Jana Says

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31 Steps for Feeling Happier, Step 3: List your good qualities

happier blog buttonWhile yesterday’s challenge was rather unpleasant, it wasn’t really all that hard. Today’s challenge, however, is going to be hard. At least for me. Because today, we’re going to make a list. But not any list. We’re going to make a list of at least 5 of our good qualities.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re outstanding at picking out your flaws. And not just the physical flaws, either. The character ones, the mental ones, and the personality ones, too. I don’t pick myself apart because it’s fun, mind you. I pick myself apart because it’s just easier.

It’s easier to talk about what I do wrong or how there’s something wrong with my appearance. For instance, if we’re talking about hair and someone tells me that I have nice hair, my first instinct is to say something like “oh, it’s too long” or “it’s a mess today” instead of a simple “thank you”. The thing is, I know I have nice hair. I just don’t feel like I can admit to someone else.

I think it’s this way because when we talk about what we’re good at or something positive about our physical appearance, many people will perceive that as bragging. And no one wants to be perceived as a braggart. That’s probably one of the worst labels you can have, not only because of how negative it is but the fact that it comes with other negative companions. If someone determines you’re bragging then she will automatically assume that you’re insensitive, an asshole, full of yourself, and most likely, unpleasant. No one likes a show off, and if someone else thinks it, she might automatically dismiss you as a friend and gossip about you behind your back


If you are good at something and you admit that you’re good at it, is it really showing off? Or is love yourselfit simply stating the truth? The answer is most likely somewhere in between but for the purposes of this exercise, I’m going to tell that one simple fact:

It is perfectly acceptable to admit that you have good qualities. 

And the reason you need to admit all the things about your physical appearance or personality are not akin to a troll under a bridge is simply due to the fact that once you start acknowledging your good qualities, it’s easier to start feeling better about yourself and start improving your self-esteem. You can look at the list and think “you know what, I’m not so bad. I’m a good person. And I’m not totally hideous either. In fact, I can even go out in public without makeup.”

Seriously. It’s true.

Once you get through this exercise (and its cousins that are coming later in the month), you’ll have a tangible foundation for making yourself happier. You’ll be able to look at these lists and remind yourself that you’re not so bad. You aren’t ugly. You are a good person. You can do things. You are not as worthless as you think.

A final note: you do not have to share your list with anyone. If it’s easier to complete this task in private, then feel free to do so. It’s just important that you do create a list. And make sure it has a minimum of 5 points, and make sure it has a balance between your personality and your appearance (we’re going to talk about strengths and abilities another day).

I know I’m going to struggle with this list. I’m great at acknowledging what’s good about me as a person but my appearance? Not so much. But I’m going to dig deep and figure a few things out. I hope you will, too.



  1. Tonya

    I know what you mean in that there is a fine line with really knowing and accepting everything about yourself, including the good/great things and still coming off as humble versus sounding stuck up. I have a much easier time coming up with personality things than looks things. I have a very hard time accepting my looks for some reason, mainly because I was made fun of A LOT growing up, and I think my lack of dating record (especially in the last five years) have made me feel kind of ugly. OK maybe not ugly, but not pretty or young. And I’ve really hated seeing myself in pics in the last several years because I see myself now as older (if you see pics of me online most have been photoshopped). So this will be challenging for me as well.
    Tonya recently posted…September Challenge Recap: Lovin’ the Lip Gloss?My Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      I am the same way. I can come up with a dozen parts of my personality that I like but my appearance is another story. Particularly since I’ve had my daughter. Being pregnant has made my body image so much worse.

  2. Jenniemarie @ Another Housewife

    Darn you Jana! If there is one thing I am not, it is a braggart (I will use this word repeatedly today and I thank you!) My husband tells me I need to practice using the words Thank You more often. For the life of me I can NOT accept a compliment. This will be even harder than the cleaning but challenge accepted!
    Jenniemarie @ Another Housewife recently posted…Must Make Apple PieMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      I CANNOT accept compliments. It’s terrible. And when I get one, I automatically think the person giving it is either lying, being sarcastic, or has an agenda. I’m really working on it.

  3. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    It is always infinitely easier to talk about what’s wrong about a situation or ourselves than it is to talk about the good. There is a commiseration that is left out when we’re tooting our own horns. I try to make a point to toot mine a lot.

    Except today. We are on opposite wave lengths. LOL
    SMD @ Life According to Steph recently posted…Thursday Thoughts: 10 Things I Hate About You – I mean me.My Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      I need to learn to toot mine. It’s so hard for me, and always has been (as you probably remember). I need a crash course on horn tooting.

  4. shanendoah@the dog ate my wallet

    My dogs love me, does that count?
    shanendoah@the dog ate my wallet recently posted…Peer to Peer Lending – 2013 Annual Prosper ReportMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      Normally, yes. But today, no. You need to love you, too. And list why 🙂

  5. Tia Piccolo

    That was DIFFICULT. But I did it, and I honestly feel better. THANK YOU. XO

  6. Pingback: 31 Steps for Feeling Happier, Steps 15-20: Planning ahead |

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