Giving Yourself Credit

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Giving Yourself Credit

 

The other day I received an sms from my bank reminding me how much credit I have left to spend on my credit card – clearly I’m not spending it fast enough for them. In a strange twist of affairs, using your credit card these days apparently increases your credit rating (provided you use it responsibly, of course).

While I don’t plan to spend any more on my credit card than I absolutely have to, it got me thinking: Why is it that others are happy to give us credit (even banks!), but we so often forget to give it to ourselves?

A while ago I hit a bit of a slump, mainly because nothing seemed to be working out as I’d hoped. As I was listing my perceived ‘failures’ to a friend, she reminded me to give myself credit for what I’m actually doing right in my life, rather than focussing on what was going wrong. This is not a concept I don’t know, but that’s why we need friends – to remind us of these things in times of doubt and frustration, when we aren’t thinking straight. And boy did that suggestion shift my thinking!

So what did I come up with?

Firstly, I thought about all the wonderful people I have in my life. My circle of friends and colleagues, and even acquaintances, has completely changed from when I was still working in the corporate world. Now they’re mostly like-minded, and I can be more myself than ever before, knowing that they’re unlikely to think me strange when I start spouting off about energy and so forth.

In fact, it’s a bit of a shock these days when I come across people who don’t see the world in a similar way. Every now and then I have to remind myself that there are a lot of people who still think what I do is very weird – luckily I don’t have to interact much with them anymore.

I must be doing something right to have aligned my circles of daily interaction so well with who I am. And for those of you who may still be in that lonely in-between space, where your old friends don’t seem to fit anymore, but you haven’t quite found yourself a new circle yet… All I can say is keep walking your spiritual path and be open to new people, and you’ll find that the shift happens quite naturally.

That thought lead to giving myself credit for having had the guts to take the leap of faith necessary to leave the corporate world (and more to the point, my corporate salary). Even though it’s been very challenging at times, I’m doing what I love and am free to be completely who I am in my work capacity, rather than feeling like a split personality with the two halves of my life competing for energy – corporate vs spiritual. I also realised that I’m now living some affirmations I worked with about 5 years ago, about being able to choose what I do on a daily basis and to do it in my own time and space. I tell you, this stuff works, even if it sometimes takes time!

Then I thought about all the people I’ve worked with whom I’ve helped to shift even the smallest little perspective – students, clients, workshop attendees, even my hairdresser! And who knows how many other people I might have dropped a casual comment to – perhaps that planted a seed to help them shift something in their lives. I know that’s happened to me many times: I’ve met someone in passing, and just one thing they’ve said has sparked a major light-bulb moment for me.

And in the last few years I have worked through letting go of so much old baggage that my inner landscape looks completely different. Or should I say, my world looks different from the new internal position in which I stand.

And beyond the more obvious things I’ve ‘achieved’ in my particular field of interest, I am generally quite good at keeping up with my daily admin, keeping my house clean, exercising, feeding myself, and so on and so on…

By the time I’d finished the process of listing all that, I could see how far I’d come, and acknowledge all the little things I do well on a daily basis. I felt so much better! I’d given myself credit where credit was due, and I’d used that credit to improve my ‘energetic bank account’, which I can now draw from if ever I feel a bit low.

How to give yourself credit

If you think you could benefit from doing something similar, here are a few suggestions to work with:

  • Take note of how far you’ve come:
  • Think back to where you were in your life 10 years ago
  • Now think back to 5 years ago
  • And now just 2 years ago
  • Can you pinpoint what’s changed or how you’re doing things differently? Maybe it’s internal or maybe it’s external – it doesn’t matter. The point is to spot the difference.
  • Notice if it was a particular event or a decision you made that caused the change.

Now look at your daily life, and give yourself credit for the person that you are and all the small (and big) things you do, for yourself and for others. For example:

  • Think about the ways you look after yourself… Do you have a roof over your head and somewhere comfortable to sleep? Do you feed yourself well? Do you exercise in a way you enjoy? Do you make an effort with your appearance? Do you give yourself time out? Do you pay your accounts on time? Do you keep your house clean? Do you remember to ask for help when you need it?
  • Think about the people around you… Do you contribute to their lives in any way? Do you put food on the table, whether you cook it yourself or pay someone else to do that for you? Do you respect the views and feelings of others? Are you there for your family and friends? Are you a good listener? Do you feed a homeless person now and then? Do you offer time or money to a charity?
  • Think about the work you do… Perhaps it’s not the most fulfilling right now, but do you do it to the best of your ability? Do you show up on time? Do you use your work time productively for the company? Do you participate in office activities?

The list is infinite and of course, nobody does all of these things perfectly! Some of them may not even be important to you, and what is important to you may not be on this list, so feel free to add to it.

Remember that this is not an exercise in beating yourself up about what you don’t do. If you just read the list with that mind-set, throw your whip out the window now, and re-read it. It’s meant to remind you of all the ways in which you deserve to give yourself credit.

And if you’ve really thought long and hard about it, and you still feel that you’re not doing anything you deserve credit for, then pick one or two things from the list or anything else that comes to mind, and focus on getting yourself to a point where you can give yourself credit for them.

Tick them off on your fingers, in your head or write them down, but make sure you acknowledge the many ways in which you contribute. Remind yourself that you are a worthwhile person, and that you are moving forward, no matter what else might be going on in your life!!

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First published on Bridge of Love, November 2010

© Alexandra Lawrence and Metaphysical Girl, 2015

Image credit: wecompeteeveryday.com via Flickr

 

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