In a recent conversation with a female friend we were sharing our appreciation of another. This may sound like a normal, everyday thing to do, however there was something quite spectacular and revelatory about our conversation…
As we shared and reflected about this person we discovered that there was even more to appreciate. This person was making an ever-growing amount of choices in their life that were supporting them to feel (in their own words) more like themselves than ever before.
Over a short amount of time they were making new and supportive choices with their food to help them not feel so heavy and more light in their body throughout the day. They had made choices at work to not take on the pounding pressures of their industry and instead were utilising their natural strengths of simplicity, great communication, people skills and dedication to the tasks at hand. They enjoyed and proclaimed how much they loved their job, and instead of choosing to stay comfortable, resigned on the highest note to undertake a new career opportunity.
The result of these choices and many more meant that this person was absolutely glowing inside and out every morning when they woke and with the same beaming smile in the evening when they returned home. The choices were spreading… we could see how their love for their colleagues, children and partner was absolute and beholding and that this person, through their acceptance and claiming of how amazing they were and hence felt, had dropped a significant amount of weight; expanding their wardrobe to include new work clothes that totally showed off this inner glow and gorgeousness that was so bright. They were so on fire that even their casual clothes looked a million bucks, complimenting them in their own skin!
As two women, our conversation turned interesting when we realised we couldn’t help but appreciate, celebrate and be inspired by this person enough! The more we shared, the more there was to share and we deepened into an appreciation of all the greatness this person brings that actually supports us in our own lives too – inspiring us to make our own great choices. We began to appreciate that when this person was holding back themselves, in all their undeniable awesomeness, we were all (everyone, everywhere) losing out.
The interesting part for me was that the person we were appreciating was a man, which led me to pose the next question – if he was a woman, would we have allowed ourselves to really appreciate her and all of her choices and amazingness, just the same?
Our answer was a very honest no, which helped me to realise that as women we simply don’t appreciate each other enough and that this begins with a lack of appreciation within ourselves first.
So why don’t we appreciate ourselves?
What I have observed is that the relationship we have with ourselves as women is often loaded with pictures of how we think we should be or how things ought to be. When we are over-run by these pictures we are robbing ourselves of the space to deeply appreciate who we are, the quality we bring to all that we do and to any of the choices we make to lovingly support our lives. The truth is that this then gets in the way of our appreciation of others, men and women, of their choices AND robs us enormously of the inspirational reflection of another and what their choices have to offer and benefit us all.
Is it possible that the pictures themselves are what links us to feelings of low self-esteem, lack of self-worth, self-loathing and the thoughts that keep us not yet good enough? From here – already in competition and comparison with ourselves and the better version of ourselves that we’re trying to be – we find ourselves entering into thoughts of comparison or jealousy between us as women, that is not at all our natural behaviour but rather is fueled by our choice to have stopped appreciating who we are, first.
As we discussed this as women, we noted that had we been speaking about another woman in this same example of appreciation, we would have already been comparing the choices they are making and those which we are yet not, in a detrimental way. It appeared to us to be an insidious way of living that only serves to keep us focusing on all that we have not yet done or completed or looking to someone else to measure ourselves against as less or more, and a far cry away from appreciating the choices we are already making; let alone appreciating the amazing quality we already bring.
Appreciating another begins with the appreciation of me.
The truth is that I haven’t always found it easy to appreciate myself or the changes I have made in my life to love and care for me, and that these choices have led to great personal growth and more self-acceptance than I once felt possible. I have learned that there is a difference between appreciating all the things I am capable of, can do, have done or am good at and having the deep appreciation of the woman I am by simply being myself – which in turn, makes all the activities I do undertake far more enjoyable!
Making the time to appreciate who I am, the values I hold and what I bring to my relationships with everything and everyone has taught me that a moment can’t go by without something to appreciate, and that this makes appreciation a very powerful practice to have.
I have a responsibility to appreciate myself deeply, as it is with this tool that I can clearly call out those nasty thoughts and pictures that get in the way of other relationships blossoming on equal ground. To indulge in comparison, jealousy, less-or-more or any thoughts of I’m not there yet is just another way to deny and not accept the amazing person that I already am and all that I offer by way of my much needed and equal reflection to others.
I was left with a feeling of absolute awe and love when I allowed myself to appreciate the man and his choices. It reminded me that there is so much more appreciation waiting to be expressed between all men and all women, as I keep choosing to appreciate who I am, first.
By Cherise Holt, 33, Brisbane, Australia
For more inspiration …
How the science of appreciation supports women to deal with their self-worth.
Appreciation of others takes no effort at all, when we appreciate ourselves, first – read Fiona’s story.
From self-loathing to self love, with the help of appreciation – Ariana shares her story.