You can do it. You are strong. You are brave. You are beautiful.
#WorldComplimentDay Compliments are an essential part of any social relationship. They make you feel good about yourself and the person giving the compliment. Receiving a compliment can make you feel noticed and valuable and positively reinforce your thought process and behavior.
While compliments can help a person feel more confident, it might be challenging to do so when the receiver finds it difficult to believe in the compliment themselves. This is why it is important to compliment ourselves and use verbal affirmations that help us feel more self-confident. This will not just help us feel self-confident but also make it easier to receive and believe in those compliments. Furthermore, the more we repeat these positive affirmations to ourselves, the easier it gets to get these positive thoughts in the future (Davis, 2021). These thoughts help us maintain our self-esteem when we’re criticized or feel self-critical by helping us believe in positive affirmations rather than negative thoughts or criticisms (Critcher et al., 2010).
In addition, positive self-affirmations activate the neural pathways in the brain responsible for imagining positive rather than negative future events and increase the individual's motivation (Cascio et al., 2015). Therefore, practicing affirmations not only helps us become more confident, but also reinforces us and increases our motivation level.
We often seek validation from people outside and do everything we can to get that validation. However, when we get that, it might not feel genuine. It can even make us feel like we do not deserve it. When we do not get the validation even after working on it, we might feel like we are not enough and need to keep putting in more effort. So, instead of looking for validation outside, we can work on validating ourselves for our efforts. Validating the effort you put into a project, even though you did not get the client, or complimenting your body for the way it looks even though you do not like every part of it, can help you to start accepting the parts of yourselves you struggle with the most.
Practicing affirmations every morning can be a great way to start a day with positive thoughts. Of course, it will not be easy, and it might even feel false, but starting slow and reminding yourself to move comfortably can be effective. Pressuring yourself to feel positive or be confident will only make it difficult. So, trying the activity below and seeing what works for you can be helpful:
1. Stand in front of a mirror and look at yourself thoroughly. Then, play music in the background that you like, making you feel comfortable and good about yourself.
2. Start with complimenting the part of yourself you like the most and gradually move to the part you want to befriend.
3. Tell yourself some verbal affirmations to help you feel positive about yourself and start the day with a positive mindset.
4. Start with 10 seconds to 1 minute if you find it difficult to stand in front of the mirror or repeat the compliment/affirmations for longer. Then, increase the timings each day whenever you feel ready.
Here are some affirmations you can try for yourself.
- I am strong.
- I am capable.
- I can do it.
- I deserve respect and appreciation.
- I can be myself.
- I love myself.
- I am worthy of love.
- I value myself.
- I am enough.
- I am growing every day.
- I am patient.
- I am beautiful in every way.
- My body is healthy.
- I am talented.
- I can make good decisions.
In this activity, giving ourselves compliments or using verbal affirmations might feel like neglecting and ignoring our daily struggles. However, it could mean that even though you are struggling, you have the strength and the skills to get through it because you believe in yourself. Moreover, for the days when you cannot find the strength or are unable to believe in yourself, depending on your support system, which could be your family, friends, pet, therapist, and so on, will help you find the strength again.
By: Dhihum Kour
Mental Health Counseling Intern
Cascio, C. N., O'Donnell, M. B., Tinney, F. J., Lieberman, M. D., Taylor, S. E., Strecher, V. J., & Falk, E. B. (2015). Self-affirmation activates brain systems associated with self-related processing and reward and is reinforced by future orientation. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 11(4), 621–629. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsv136
Critcher, C. R., Dunning, D., & Armor, D. A. (2010). When self-affirmations reduce defensiveness: Timing is key. PsycEXTRA Dataset. https://doi.org/10.1037/e566842012-502
Davis, T. (2021, May 26). A guide to affirmations and how to use them. Psychology Today. Retrieved February 17, 2023, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/click-here-happiness/202105/guide-affirmations-and-how-use-them