9 Days ’til 40: I Am My Own Cheerleader

12 Feb



Okay, so maybe I am not – but I should be.  This is a concept that has been more clearly solidified for me during my past year of blogging.  External encouragement feels great, but it is the internal motivation and self-encouragement and self-inspiration that are critical to life’s journey.

Fall seven times, stand up eight. ~ Japanese Proverb

Instead of giving myself reasons why I can’t, I give myself reasons why I can. ~ Author Unknown

Too often than not we as human being succumb to a rather common, but highly detrimental phenomenon.  We engage in the practice of being our own harshest critic and worst enemy.  We are ready to tear ourselves apart at a moment’s notice.

Years ago I was training a group of peer counselors at a university.  We were in the midst of the sessions where students get to know one another and develop trust by sharing with each other on a variety of different levels.  I had the students break into pairs and their first assignment was to tell their partner all of the qualities they liked in themselves.  I gave them five minutes – after about thirty seconds there was a very painful silence.  I would not let them “stop” early – so they had to either say positive things about themselves, or they had to sit in silence.  It was a very quiet room.  The second part of this exercise, predictably, was then telling their partner all of the qualities they did NOT like in themselves.  I gave them the same five minutes.  The room erupted with talking and noise.  I could barely hear myself think.  At the end of the five minutes, many pairs were still talking and wanted more time.

Isn’t this terribly sad?  Yet, I am sure we can all relate.

WHY is it that we have no problem ripping ourselves to smithereens, but heaven help us if we are actually called upon to find something we like and appreciate about ourselves?

Wow, we have it ALL WRONG!

Imagine if, instead of tearing ourselves apart, we worked harder to build ourselves and each other up?  Imagine if our complaints re: our colleagues were replaced with compliments.  Imagine if our negativity was replaced with optimism.  How would that change our interactions with the world we live in?  How would that change our outlook and our satisfaction with life?

Today, 9 days ’til 40, I remind myself that I need to believe in myself before I can ask or expect others to believe in me.  As I believe in myself, I also model healthy behaviors and help those around me understand that it is indeed okay to understand our strengths and weaknesses and work to compliment and cater to our strengths.



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42 responses to “9 Days ’til 40: I Am My Own Cheerleader

  1. Toniandrukaitis

    February 12, 2013 at 00:03

    Great insight.

  2. viveka

    February 12, 2013 at 00:18

    We have to be our own cheerleader at times, we have to blow our own horn – because I don’t think we really appreciate ourselves as we should. We, most of the time think very small about ourselves, what we achieve and what we do and stand for. Only 9 days to go .. I loved to be 40 and if there comes a fairy and ask me what my wish is.
    Will I answer her that I want my 30th body back, be 40 and have my 65 years life experience.

  3. behindthemaskofabuse

    February 12, 2013 at 00:25

    i’m amazing and you’re amazing, and you’ll still be amazing when you turn 40 in 9 days 😉

  4. gretchenfogelstrom

    February 12, 2013 at 00:44

    Here Here! If you need more inspiration – try reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin – all about making life even better.

  5. elainemanders

    February 12, 2013 at 01:17

    Good post. Being something of a perfectionist, I can relate. We must accept that we’ll never be perfect in this life, but have some good qualities nonetheless.

  6. walkwiththerabbi

    February 12, 2013 at 01:27

    Two thoughts – Building a foundation of encouragement and confidence in the hearts and minds of our children based on their experiences as early as practical, can reap wonderful rewards later on (as a man or woman thinks in their heart, so they are) and a misapplied understanding of religious script, reinforced by parents and respected members of the clergy, can have a sub-conscious deleterious impact on us as we grow and mature.

  7. Tess Ross

    February 12, 2013 at 07:58

    You haven’t got long to go now until you are 40! Have you managed to figure any of it out yet? Still, the fun is in trying isn’t it? Good luck. After completing my 366 days of blogging in 2012 I felt elated when I finished. Hope you do too. Love Tess

    • 400daystil40

      February 12, 2013 at 22:42

      I am definitely still figuring it out, but the journey is good!

      • Tess Ross

        February 13, 2013 at 08:54

        Great! As long as you are enjoying the Journey.

  8. Anonymous

    February 12, 2013 at 09:06

    Could the reason for our constant motivational self-destruction is the cultural training we get to never brag, to never let others know that we are better than they are. It is funny that you placed a Japanese proverb, because there is another saying that states that “the thumb that sticks out, gets hammered down,” which encourages you to conform, make yourself equal to or lesser than others. Living and working in Japan I have seen others compete to be less than average.
    But you are absolutely correct, we should and must elevate our selves more, emotionally, mentally, motivationally. I try to accomplish this, by simply saying that if I am not happy, I cannot make others happy, if I am not satisfied, I cannot satisfy others, and if I am not capable, then I cannot enable or help others. A bit selfish, but in the long run, everyone wins.

    • 400daystil40

      February 12, 2013 at 22:41

      Yes, this is a very interesting concept/ reality that you bring up – particularly in light of the cultural context that you live in….

  9. Spider42

    February 12, 2013 at 11:36

    While I agree with you in principle, too often I think the positive things about oneself can be perceived as bragging or such which is societally frowned upon (at least in general theory) and braggarts are looked at as not likable so I’m not surprised people hesitated.

    • 400daystil40

      February 12, 2013 at 22:40

      Good point… we need to find some balance there and let people know that it is indeed okay for them to talk about themselves! 🙂

  10. beverlydyer

    February 12, 2013 at 15:44

    This is so important. Easy to be judgmental and takes training our mind to catch those thoughts and reframe. The practice of yoga helps me.

    • 400daystil40

      February 12, 2013 at 22:40

      Great point about the need to retrain our mind!

  11. Heather

    February 12, 2013 at 15:55

    THIS…is a great post!!! I see so much of what you say in people I know/meet…as well as many of the blogs I visit! Admittedly I’m as guilty as the next person on occasion…in many ways it goes back to “negativity begets negativity”…we have to work at being more mindful of being part of a positive world…

    • 400daystil40

      February 12, 2013 at 22:39

      Thanks, Heather – yes, this is something we all can use a reminder about!

  12. Grass Oil by Molly Field

    February 12, 2013 at 20:09

    Hell yes. We must be our own cheerleaders. I love this post and I appreciate you swinging by my pad, so to speak. 😉

  13. Katie

    February 12, 2013 at 21:09

    Hi! Thanks for stopping by and liking my post today.

    Is it strange that your post is kind of a reply to mine? Haha. Thanks for the reminder to believe in myself, and not to have so much self-doubt.

    Nine more days…I hope you’re having a big, fun party! =)

    • 400daystil40

      February 12, 2013 at 22:37

      hehehe – that was good timing, wasn’t it? I love it when things like that happen! 🙂

  14. kjwinston

    February 12, 2013 at 21:09

    I enjoy this blog so much – read more than I comment – and I have to say if you are this honest with yourself, probing, analytical at 39 you are going to be a fabulous 40! Continue to apply your willingness to question and explore for the rest of your life and it will be a great one (I can say that because I am older than you).

    • 400daystil40

      February 12, 2013 at 22:36

      Thank you so much for your wonderful words of encouragement! 🙂

  15. erinluong

    February 12, 2013 at 21:22

    So true… I feel inspired thanks

  16. Ivana

    February 12, 2013 at 23:15

    Great post! I needed something like this today. 🙂

  17. Another Thousand Words

    February 13, 2013 at 04:49

    Excellent , informative post, 400…I’m really going to miss these ‘everyday helping hints’!

  18. thelastsongiheard

    February 13, 2013 at 05:44

    Wow, that’s a fascinating exercise… reading your post made me think of this song, a favourite of mine since I was a teenager 🙂

    • 400daystil40

      February 13, 2013 at 22:54

      Thank you so much for posting this!

  19. Cheryl Marie

    February 13, 2013 at 16:11

    Good post – it is a great reminder for us all! Similar to looking at ourselves as half-full rather than half-empty. 🙂


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