Finding the Words

January 31st, 2012

PositiveQualitiesTherapistSanFrancisco

Language is one of the ways to connect our conscious and unconscious worlds. Things we don’t yet realize we know have a chance to rise to the surface. This allows our perceptions to become more deeply felt and understood. Sometimes we forget this amazing function of language in a culture that overflows with data and information.

However, one of the more language-deficient areas in our culture is finding words to describe our positive qualities. Sometimes people are afraid to do this because they think it sounds self-centered. But this isn’t about narcissism or grandiosity. In fact, I think many people have trouble naming their positive qualities because they don’t quite believe that they’re true.

One of my colleagues recently gave me a list called “Recognizing My Positive Qualities” from the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The instructions are to circle 10 or more of your strongest positive qualities and post them in a prominent place where you can see and affirm them each day. If you’re working with self-esteem, depression, anxiety or grief, this can be a good exercise to assist in your healing.

The link above will take you to a copy of the full list, and I’m including an abridged version below. What are the words that best describe you?

accepting

adaptable

affectionate

artistic

broad-minded

calm

capable

cautious

cheerful

clever

courageous

dependable

determined

empathic

enterprising

faithful

fit

funny

generous

good-natured

growing

honest

hopeful

humorous

idealistic

imaginative

independent

kind

learning

leisurely

likable

logical

mild

moderate

natural

non-judgmental

organized

original

patient

persistent

polite

quiet

realistic

reflective

resourceful

robust

sexy

sincere

spontaneous

talented

tenacious

trustworthy

understanding

uninhibited

unique

versatile

warm

whole

witty

zany

You might also be interested in another blog post I wrote, The Antidote to Self-Hate is Compassion, which features practices for cultivating more empathy and compassion for yourself.

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