Last week, a girlfriend of mine asked me to give myself one compliment – to say out loud one thing that I was proud of.
I sat there in silence for over thirty seconds. I couldn’t think of anything that I felt genuinely proud of – proud enough to verbalise as a compliment to myself. She watched me as I sat there and waited patiently and without judgement. But I felt increasingly more and more uncomfortable with my own silence.
Why couldn’t I think of a compliment for myself? It surely isn’t that hard! What’s something I’ve done lately that I’m proud of????
And when I spoke, I said, “Well, I’m cooking a roast tonight”.
And then I paused. As soon as I had said it, I felt an emptiness. An overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction moved up my throat. And I said to her, “I am so not happy with that answer. I just don’t know what else to say”.
And the emotion I felt in that moment was sadness. Sadness because I realised I probably hadn’t complimented myself in a long time. And I deserve better than that from myself.
And I explained this to my friend.
And she said to me, “There are so many things you’re doing that are simply amazing. You’re a mum to a thriving, energetic toddler. On Top of that, you’re a single mum. And on top of that, you’re the owner of a growing business. And on top of that, you’re an employer. On top of that, you have clients you work with every day. You run your own household and put healthy nutritious meals on the table. You’re fit and active and invest time in your fitness. You value family and your friendships. You do the best you possibly can in everything you do”.
And at this point, I don’t remember what my response to her was. But I do remember how I felt.
I felt upset that it took someone else to remind me of how amazing I can be. Happiness is an inside job – how could I be happy I couldn’t even compliment myself. And I felt a wave of relief that there were people in my life who could see all the things I do. I don’t depend on external validation, but living with a toddler who can’t communicate in English, sometimes it feels like everything I do goes unnoticed. It’s actually a very easy thing, I’ve realised, to go an entire week without complimenting myself or saying to myself, “Good job today! You smashed it!”
It’s been a timely reminder of how important it is to practice self-love on a daily basis. I’m going to inject my life with self-love rituals. I’m going to start walking again every morning and say out loud all the things I am grateful for (something I stopped doing a few months ago). I’m going to have bubble baths with candles and without my toddler. I moved my couch around and the feng shui in my home changed instantly. I’m going to stop comparing myself to other people.