Okay. I’ll admit it. I have a hard time accepting compliments. Actually, it’s not even that I don’t accept them; I don’t even notice them. Most of the time, they don’t register in my consciousness as a compliment or something noteworthy. Some people have an easier time soaking it all in, adding compliments to their list of strengths and positive qualities, and celebrating small successes. I find that I need to use other strategies that will bring compliments to my attention and “superglue” them to my sense of self.
For example, during my internship I was co-facilitating a group for students who had concerns about body image and eating. One of the common problems noted by members of this group was a difficulty celebrating little successes on their journey towards recovery. I decided to turn this into a group art project. I brought in small spiral bound, plain looking notebooks, stickers, and markers and invited group members to make their own “Me Journal”, a book in which they would write down any and every little success, compliment, milestone. I made one of my own. I shared with the group my belief that the more we attend to (and write down) these little successes and milestones, the easier it would be to notice them and incorporate them into our identity.
I’m still using my “Me Journal”. I covered it in stickers with words that inspire me: “Exhilaration”, “Wonder”, “Believe”, “Love”, “Brilliant”. The first ten-twelve pages are full of entries…nice things people said to me or did for me, compliments I received, feedback I got about my skills as a counselor, inspiring quotes I found that represent my beliefs in some way, milestones on my journey to recovery from eating concerns, progress that I see in myself, etc. I wrote five things in my book yesterday at the end of the day (it’s probably best to get in the habit of writing things down as you hear them). Today I’m reviewing the many entries in there and looking at the many blank pages that can still be filled. My “Me Journal” is the superglue that holds positive words to my ego. Once it’s written down, it’s undeniable.
Consider starting a “Me Journal”. How will you decorate it? What will the cover say about you? Start paying more attention to and celebrating the little things that make you a wondrous, beautiful human being.
Peace, joy, and health!