Your daughter makes a goal for her soccer team and you cheer from the sidelines. You take your son for ice cream when he gets an A- on his science test. You squeal at the first step; give a thumbs-up during a piano recital; and hand over the family car keys when they get their drivers license.
As parents we are happy when our kids accomplish goals and make advancements and we want to let them know we are proud of them. But expressing praise to our children can do more than simply pass on our congratulations. According to the Family Builders, “To our children, words of encouragement and praise can lead to achieving milestones and creating self-value. A compliment, a gesture, a facial expression, a simple hug, or a high-five can generate self-worth and pride in children.”
If praise is a crucial element for building the self-esteem of children, it stands to reason that it is a tool for building self-esteem in adults as well. So, who can lavish on moms and dads? There's hardly adoring fans waiting around to see when parents accomplish their goals or make advancements.
The reality is, you must learn to become your own cheerleader. Of course you might look a bit silly if you literally pat yourself on the back, or whisper “way to go” every time you do anything well. And I'm certainly not encouraging you to boast about every achievement. Still, the brain is a powerful instrument and “Praising yourself more often can create positive connections that completely alter your life in incredible and fantastic ways.”
Mindvalley reminds us that we are our own biggest influencers and internal affirmative dialogue can help us achieve more of our goals. So let me be the mama friend who tells you that you are not only allowed to praise yourself, but that your health and quality of life will greatly benefit from- and even depend on- self praise and rewards.
The Fit Tutor encourages us each to become our own fans and use self talk such as:
“I'm doing a good job”
“That task was really important and I’m glad I got it done”
“I’ve got this”
“I’m making progress”
“That was awesome” (after accomplishing a task)
“I can do this- I'm already doing well”
“That was worth the time it took”
Rewarding yourselves for a job well done is another way of expressing praise to our mama self. Goals Calling reminds us,
“It’s easy to just ignore your little victories and accomplishments and just keep going forward. While this doesn’t necessarily hinder your growth and progress, it can make you blind to your achievements.”
Here's their suggestions for some small rewards:
1. Checking Instagram or TikTok
2. Listening to music- eyes closed
3. Watching a YouTube video
4. Going for a stroll
5. Eating some snacks
6. Reading a chapter
7. Watching one episode of a TV show or a favorite movie
8. Playing a game
9. Calling a friend
10. Making a coffee
Whether you give yourself a small treat, a long awaited weekend get-away, or a simple, "Atta girl," praising yourself will help you feel more content and motivated. And with that, I am off to fetch a bowl of ice cream and soak in a nice warm tub. After all – I’ve just finished writing this article and a pat on the back does not seem like quite enough praise ;-).