Yet another way to feel good

Every day without fail we all have things to do. Some of them may be exciting and highly desirable whereas others may be rather unpleasant but necessary. Most activities probably fall somewhere in between. It’s rather easy to be in a positive frame of mind when engaging in desirable activities, but what about the rest?

Perhaps you exercised on a day you didn’t really feel like it; you spent the holiday with a family member that you would rather avoid; you attended a function when you preferred to be doing something else; you performed a chore that you generally dread. The list goes on…

One way to give yourself a boost after doing something necessary you’d rather not do, or at least not with much enthusiasm, is to give yourself a nice pat on the back in the form of self-approval. Not only does giving yourself some approval feel good at the time, but there’s a cumulative effect as well, as it boosts self-esteem. Here’s the best part: attaching an emotional “reward” to such activities holds the promise for you to approach all sorts of future activities with enthusiasm and vigor.

Some people pat themselves on the back automatically. Those who do not can learn it like any other skill, which over time becomes a mental habit. Like any other new skill, it’s often helpful to start small as the new habit takes form.

After performing some activity for which you feel you deserve some credit, ask yourself:

Can I give myself some approval? – or – Could you give yourself some approval?

Use whichever expression feels more natural to you. Then flirt with it a little.

How about just a tiny bit? Can I give myself just a tiny bit of approval? Just a small drop perhaps?

It’s important to state that the approval is simply for the effort put forth, regardless of the result of that effort. If the approval were to require positive results, then it would be conditional on forces that may be beyond your control. Heads you win, tails you lose. But if instead it is only based on effort alone, then it’s unconditional, since you are in control of your effort.

Can I give myself just a little bit more? How about a little bit more? And a little bit more?

Notice that this works in a similar way to worrying, but in a good way. You start with a small thought and watch it grow a little bit at a time as you feed it. I suggest going slowly with this each time, allowing the feeling to build on its own.

If you find that this practice resonates with you, practice it whenever it feels right. Before you know it, you’ll have a very powerful way to feel good about yourself that is within your very own control.

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