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Do You Appreciate Yourself?

Do You Appreciate Yourself?

When times are hard, if we are sick, have lost a partner, job, or home, then it’s not always easy to be thankful. Yet those can actually be the very best times to give thanks – for the things we do have, not those we don’t have. Rather than bemoaning that we have lost our health we can be grateful for the birds singing outside or the sun shining in the window; rather than being jealous of someone who has a job while we don’t, we can be grateful for the free time to spend with ourselves or a loved one.

For instance, take a moment right now to appreciate the chair you are sitting on as you read this. Just consider what went into the making of this chair: the wood, cotton, wool or other fibers, the trees and plants that were made into these materials, the earth that grew the trees, the rain and sun, the animals that were involved, the people who prepared the materials, the factory where the chair was made, the designer and carpenter and seamstress, the shop where you bought it—all this just so you could be sitting here now.

Or think of your body and all the different organs and functions and systems that sustain your life, such as your heart, your digestion, or your immune system that protects you from illness. Or the food that nourishes you and where it came from and all the people and plants and weather and transport that were needed to get that food on your table.

You can apply this to everything as nothing is unrelated or disconnected, every single thing is a part of everything else and all are needed to make a whole. It’s so huge; there is no beginning place. There’s just an endless stream of connectedness that has come together to enable you to be here right now, in this moment, reading this, sitting on your chair. And you still don’t think you have anything to feel grateful for or worth appreciating?

Appreciation must also include you. This is often the hardest part, as it’s so easy to dismiss, belittle, ignore, or be embarrassed by ourselves. Can you stand naked in front of a mirror and say thank you? Can you feel a warmth and gratitude for your body that sustains you, for the breath that gives you life? Making friend with and deeply appreciating yourself is vital, as your relationship with yourself is the longest and closest relationship you will ever have. If you can’t appreciate yourself, then how can you appreciate anyone else?

We invite you to develop an ongoing relationship with gratitude by making a list of things to “remember to appreciate.” You can do this hourly, daily, weekly, finding different things to appreciate each time. Anything can go on that list: each other, toenails, trees, sunshine, the washing machine, walking, hot water, grapefruit, flannel sheets…

What’s on your list? As Thanksgiving is here, let’s all take some time to say thank you for those things we usually ignore. Say “Thank you!” out loud over and over. We can never have enough gratitude, let it fill every moment, every thought and every feeling. Experiencing gratitude is totally transforming.

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Ed and Deb Shapiro

You can learn more in our book, Be The Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Marianne Williamson, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, Byron Katie and others. Our 3 meditation CD’s: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at:


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10:57AM PDT on Apr 6, 2015

Good article. In my experience gratitude is very important. It takes the focus off the negative and puts it on the positive, which can only make us feel better. Not always easy to do, but worth trying.

8:22AM PST on Dec 31, 2013

I agree with Vicki V, easier said than done.

1:54AM PST on Dec 30, 2013

Thank you :)

3:33AM PST on Dec 24, 2013

One of the most difficult things to do.
Being kind and loving to ourselves

8:32AM PST on Dec 23, 2013

Yes gratitude is the way to a long and happy life

10:03AM PST on Dec 18, 2013

good to remember

10:25AM PST on Dec 14, 2013

Gratitude is a state of being, and to be grateful for one thing is to be grateful for all things, including myself. In my experience, this has been true. Thanks.

11:49AM PST on Dec 12, 2013

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Lovely article. I've learned and now believe that gratitude is the way to an abundance of happiness. It brings you present in the moment to really enjoy your focus or art of your life and the people that surround you. Important point that you make to appreciate every facet of yourself, we sometimes forget to. Thank you!

1:59PM PST on Dec 8, 2013

Thank you!

2:00AM PST on Dec 5, 2013

Appreciat all!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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