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Carry Love and Appreciation in Your Wallet

Carry Love and Appreciation in Your Wallet

When someone sends me a thoughtful appreciation of something I’ve posted, I save it in a “Genuine Appreciations” file and re-read the collected comments from time to time, whenever I need a boost. (A pleasurable way to sustain hygge – the feelings of contentment and ease generated by a sense of acceptance and togetherness with others.  See the recent post Finding Hygge – the Danish Path to Coziness and Contentment.)

The benefits of nourishing a healthy sense of self with positive appreciations from other people has been well-established in the research of positive psychologists like Barbara Fredrickson and incorporated in her book Positivity as an exercise in creating “positivity portfolios.”

I’ve adapted the positivity portfolio as an exercise in Carry Love and Appreciation in Your Wallet, an easy way to foster self-appreciation and self-acceptance.

Carry Love and Appreciation in Your Wallet

1.  Begin to gather positive appreciative comments about yourself from birthday cards, holiday cards, random emails from friends and colleagues, comments you notice in conversations with friends.  Write them down on a “Genuine Appreciations” list.

2.  You can even ask 2-3 friends (5-7!) that you trust to be genuine in their appreciation of you to send you an email, card or text with two or three positive comments of what they genuinely appreciate about you.  Add these comments to the list.

3.  Type up the comments on a single sheet of paper. Tape the list to your computer monitor or on the bathroom mirror where you can read it every day. Or you can carry the list with you in your wallet or purse; you can enter it onto your phone where you’re likely to see it daily.

4.  Read these comments 3 times a day, every day, for 30 days.  Each time you read them, take another 30 seconds to take in the good of receiving this genuine support and appreciation from people who know you and care about you.  This repeated taking in the relational nourishment from others does create a new appreciation of yourself in your brain.

5.  Each day, after you read through your list, notice how you feel about yourself as you take in and savor the appreciation. Notice where you feel any warmth or glow in your body from reading the list.

6. Set the intention to return to this warm glow of self-appreciation as you move through your day, checking in with yourself periodically. Pause and remember the list (look at it again if you need to) and recall that self-appreciation.

5. At the end of the month, reflect on how reviewing your list of appreciations every day has strengthened your resilience in coping with the new, the difficult, the stressful or hurtful. This practice is especially helpful at times when your sense of self-worth is being challenged.  You may add to the bottom of your own list an appreciation of your growing capacities to create resilience for yourself.

We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us there is something valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch.  Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.

– E.E. Cummings

You’ll find more tools to strengthen relational intelligence within yourself in The Resilience Toolkit, forthcoming in September 2018.

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