Last weeks blog Are You Feeling Supported? Are You Supporting You?explored the importance of supporting ourselves. I trust you have had fun practicing balanced self care, being a kind and encouraging friend to yourself and asking for help if and when you need it.
In last fortnight's blog I mentioned that In Sri Lanka I had the opportunity to work together with the women there to explore supporting ourselves and each other. Some of the fun things we did included setting up a Birthday Cake cooking team to celebrate both the girls and matron's birthdays. We also made eye-pillows and gifted them to the matrons to encourage them to relax with a 5 minute shavasana. (pictured above). We also had a gratitude party, where we all had the opportunity to express our gratitude for each other and have some fun dancing too.
So, as I said the theme I wanted to explore this fortnight was self-appreciation. Some time ago now I wrote a blog on forgetting to thank and appreciate myself. It was entitled 'OMGoodness The Dishwasher has Been Emptied' . It was a reminder of how rarely I give myself thanks and appreciation. I know the power and importance of being appreciative and happy about the kindness others show us. We are constantly thanking others, but how many times do we stop to be thankful to ourselves? We are all doing kind things for others constantly, smiles, kind words and deeds both big and small! We often don't even notice, let alone take the time to appreciate or value the impact our contributions have on others? Both appreciation of others and self-appreciation are important for our well being.
Self-appreciation is about turning the kindness we give to others inward. It is not a commonly used term and is often confused with self-esteem and self-confidence. When we appreciate ourselves we do not enhance our self-image, we are simply thankful. With self-appreciation we treat ourselves with kindness and appreciate and make the best use of what we have been given. Self-Appreciation includes....
Appreciation or being thankful or grateful to ourselves is a great way to overcome feeling resentful. We can't be appreciative and resentful at the same time.
Recently I was reminded that the value we attach to something is not so much about what we have done, but more about, the positive impact we have had by doing what we do. For example when I prepare a meal for the family, I allow them time for homework and their work or leisure schedule, and to stay healthy and nourished. We can value that and appreciate ourselves for that! My friend helped me do the same thing related to writing these blogs. Heartfelt thanks to her. I encourage you to take her wise advice and do the same.
Here are some ideas on how to practice self-appreciation and to value our contributions.
1. Don't wait for other to appreciate you - do it straight away yourself
2. Be thankful for our bodies and all it's wondrous workings.
How easy it is to get caught up in the small things that are going wrong and forget to appreciate how our bodies keep us alive and make everything possible.
3. Use kind words.
Use appreciative language to yourself. Be that kind encouraging friend. Say thank you to yourself often! I read recently - 'there is an opportunity to appreciate every time you want to beat yourself up. For example if I forget something the choice I have is to bash myself up over forgetting one thing or appreciate all the things I remembered!
4. Keep a gratitude journal.
I like to bring to mind and record what I am grateful for each morning. In the evenings I reflect on self-appreciation and appreciate the value I contributed to others, no matter how small. I go off to sleep, happy about doing my best to be a positive force in the world.
We all have lots to contribute to others, a smile or kind word can totally change someones day for the better. I was reminded of this recently when I commented on how lovely an older woman looked as we waited to cross the road. She smiled and said 'thank you, that has made my day".
4. Give yourself a gift.
There is a difference between giving yourself a gift of appreciation and buying what you desire. The intention, like when we give someone a bunch of flowers for example, is to say thank you. You give because you want to give thanks to yourself. And as we all know giving and receiving work together and feel great.
I have had great fun with this over the years. I embroidered myself an anti-resentment apron that says 'loved and appreciated'! (pictured here). This helps to remind me to appreciate myself and to value the contribution I bring to others when I cook! Hilary and Kate have been embroidering 'Love You Mum' on aprons and tea towels for Mother's Day. Here they are pictured below in our POM Mother's Day Basket.
If you would like an embroidered apron or tea towel to remind yourself or someone else that they are loved and appreciated Hilary and Kate would be happy to embroider 'Love you Mum', 'Loved and Appreciated' or any other personal message, for you. They and other POM products are available at The Fruit Nest in Malvern and Teaspoon in East Prahran or you can email me here to order. Thank you to Chez, Chris and the Fruit Nest team and to Melly and the Teaspoon crew. And also big thanks to all the POM volunteer crafts/baking team!
The Rushall knitting team, Patti, Jo, Margaret Jennifer and Veronica and the branch teams of Lyn C and Sue D, Bec and Donna and Elizabeth. have been busy knitting. The Rushall team have made these lovely 100% cotton clothes, pictured in the Mother's Day basket of POM goodies. They are great as a face washer, dishcloth or bench cloth. Jenny from Rushall told me that the recent sad events in Sri Lanka have her knitting faster. Also pictured in the basket are Sue's beautiful cards, our POM eyepillows and wheat bags (somewhat hidden), Hilary and Kate's embroidered tea towels and aprons and Bec and Donna's teddies. Please email me here to order. You can also check out the POM products shop here.
Another way I practice self-appreciation includes paying myself a housekeeping wage to make sure I value my role as a stay at home mother and the contribution it makes to my family. Recently I bought myself a Super Mum superhero, Mother's day card, a new journal with Wonder Woman on the cover and an inflatable toucan I named Ta, who is floating in the pool. These gifts remind me to thank others and to thank myself and value the contributions I make too.
In appreciation for you all. Have a great fortnight!