I wrote a blog post a while back entitled – This is a Compliment. Please Take It! In this post, I noted that many women have a difficult time accepting compliments, and provided a few tips on how to take the compliment challenge.

Sometimes, though, it’s not just about a compliment and the act of receiving it well (or not!). We often, myself included, fail to see the gifts we have to offer the world.

The Beauty Within

I confess that I like watching Sex in the City re-runs, especially after everyone else is in bed and I can enjoy a little time to myself. Recently, E! showed one of my favorite episodes – the one where Carrie Bradshaw  is asked to participate in a fashion show, to model on behalf of all the “real people.” She debates about whether or not to accept the invitation, because she doesn’t see herself as a model. Then Stanford convinces her otherwise by saying something to the tune of, “You don’t realize how gorgeous you are.”

The episode’s mantra:

Why do others see the beauty we fail to see in ourselves?

The irony of this particular show is that Carrie garners the courage to step out onto the runway, but trips and falls flat on her face almost immediately.

Eventually she picks herself back up again. Like all of us “real people” do.

Hiccups and Missteps

As depicted on television, sometimes we need a nudge from a friend or family member to remind us of our self-worth or positive attributes. But why do we lose sight of these in the first place?

Have we had too many runway falls or missteps along the way? Are we motivated by a perfection that doesn’t actually exist? Or do we become so focused on weakness and imperfections that it’s tough to see beyond?

I, for one, am guilty of the latter. When I used to get performance reviews at work, I skimmed over all the wonderful comments to hone in on the one area I needed to improve upon. When I get feedback about my book, I glaze over all the compliments and obsess over the one person who tells me about the typo on page 43. When I have just completed a successful brand workshop for a client, I can’t let go of the one thing I “just know” I could have done better.

Pick Me Up Again

In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with leaning on others for some extra courage or a simple pick-me-up, especially when we’re breaking out of our comfort zone or facing usual life barriers. Here are a few tips for seeking the beauty within, for those of us who often feel blind-folded:

  1. Go out on a Limb. It’s always hard to try something for the first time, or even the second or third all depending. But if you never try, you never know just how good you might be at something – whether it’s mountain biking or public speaking.
  2. Don’t be afraid to fail. We all do, and it doesn’t mean were any less or qualified or talented or special. Like Papelbon said last week after the Red Sox loss, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger people.”
  3. Get 360 feedback. We’re not all in a position to get regular performance reviews, but sometimes it’s nice to reach out to colleagues or former employees/bosses for feedback. Ask them to tell you the ways in which you made the workplace a better place. I have done this as a Mastermind group exercise, and sometimes the feedback will amaze.
  4. Seek a friendly reminder. I also find it valuable to ask friends to provide their thoughts and opinions, but within the context of attributes you offer the world to make it a better place. Sometimes their words can shed light on passions you didn’t know existed.
  5. Have a little faithSaturday Night Live poked fun at this self-help concept years ago with “Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley.” But it can be helpful to look at yourself in the mirror, either figuratively or literally, and say, “You’re Good Enough, You’re Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like You!” Though you should tailor the mantra a bit to make it your own, affirmations can remind you of talents you may have forgotten.

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