Be proud of yourself - praise yourself and you will find yourself becoming the person you want to be.
As I went to bed last night, I was postulating that maybe, if for every negative thought I entertained, if I consequently thought TWO positive thoughts, then maybe I could be a happier person. Afterall, there is a plethora of information which suggests positive thinking can make us happier and motivate us.
However, I found something better, because it made sense when I thought of reinforcement theory, which we learnt about in Psychology. Anything which is classified as ‘reinforcement’ has the effect of increasing a particular behaviour. For example if you praise a child for a particular action, that will increase the probability that that behaviour will be performed more frequently. It is also known that this is vital for a child’s self-esteem and self-concept.
When we get to be adults, we don’t have anyone around who is going to pat us on the back for the majority of the time throughout the day. We may have family or friends who will from time to time, but we really and truly need to champion ourselves.
At first, I thought “well isn’t that a bit self-indulgent?” and “what if what I’ve done isn’t praise-worthy?”
However, deep down I knew this wasn’t the case. Most people are at far greater risk of being far too critical of themselves – you’ll find very few people praise themselves too much.
All the same, it was a difficult thing for me to do. However, I justified it by seeing it as a theoretically proven way to increase behaviours I thought were valued by me. For example, one of my goals is to be healthier in my eating habits. After a day today of eating well, I told myself “Justine that’s great you are eating healthier…for example you ate that silver and almonds today”. Note I included specifics of what I was happy about. Just as self-praising specific behaviours in children works better than generalised praise in terms of making it more frequent, the same is true for adults.
Usually, after I finish the housework, I think “I only did x and x” or “I’ve still got the washing to do” but today I told myself “it’s fantastic I did the dishes, mopped the floors etc today”.
This has worked well for me today, so I intend to keep this up. I felt more positive, more motivated and happier with myself.
You don’t have to self-praise aloud, especially around others. You can just silently smile and pat yourself on the back. There is nothing wrong with being proud of yourself.