In case you don’t know, my name’s Mathew Baker, and I’m a professional counsellor as well as the co-founder of The Depression Project :)
Now, let me cut straight to the chase, dear reader:
If you’re like most people with depression, then you are far, far more aware of your flaws, shortcomings and mistakes than you are of all the good inside of you.
And – unfortunately – this will result in you feeling much worse about yourself than you otherwise would. So, in this in-depth article, we’re going to bring a lot more awareness to all of the good things that make you who you are - in order to help you develop a list of compelling reasons to love yourself.
Moving forwards, this is something you’re almost certainly going to find extremely, extremely valuable, because such a list can really help you to:
- Restore your self-worth;
- Feel good about yourself;
- Take an enormous step closer towards overcoming depression!
So, without further ado, let's get started!
The Four Main Components Of A List Of Reasons To Love Yourself
So, like I mentioned, in order to create your own list of reasons to love yourself, you need to bring awareness to “all of the good things that make you who you are”.
In particular, these good things about yourself can include:
- All of the good things you’ve done;
- All of your positive habits;
- How strong you are in the face of adversity;
- All of your positive characteristics.
Let’s now talk about each of these in turn :)
Component #1 Of A List Of Reasons To Love Yourself: All Of The Good Things You’ve Done
The “good things you’ve done” are part of the “good person you are”. Some examples can include:
The good things you’ve done for others, such as:
Being there for a friend when they need someone to talk to.
Giving a good piece of advice.
Standing up for a friend or a co-worker when someone else criticised them.
Being there for your family, including:
For your kids – for example, by being loving and caring towards them, providing for them financially, helping them with their homework, driving them to sports practice, taking care of them when they’re sick, and teaching them how to be responsible adults – just to name a few of many things!
For your partner – for example, by supporting them when they need it, contributing to the upkeep of the home that you both live in, giving them a massage when they have a sore back, telling them funny jokes that make them laugh, cooking them their favourite meal because you know they’ll like it, and no doubt many other things as well!
Helping your parents out in their old age.
Donating to charity.
Volunteering your time to help someone in need.
Helping out a co-worker.
Loaning someone money when they’ve been in a tough spot.
Recommending a good book or a movie to someone that they really enjoyed.
Putting a tip in a street musician’s hat.
Mentoring someone and/or teaching them how to do something they’ve wanted to learn.
Giving someone a gift just because you thought it would make them happy.
Giving your unused clothes to charity.
Adopting an abandoned animal.
Contributions you’ve made at work, such as:
Helping to brighten up your customers’ days and/or making their lives a little bit easier.
Creating positive change in the industry you’re in.
Training younger staff to pave the way for your company / organisation’s future success.
Being a supportive, encouraging leader.
Being a helpful, supportive team member who makes the work environment a better place to operate in.
Organising the company Christmas party – which keeps morale at your workplace high!
Achieving your goals, such as:
Goals you set for yourself at school and university (e.g. passing your subjects and graduating).
Goals you set for yourself at work (e.g. working hard and getting a promotion, improving in an area that you didn’t use to be very good at).
Financial goals you set for yourself (e.g. saving up enough money for something you wanted, paying off a debt).
Personal goals you set for yourself (e.g. being an attentive, supportive and committed parent / partner / child / brother / friend, etcetera).
Health / physical activity goals (e.g. losing weight, becoming more muscular, training for- and then completing a marathon).
Learning a new skill (e.g. how to swim, how to ride a bike, how to drive, how to cook, how to speak a new language, how to play a musical instrument, how to dance).
Positive steps you’ve taken in your personal life, such as:
Becoming financially independent.
Getting married and having a family.
Continuing to move forwards and never giving up during difficult, challenging times.
Learning from past mistakes (and forgiving yourself for them).
Overcoming a bad habit that was hurting you.
Overcoming a fear that was holding you back.
Stepping out of your comfort zone to pursue a new opportunity.
Taking steps to overcome your depression (e.g. reaching out for help, learning strategies to cope, learning how to heal from the underlying causes of your depression).
Component #2 Of A List Of Reasons To Love Yourself: Your Positive Habits
Your positive habits also contribute to you being the good person you are. Some examples include:
Positive habits when it comes to your family life, such as:
Playing football in the park with your children on the weekend.
Cooking your family their favourite meal on Fridays.
Bringing your partner a cup of tea and taking care of them when they're feeling sick.
Taking your dog for a walk each morning.
Giving thoughtful gifts on birthdays.
Positive habits when it comes to your social life, such as:
Arriving on time when you go to meet someone.
Asking a friend what they’d like when you go to the bar.
Giving people compliments.
Asking “how are you?” and taking an interest in other people’s lives.
Positive habits when it comes to how you treat other people, such as:
Holding the door open for people.
Always being friendly and respectful to service staff.
Offering an elderly person your seat on public transport.
Smiling when you catch someone’s eye in the street.
Positive habits when it comes to your work, such as:
Being friendly with customers.
Meeting your productivity goals.
Positive habits when it comes to your finances, such as:
Being able to budget your money to take care of yourself / your family.
Paying your bills on time.
Gradually reducing your debt each month.
Saving 10% of your pay each month.
Positive habits when it comes to the environment, such as:
Not wasting food.
Turning the lights off in rooms you’re not in.
Unplugging unused devices.
Reducing your use of plastic.
Positive habits when it comes to your physical and mental health:
Going for a walk three times a week to stay fit.
Meditating each morning.
Keeping a journal.
Reading self-help books.
Component #3 Of A List Of Reasons To Love Yourself: The Times You’ve Been Resilient In The Face Of Adversity
It’s very empowering to be mindful of these times, since they highlight just how strong of a person you really are. Some examples include:
Surviving difficult / challenging times, such as:
A bad break-up.
Losing a job.
Being hurt by someone.
A big disappointment (in your career, for example).
A serious illness or injury (either to you or to someone you love).
A mid-life crisis.
The loss of a loved one.
Showing resilience in the face of depression, such as:
Keeping a job and upholding your responsibilities – despite how hard depression can make this.
Reaching out for help even though you were scared to.
Getting out of bed on the days when you felt so exhausted by depression that you just wanted to stay there.
Maintaining your personal hygiene.
Continuing to keep on fighting during all of the times when you felt like giving up.
Component #4 Of A List Of Reasons To Love Yourself: Your Positive Characteristics
These are also an enormous part of the good person you are. They can include:
Your positive personality traits. For example:
If you’d be there for a friend in need, then that means that you’re supportive, a good listener, and caring.
If you tell the truth, then that means that you’re honest and sincere.
If you’re nice to people, then that means that you’re kind.
If your heart goes out to people who are going through something difficult, then it means that you’re compassionate, empathetic, and of course caring once again.
If you’d always stand by the people you love and never betray them, then it means that you’re loyal.
If you’re quiet about your accomplishments instead of always showing off about them, then it means that you’re modest, humble and down-to-Earth.
If you sometimes take a step out of your comfort zone to try to improve your life or your family’s life, then it means that you’re brave and courageous.
If you don’t judge-, criticise- or think less of other people who are different from you, then it means that you’re accepting.
If you take care of your partner when they’re feeling sick, then once again, it means that you’re loving, caring and supportive.
If you share what you have with others, then it means that you’re generous.
If you work hard to achieve your goals, then it means that you’re motivated, disciplined and determined.
If you’re open to learning new things and hearing different points of view, then it means that you’re open-minded.
If you’re mindful of your children’s needs and you do your best to help them get met, then it means that you’re an attentive parent.
If you try to work through any issues you’re having with someone and resolve them together, then it means that you’re flexible and willing to compromise.
If you’re able to work in a team, then it means that you’re cooperative.
If you continue fighting through your depression each day even though you may feel like giving up, then it means that you’re strong and resilient.
You’re also likely to be intelligent in one or more ways as well (whether that be “book smart”, “socially intelligent”, “emotionally intelligent”, etcetera).
Your positive physical characteristics – for example, having a nice smile, beautiful eyes, etcetera.
Your Talents – for example, being a good cook, a good singer, a fast runner, etcetera.
Creating YOUR List Of Reasons To Love Yourself!
OK, so it’s now time to carefully think about and construct your own list of healthy reasons to love yourself! Before you begin, though, let me first give you a little more guidance, OK?
1. Be Patient When Creating Your List Of Reasons To Love Yourself!
If you’re used to only focusing on your flaws, shortcomings and mistakes – as most people are when they battle depression – then there’s a good chance that creating your list of reasons to love yourself will feel difficult and unnatural for you. For this reason, please be patient and gentle with yourself throughout this process!
2. Use These Guided Questions To Help You Create Your List Of Reasons To Love Yourself
As you’ll see below, to help you create your list of reasons to love yourself, I’ve asked you a series of guided questions for you to respond to. And, when you do this, I encourage you to respond as thoroughly and in as much detail as possible – since the more detailed your list of reasons to love yourself is, then the more effective it will be in helping you to feel better about yourself.
What are some positive things you’ve done for others?
What positive contributions have you made at work?
What goals have you achieved in your life (for example, in school, work or university; with regards to your health and finances; and in your personal life)?
What new skills have you learned throughout your life?
Over the years, what positive steps have you taken in your personal life?
What positive habits do you have (for example, when it comes to your family life, your social life, your work, your finances, your physical and mental health, the environment, and how you treat other people)?
Over the years, what difficult / challenging times have you survived?
What are the ways in which you’ve shown resilience in the face of depression?
What are your positive personality traits and physical characteristics? For example, being kind-hearted, loyal to your loved ones, honest, having a friendly smile, etcetera.
What are your talents?
Lastly, please now read over your list of all of the “good things that make you who you are” which you just wrote down. Then, imagine that all of these good things applied to somebody else. What would you think of that person? And, since all of these good things actually apply to you, then what does this tell you about yourself?
After answering these prompts, I really hope you’ll start to see that there is much, MUCH more good in you than you give yourself credit for, and that you really are a person who is worthy of self-love.
All my love,
P.S. If you'd like more help to improve your self-worth, then you'll likely find our Depression School course How To Overcome Negative Core Beliefs About Yourself really, really helpful!