Once upon a time, before I was introduced to the term self-appreciation, I was full of stress, reactivity and self-loathing. I knew that something in my life had to change and I had heard that self-appreciation might be a very useful place to start. For me, the term self-appreciation was a foreign concept, a complete mystery. Appreciate?? What? How? Why?
What really convinced me that something had changed was the day that I was stuck in heavy traffic with numerous pushy, lane-jumping drivers, something I really hated at the time. I realised that I was not in my usual state of frustration and impatience in this situation. In fact, amazingly, I was sitting there in a state of harmony feeling connected to all the other drivers around me. Even more surprising, I was feeling love for them.
Around the same time, I also noticed that I was managing my most difficult personal relationships with more ease.
These major changes in my life could not be ignored. I knew that they were connected to how I was feeling about myself.
An inner shift had occurred. My stress levels had reduced significantly. When I reacted, it was in a much-diluted intensity, more like a programmed, distant memory for each particular trigger. My self-loathing was much more subtle, no longer constant and ‘in my face’.
What had initially begun as play-acting, was actually having a deep impact on how I was feeling about myself and how I was living in the world. Somewhere along the way, there had been a shift from acting like I appreciated myself to genuinely feeling appreciation for myself and, as a consequence, I was feeling appreciation for the rest of the world around me.
Self-appreciation has given me a sense of inner expansion. The more appreciation that I have felt, the more the inner obstacles to appreciation have been let go of. For example, the more appreciation I feel, the less self-doubt I have. It has enabled me to be with people in a more loving and understanding way, to stand alongside them as they come to terms with issues in their lives. I am more able to not react to others’ comments and attitudes but to read what is really going on and to understand where they are coming from. I have also come to know how much I can give and when to say no.
Although I came to self-appreciation out of the sheer discomfort of the opposite within myself, this new way of being has not proved to be a flip of the coin from one duality to its opposite. It is now deeply embedded within me and has become my new foundation. It has given me the confidence to surrender and to trust and to be open to what is needed in the moment. It is allowing me to be me, and not what I think I am expected to be.
It took some time for me to come to appreciate the value of self-appreciation.
I am discovering that there is not a limit to how much appreciation I can accept. I am learning to appreciate myself and I’m learning to accept appreciation from others.
Sometimes I feel I will burst with the intensity of the appreciation in me – and my appreciation for the world around me. My appreciation for appreciation is in a continual state of growth.
Gwen S., Australia