For this Month of Thankfulness, Include Self Gratitude

Smiling woman in the city

The approaching Thanksgiving holiday brings forward moments of togetherness in families, whether biological or chosen, where we often reflect on our year and express our gratitude for each other. In my family, we have taken up the ritual of expressing what we are thankful for in the year as we pass the meal around the table. I have seen friends create a paper turkey for their children that they post on the wall, and they add feathers with something they are grateful for throughout the month. So far, my friend’s young son’s turkey has 5 wings with “trucks” on them. How age-appropriate!

While planning for the month and upcoming holiday, I began to think about the idea of gratitude, including the lesser-known expression of gratitude, “Self Gratitude.” Self gratitude is the practice of being grateful for yourself while also including gratitude for what you have and your life around you. Benefits of self gratitude include confidence, resiliency, and motivation. In addition, self gratitude can be a helpful addition to expressions of gratitude for others in your daily life.

How often do I practice self gratitude? To be honest, I usually am quick to engage in more self-criticism. I praise others regularly, but it’s hard to give praise to myself. It does not come very naturally. So it got me thinking, maybe I could spend the month focusing on adding more self gratitude practice.

Creating a self gratitude practice does not have to be an ordeal. It can be as simple as a short reflection before bedtime. Oftentimes, one expression of self gratitude can be enough. Sometimes it can be helpful to write in a journal or a note on your phone, but it is not required. The important piece is to be consistent. Repetition makes the most significant difference in our brain circuitry over time. What can hold me back is identifying and expressing my self gratitude. So I thought I would create a list of sample questions to elicit self gratitude more easily.

Sample Questions to reflect on:

What is one thing I did well today?
What is one strength I have?
How did I care for someone else today?
How did I show my values today?
What abilities do I have that I am thankful for?
What am I grateful for today?
What challenges did I overcome today?
What inspired me today?
How am I better today than yesterday?
What is one victory I had today?
How was I awesome today?
What problem did I solve today?
What did I create today?
What personal or professional goal have you worked on today?

Whew, that is a list, but I feel like every day I can answer one question on the list; even on those days, I am grateful I just got out of bed today. As a busy momma, it’s important for me to take the time to recognize my strengths rather than focusing only on the negatives or self-criticisms. With mom guilt rampant, I feel that self gratitude practice can be my shield of confidence to keep myself resilient when faced with parenting challenges these days.

Okay, so let’s start now. Today I am grateful to myself that I accomplished one thing on my to-do list. How about you?

Liz is a new mom to a smiley baby born in a global pandemic in January 2021. While new to being a mom of her own, Liz has been a practicing mental health therapist since 2013 specializing in supporting children, teens and families in the Twin Cities Community. Currently, Liz serves on the leadership team and as an outpatient therapist with Wild Tree Psychotherapy . Liz is driven by making mental health education informative, accessible and even fun through writing, teaching and presenting! Liz lives in Apple Valley and is married to Corey, Mom to Eleanor (2021) and Dog Mom to a wild but cuddly 5 pound poodle named Coco.

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