When we’re dissatisfied with our bodies, that seems to be the only thing we can focus on. It’s like we take out our magnifying glass, poring over and spotlighting all of our supposed “flaws.” Our lives may even start to revolve around the dissatisfaction.

Soon, we go from being kind, hardworking, smart and caring people to being the woman with the wide hips or the huge thighs or the big belly.

Our minds start to spin a web of false stories, moving us away from being whole to consisting of a few flaws or to doubting our other qualities. We reduce ourselves and no accomplishment or quality is good enough until we lose weight or until we get more muscular or fix whatever flaw we’ve decided we have.

In essence, in fixating on our supposed physical shortcomings, we forget about our other wonderful qualities, accomplishments and gifts.

Fortunately, we can change our perspective a little bit every day. We can slowly chip away at the negativity and narrow-mindedness.

One way to do that is by giving yourself credit for your accomplishments and efforts on a regular basis. This tip comes from the book Think Confident, Be Confident by Leslie Sokol, PhD, and Marci G. Fox book, PhD.

I love what the authors say about giving yourself credit, because I think so many of us fall into the comparison trap — whether we compare ourselves to others or to our “ideal” self.

As they write: “Give yourself the credit you deserve to build confidence and continue to squash doubt. It’s time to stop minimizing your accomplishments, telling yourself that anyone could have done it or that it was no big deal. When you look at what you do, don’t make comparisons with your ideal or what you think is best; don’t compare yourself with what you think other people can do. It is important to give yourself credit for the effort and not the outcome…Giving yourself credit means recognizing your effort as well as your accomplishments.”

So they suggest readers write down at least five things you can give yourself credit for each day.

Your efforts and accomplishments can be anything from cooking dinner for your family to writing a sweet thank-you note to a friend to cracking a joke that lifted someone’s spirits to working hard at work to giving yourself a compliment to not bashing your body to using a healthy strategy for processing emotions or coping with stress. Anything goes. And everything counts.

If you have kids, have them do this activity, too. You can even chat about it at the dinner table. Or talk this over with your friends or family. Or create your list as you’re enjoying a cup of tea in the evening. It’s a valuable but simple activity that goes a long way.

What’s one thing you can give yourself credit for today? Please share! 

P.S., I received an email from Ellen Albertson, a graduate student who’s working on her dissertation. She needs participants for her study and asked if I’d be willing to share her info. So here are the details for anyone who’s interested:

Meditate & Feel Better About Your Body & Yourself

You are invited to participate in an anonymous research study looking at the benefits of meditation on women’s health. This study is conducted by Ellen Albertson, MS, MA, RD, Department of Media Psychology at Fielding Graduate University. If you agree to participate you can expect to:

  • Answer questions at the start and end of the study online that ask about your background, thoughts, emotions, and eating behaviors. It is expected that each set of questions will take you about 20-30 minutes to complete.
  • Receive free meditation podcasts that lasts approximately 20 minutes. You will be asked to listen to them once a day for three weeks.
  • At the end of the study you will be provided with an email address to enter a lottery for a chance to win 1 of 5 gift cards (one $100 gift card and four $25 gift cards). Participation in the lottery is optional.

To participate please visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/meditationwomenshealth