“You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and joyfully being what you are, you fulfill your own abilities, and your simple presence can make others happy.” - Jane Roberts, The Nature of Personal Reality

In a minute or less, list 10 things about you that are wonderful! Are you caring and compassionate, a good listener, have a quick wit, generous with others, a good communicator, etc., etc. If you are resisting doing this, what’s so tough about saying what’s great about you? Did your parents tell you (as mine did) – “Don’t get too big for your britches?” That is, don’t brag about yourself or let your ego get too big or think you’re the best thing since sliced bread! Well, I advocate “bragging” about yourself, but not in an egotistical way. Rather, brag about yourself in a way that recognizes you have some terrific qualities and skills. OK, if you’re still having trouble with this, you can tell yourself, “In my own humble opinion, I am wonderful because…..”

It may be difficult to claim the positive qualities and skills you have if you were given a lot of negative messages as a child. It’s quite sad how many people were told as a young age that they would never amount to anything, or weren’t smart, etc. These messages aren’t always from parents- they come from teachers and other authority figures. One young man told me that the first day of school in first grade he was told by a teacher that he was stupid! It’s important to take time to talk with your inner child to counteract these old limiting messages. Close your eyes and imagine yourself as a child. Talk to the child, telling him or her that it’s time to let go of limiting ideas, that the adults who gave the negative messages made a mistake. Say very specifically the new beliefs you want to instill on an emotional level: “You are smart. You can do anything you want. You are attractive. You are important. I love you. You are lovable.” At first, you may find that the inner child part has difficulty accepting the new beliefs. Just continue talking and doing this exercise as many times as necessary so you can feel there is an inner difference.

If you haven’t made that list of 10 things about you that are wonderful, DO IT NOW!! (Please…) You can also call your friends and ask them what’s special about you (be sure to call your positive, encouraging friends for this one.) Remember positive comments you’ve been given from family, friends, employers, etc., about your personal qualities and your skills and abilities. What do people say you’re good at that is so easy for you it doesn’t even seem like a talent or skill? Become comfortable with knowing your own special qualities and skills, and feeling confident about them.

Set aside twenty minutes to a half hour to write about your past accomplishments. Divide your life into 10 year segments: 0 –10 years old, 11 – 20, 21- 30, 31- 40, etc. In each 10 year period, list as many accomplishments as you can. Give yourself time to remember. (For example, from 0 – 10 years old, they might include learning to tie your shoes, learning to ride a bike, achieving something in school, etc.) For each accomplishment, write down where you were, who you were with, and how you felt. When you’re all done, look for patterns. Look for skills or talents you used to enjoy expressing, but aren’t now. Is there anything from the past you could start doing again that would add more joy to your life? (In doing this exercise myself, I remembered being in the debate club in high school, and how much I enjoyed that. Yet after high school I didn’t do any public speaking for over 20 years and now that’s one of my favorite activities.)

When you’ve completed this process, decide how you can express more of the skills and abilities you discovered. For example, my life partner, Rick, realized that he enjoyed being in front of an audience. He went and auditioned for a community play and got a part! It was a small part, but it was a great step for him to participate more fully in life rather than being a spectator. He went on to develop his skills as a speaker and now gives motivational workshops for hundreds of people.

This 12 step program is meant to assist you in achieving your dreams in every area. To do that, you must learn to identify and express the unique and wonderful being that you are. Think about a huge jigsaw puzzle- each piece fits perfectly in a particular place or the puzzle isn’t complete. Each piece has a unique shape and design. And each of us has a unique place to fill on this planet. Unfortunately, we often go around for years trying to fit in places that really don’t fit us! Are you ready to find YOUR place in the Big Jigsaw Puzzle of Life? Go for it- the world is waiting for you!

Author's Bio: 

- Patricia J. Crane, Ph.D., is an author, international workshop leader and trainer. Her popular book, Ordering From the Cosmic Kitchen: The Essential Guide to Powerful, Nourishing Affirmations, is available on amazon.com. For information about her training program for workshop leaders, go to www.hylteachers.com.