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5 Self-Appreciation Strategies for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

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Self-appreciation is about valuing who you are and what you do. It’s about how you take care of yourself, mentally and physically. It sounds easy but it’s often more of a challenge to do so.

If you experience imposter syndrome, it’s downright near impossible to have self-appreciation. Why? Well, self-appreciation is about seeing yourself in a positive light and taking steps to do good things for yourself. Yet when you experience imposter syndrome or a negative mindset, you see and focus only on the errors, faults and negatives and in-turn do not feel you are worthy of good things.

Self-appreciation is important to bolster your self-esteem, your self-confidence, and self-efficacy.  It helps you to create a more positive outlook and increased confidence to overcome obstacles in your life on a daily basis. It doesn’t mean you ignore the negativity or problems in your life, and don’t recognize the struggles, or even the mistakes, but instead you see them for what they are, the challenges, and learning moments to develop and grow in your life.

I struggled with self-appreciation because I didn’t see myself as worthy of good things. My imposter syndrome always made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. I would not see the value in my past accomplishments, or the worth of my own qualities, or even treat myself just because I should. But I learned to see the good in me and grow in my self-appreciation. Even now as I’m working toward my PhD in psychology, I recognize my effort, growth and accomplishments that have helped me achieve the success I have to date.

When you’re struggling with a negative mindset and only see yourself in a negative light, these 5 strategies will help you grow in your self-appreciation and develop a stronger acceptance of who you are and what you are capable of.

1. Understand where the criticisms originate from

You are shaped by the positive and negative views and comments from others. Eventually it becomes part of your inner voice and self-narrative. You internalize what others say. It’s especially impactful when you are younger, but even as an adult, the more negative talk you hear, the more it will become part of your inner critic. 

When those negative words, phrases and thoughts pop up, recognize them for the negative words and phrases they are and reflect on where they originate from. This is important to break down your negative mindset. When you understand the words originating from others, you can understand their words reflect their fears. Their fears are then projected on you. But they are not true and factual of who you are. They are just the fears of others. 

2. Reflect on all your previous accomplishments

To begin to see who you are and appreciate what you’re capable of, you need to start noticing what you have already achieved. In your day to day life, it’s easy to only see the current challenges and dismiss or forget about your previous accomplishments and successes. When the negative talk about “You aren’t good enough”, “You’re just going to fail like always” pop up, reflect on your previous accomplishments and successes. No matter how big or small, they all are important and show your skills, abilities and knowledge at overcoming challenges and reflect your true capabilities.

To see them for yourself, on a document, create two columns and in the left one, write down all of your accomplishments and in the right one, what it took to achieve those successes. You can directly see all you’ve done and what it took to get there. You can begin to appreciate your effort, time and talent to achieve your successes.

“The greatest obstacle for me has been the voice in my head that I call my obnoxious roommate. I wish someone would invent a tape recorder that we could attach to our brains to record everything we tell ourselves. We would realize how important it is to stop this negative self-talk. It means pushing back against our obnoxious roommate with a dose of wisdom.” – Arianna Huffington

3. Embrace your qualities and character

Along with your previous accomplishments, you may not realize what great skills, and unique character you possess and bring into the world. Think about what you do well. What you have passion for and how it has a positive impact. Understand your character and personality and how it has helped you get to where you are today and it’s helped you grow and develop.

This is not a focus on being selfish, but learning to see your qualities and character. You’re focusing on the good things about who you are and what you do and are capable of in the future. Write this down as well, as it will help to bring your qualities and character to life for you to visually see and learn to appreciate what makes you amazing and impactful. 

4. Stop the harsh self-judgement

Stop worrying about mistakes and failure. Mistakes happen. Failure happens. But instead of seeing them as crushing defeats, see them as learning moments. Embrace those challenges and constructive lessons learned for future growth. 

Forgive yourself. Forgiveness goes a long way in helping you to grow and appreciate your growth. Recognize the mistakes that were made, but then understand why they occurred and forgive yourself for doing so, knowing you have now learned more than you knew before and will have improved for the next opportunity.  You can appreciate your growth and know that you are not the mistake, but have learned from your mistakes for future opportunities.

5. Reward your efforts

Treat yourself! Don’t wait until you’ve achieved the grand end-goal before you feel you deserve to appreciate your effort and work. Start earlier with small accomplishments and steps. Each step gets you closer to your goals. Each step is about growth. And each step is sometimes just appreciation of how you value yourself.

It’s all about self-care. Treat yourself to that coffee drink, step away for a walk, or treat yourself to a movie, or whatever helps you to recharge and feel good. You know you’re taking care of yourself and appreciating what you accomplished for your day, and for who you are.  Think about it this way, you would show your appreciation for a loved one or amazing friend by buying them a special treat or gift for just being who they are. Well, do the same for you. Buy that special treat or gift or take that time to enjoy it for that loved one…YOU!

Self-appreciation is not selfish, it’s smart! You are not being self-centered, you are not putting others down to elevate yourself, but instead you are valuing your own health, and qualities, and making sure to take steps in caring for yourself. If you put yourself second, or feel you don’t deserve appreciation, or just haven’t taken the time to do so, now’s the time to start. As you start to build self-appreciation and start valuing yourself for who you are and all you do, you will start to see amazing results in all aspects of your life.

Victor Mosconi, is a PhD Candidate in Psychology, with a Master in Psychology of Leadership Development and Coaching and founder of Imposter Solution Coach. He’s had life-long experience with imposter phenomenon, and uses his experience, knowledge, training and coaching skills to help women entrepreneurs and leaders overcome their self-doubt and imposter thoughts to develop a mindset of self-appreciation and empowerment. Take his quiz and discover your imposter strength.

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