I’m willing to bet that most of us spend far more time focusing on what we aren’t than appreciating who we are. We home in everything we think we lack and then feel bad about ourselves, when there’s actually a lot to celebrate if we take the time recognize it.
It’s partly a byproduct of our time: We’re constantly inundated with pics and stories narrating everyone else’s lives, when really, they’re just highlight reels. They’re the filtered, photoshopped version of lives as messy and imperfect as ours.
And regardless of where they pose, what they wear, or what they’re doing there, all those people, they’re just like you and me. They’re sometimes confident, sometimes insecure, and they often need to be reminded that they’re worth loving, and doing better than they think.
So, if, like me, you’re a perfectionist, or you’re just hard on yourself sometimes, sit back, relax, and consider all these reasons you’re amazing and worth appreciating.
1. You’ve survived every challenge life has thrown at you, and there have been a lot.
2. You’ve done your best in every situation, based on where you were at that time in your life, where you’ve come from, and the resources at your disposal.
3. You’ve acknowledged and worked on weaknesses—maybe not always, and maybe not without some resistance. But you’ve made progress countless times when it would have been easier to stay stuck where you were.
4. You’ve risen back up after failure and rejection. You could have given up when you were laid off, or passed up for the job, or told “It’s not you, it’s me…,” but you licked your wounds, got through it, and put yourself back out there instead.
5. You’ve forgiven, the ultimate test of one’s strength. You may not be ready to forgive everyone who’s hurt you, but you have done it before, even though it was hard.
6. You’ve apologized. It’s not always easy to admit mistakes, but you’ve done it. You’ve owned your part, acknowledged pain caused, and vowed to do better going forward.
7. You’ve tried things outside your comfort zone, whether that means taking a new job overseas or saying hello when you would have preferred to stare at your feet.
8. You’ve faced a fear at some point. It may have seemed small to you, but any time you do something that scares you, it’s huge!
9. You’ve adapted to change, often without having chosen it, and have grown through the experience.
10. You’ve solved problems that could have crippled you and have helped other people with their problems while grappling with your own.
11. You have good intentions. You might think you sometimes do the wrong things, but your heart’s generally in the right place.
12. You’ve made someone feel appreciated, and maybe many someones, by acknowledging their efforts and thanking them for what they’ve done.
13. You’ve made someone’s day, probably without even realizing it, by listening, understanding, or simply being thoughtful and kind.
14. You make people laugh—maybe even at your laugh, because you cackle or snort or sound like Beavis. (Too young for the reference? Google it!)
15. You look out for the people you love. When you say you care, you mean it, and you back it up with actions.
16. You smile at people. It might seem insignificant, but your smile has likely been someone’s lighthouse on a dark, scary day.
17. You remember the important things—or at least some of them. That “Happy birthday” card or call or text? It was a simple acknowledgement that helped someone feel valued and loved.
18. You ask people how they’re doing. You might not always get an honest response, but you’re willing to receive it.
19. You treat people how you’d like to be treated more often than not. Sometimes you slip up—you’re only human, after all! But you do your best to be a decent human being who treats other people with respect.
20. You’ve given second chances when you knew someone really needed it.
21. You have many positive qualities, whether you realize it or not. Maybe you’re adventurous or brave or creative or dependable—or all of the above. You could probably go through the whole alphabet and list twenty-six amazing qualities for each letter that you possess. (Or at least twenty-five—X is tough!)
22. You’re passionate about something, whether it’s your work, a hobby, a dream for the future, or your family, and that passion is both admirable and contagious.
23. You have unique quirks that make you interesting, endearing, and fun to be around. Maybe you have a passion for Steampunk, or you talk to your plants, or you collect something weird, like umbrella sleeves.
24. You have eclectic taste and have likely introduced other people to many things they’ve come to enjoy—bands, movies, books, restaurants, the list goes on and on.
25. You’re beautifully messy, like all human beings, and your emotions give you empathy, depth, and many other gifts you may not even recognize.
26. You’re creative in your own way—everyone is! Maybe you bake or write or make cool things out of wine corks or scrabble pieces or rocks.
27. You have your own kind of smarts—book smarts, street smarts, emotional intelligence, maybe even all three.
28. You have a voice that has soothed someone, even if it sounds like Sofia Vergara’s, simply because it’s yours.
29. You are physically a work of art. Seriously. Our culture has long promoted a one-size-fits-all definition of beauty (though, thankfully, that seems to be changing), but there’s beauty to be found in every unique combination of body and facial features. Big noses, asymmetrical eyes, crooked smiles—every last of one of them, beautiful!
30. You are mentally fascinating. Just think of all the outlandish, complex, crazy thoughts that go through your mind each day.
31. You’ve amassed a vast assortment of experiences that have given you insight and a unique perspective. No one else sees the world exactly like you!
32. You’ve healed and grown through all your ups and downs, becoming stronger and wiser every day.
33. You’ve done some interesting things in your time. If our lives really do flash before our eyes before we die, yours definitely won’t be boring!
34. You’ve learned what matters to you throughout the years, and you’ve tried your best to honor those things.
35. You’ve started over when it was hard, whether it was a new direction, a new job, a new location, or a new relationship.
36. You’ve found and/or created opportunities for yourself, and possibly in fields that aren’t easy to break into.
37. You’ve adulted: you’ve fed yourself, done laundry, cleaned your house, paid your bills, and done countless other responsible things—often when you would have preferred to lie under a blanket fort eating cereal from an oversized bowl.
38. You’ve built a treasure chest of amazing memories through the years, and you recognize them for the gold they are.
39. You’re the co-star in many other people’s favorite memories.
40. You’ve made it to where you are right now. And here you are, strong, kind, uniquely you, and worth celebrating.