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If No Compliments Are Coming Your Way, Give Yourself One!

Mark Twain had some excellent advice: “An occasional compliment is necessary to keep up one’s self-respect…. When you cannot get a compliment any other way, pay yourself one.” Twain’s words encourage us once again to treat ourselves as we treat people we care about. You shouldn’t take yourself for granted any more than you would undervalue an associate, friend or loved one. And while this is easy to state, very few people actually live it. To build a strong and realistic self-confidence, you must develop a habit of recognizing your own commendable actions on a daily basis.

This isn’t about feeding a big ego; it’s about becoming aware of your strengths as well as your mistakes. Martin Seligman, PhD put it well, “Rather than giving people an inflated view of themselves, we need to give them concrete reasons to feel good about themselves.”

You may be winning and truly not know it — unless you’re keeping score of your own effectiveness. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy to take yourself for granted. The reason is simply because you’re around yourself all the time. In fact, if you find that you aren’t, as a psychologist, I’d suggest that you need more than this book can provide. But, in all seriousness, spending every waking moment with yourself comes with a cost — namely, the familiarity that causes you to miss so much of what you do. Your own skills and accomplishments are like the pictures you hang on the wall.

You enjoy them for a time, but after two weeks of walking by them, you don’t even see them anymore. They become part of your “gray zone” of unobserved treasures — those things that you possess but no longer experience or appreciate. You see them when you move or when new guests point them out when they visit. That’s actually why you have guests—they show you your home! Don’t hide your achievements in that gray zone of hidden treasures.

Cultivate your confidence by scheduling time to appreciate yourself in your daily routine.
What did you do well today? Give yourself a compliment…and risk a pat on the back!

This post comes from my newest book, The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results. If you like this post, you’ll love this book available March 22nd!

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