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Give yourself the gift of value

Give Yourself The Gift Of Value


My 4-year-old son caught my attention the other day with a simple announcement: "Im special and important." He uttered this statement with complete conviction. Curious, I asked, "Who did you talk to about that?" He said, "No one. I told myself that." Again, stated with complete conviction.

As his mother, I felt gratitude and pride that he feels special and important. As a student of human nature, I was fascinated. My sense has long been that many children do experience themselves as precious at least as babies or toddlers. Then well-meaning socialization begins and were told not to get "big heads" or grow "too big for our britches." The quest to make sure kids dont become arrogant can be misguided since, in reality, only insecure people project arrogance.

What do "secure" people project? Value. They are intrinsically and internally conscious of their value as human beings. They acknowledge the contributions they make while remaining aware of personal blindspots and shortcomings. Valuing who you are and what you do is a world apart from arrogance.

Earlier in my coaching career, I spoke with a colleague about feeling unappreciated for some of my work. She responded with a comment Ive never forgotten: "When you start acknowledging yourself and your contributions, other people will begin acknowledging you as well." She was right. Acknowledgment is an inside-out proposition. When you acknowledge yourself internally, the external world responds favorably.

Too often, we fall prey to seeking approval from others. We hope that if we fill ourselves with enough external approval, well miraculously feel better about ourselves. We think that unless were externally validated, we cant internally acknowledge ourselves.

Dont get me wrong I love approval as much as anyone else. If approval happens to naturally come your way, soak it up! But youll find your source of true power in the acts of approving, acknowledging and valuing yourself.

How do you value yourself? Sometimes when I discuss this concept with clients, the ones who have never acknowledged their value feel challenged emotionally to do so now. Consider the following acts of personal acknowledgment:

-You know your boundaries and you hold them. If necessary, you enforce them. And you keep the delicate balance between boundaries that are too rigid or too flexible.

-You routinely ask yourself, "What do I need? What do I want?" Then you act on the answers to those questions.

-If you experience moments of doubt, you solicit outside feedback. You ask friends and colleague to tell you about your strengths.

-You think well of yourself. If you (or your inner critic) make unkind statements, you disregard them. This is different than reflecting on what worked and didnt work in a given situation, finding out that youve hurt someones feelings or deciding to do something differently in the future. People who value themselves are not perfect they do make mistakes and harbor human blindspots.

A few years ago, a business associate told me, "Youre an ace, but you dont know it." I thought, "What if thats true? What if I am an ace and I dont know it? Whats possible from that perspective?"

Take it from me: Acknowledging your value is powerful, and fully feeling that power will skyrocket your capacity to change, to connect with whats meaningful and ignite some serious internal combusting of positive energy. Wow.

Also, unless youre as enlightened as the Dalai Lama or Eckhart Tolle you cant value yourself enough. Even if you feel joyful, powerful and positive, stretch your acknowledgment of yourself even further. The more you experience this, the greater your impact on others and the world. So value yourself its universally beneficial.

What if youre an ace and you dont know it? Just think what you can accomplish with that bit of wisdom driving you.