favourite one yet! Happy to have discovered this podcast! I’ve seen such a huge attitude change in myself because of it.
    Thank you.

    1. Hello Niru. We’re so happy you’re finding value in the podcasts. Thank you for your comment. Brooke appreciates it. — Lori

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