"People often feel embarrassed when they're asked to name their positive traits," says Kristin Neff, PhD, author of Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind. If you're one of the many who feel more comfortable finding the good in others, this exercise is for you.
Print the worksheet out here to get started with the exercise below
1. In the flower for family and another for friends. In each petal, write the name of a person you admire. Then write a specific characteristic about each of them that you love—you dad's incredible work ethic, your daughter's inquisitive spirit, your best friend's ability to make you laugh so hard it hurts.
2. The traits you value in others probably reflect things worth appreciating in yourself. Did growing up with your dad's rise-and-shine spirit mean you still love tackling a to-do list on the weekend? Is part of what draws you to your best friend's sense of humor the fact that she always gets your jokes? Not every trait you've listed above will be one you think you possess, but many will overlap. Circle the qualities you recognize in yourself—even if they manifest slightly differently in you than in your friends and family—and write your version of them on the third flower.
3. What you like about yourself will feel more tangible and true if you think about the trait in action. Next to each, jot a specific memory: For devotion, for instance, you might note the time you dropped everything to be there after your mom's hip surgery; for your enviable cooking skills, include the time you watched your coworkers wrestle for the last of your homemade brownies. As Neff says, "In the context of family and friends, looking at yourself stops seeming vain, and you feel almost ungrateful not appreciating yourself."
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