By Steven Berry
3 March 2022
We’ve recently had Valentine’s Day, and just around the corner on 20 March is #InternationalDayofHappiness with its theme #BuildBackHappier – so what better time than now to think about how we can learn to love ourselves!
When we think about love and happiness, often we focus on the other people in our lives. We buy Valentine’s cards for the ones we love. We focus on spending quality time with those who mean the most to us. Having these positive relationships certainly boosts our wellbeing and happiness. But often, we can miss a trick by forgetting to hold a mirror up to ourselves and ask,
‘What do I love about myself?’
It can be all too easy to focus on the mistakes we’ve made, the areas in which we need to develop, or the aspects of ourselves that we wish were different.
For example, one day last week I felt under pressure, trying to spin too many plates at work. It meant that I took my eye off the ball when preparing for an important virtual meeting with a group of senior leaders. As a result, I shared the wrong version of my slide deck, which led to some confusion and personal embarrassment! In the past, I’d have dwelled upon my mistake and worried about everyone’s opinion of me. Instead, I felt the embarrassment, but then I let it go.
We need to accept that we are all human and prone to make mistakes. Equally, there will be things we’re not so good at. But chances are others around us, in our teams, our organisations or our broader social networks will have those skills and if we ask, they will be willing to help us to develop in those areas.
We all have a unique combination of quirks, skills, and strengths that will result in personal achievement and success – if we recognise and harness them in the right way.
For me, I’ve come to understand how important it is to regularly take the time to look inwardly and reflect on my strengths and achievements.
When I reflect back on my not-so-good day last week, I know that I worked collaboratively with a group of colleagues to deliver an important workshop that received excellent feedback. I had a successful 1:2:1 session with a team member to set stretch goals. And, I had a productive meeting with a group of senior leaders (despite my initial mistake!).
As HR, OD and L&D practitioners, our work is focused on our relationships with others; we aim to help our colleagues be the best version of themselves at work. Perhaps we should spend more time understanding how to be the best version of ourselves wherever we are. In my opinion, it’s about accepting our quirks and harnessing our strengths. It’s about learning to love ourselves.