Guess what? It's okay to have some positive thoughts about yourself.
Many of us were raised in intellectual households, where if you couldn't prove your point, well, you were just being delusional. I'm asking you to be a little delusional. You may be reluctant to think nice thoughts about yourself. I understand. You may feel that your negative thoughts "keep you in line" and you don't want to "get a big head."
Darling, you will not get a big head. I promise.
EXERCISE: TEN NICE THINGS
Step 1. Write Down Ten Successes, Wins, or Blessings from the Past Year.
Grab a pen and write down ten good things that have happened in the past twelve months. It's time to give those chattering critical voices in your head a rest. It's time to change the tape. It's time to accentuate the positive.
If it doesn't work, no worries -- you can always go back to thinking negatively any time you'd like.
("I paid off all my credit cards" or "I learned how to cook a perfect roast chicken"), things that happened to you ("My cousin gave me that wonderful birthday present" or "I got asked to perform the solo"), things that happened around you ("There is some jasmine growing right next to my bedroom window, and it smells heavenly" or "Those noisy neighbors finally moved away") or (most likely) some combination of the above.
Don't have a contest with yourself about the "best" things that happened to you; just list some things that, when you reread the list, make you nod and smile to yourself and think, "Yep. That's pretty good."
Step 2. Write Down Ten Nice Things about Yourself
Now make a list of ten nice things about you. They may be nice qualities that you were born with, like your quick mind and your lovely eyes. They may be nice skills you've learned, like your gorgeous gardening skills and your ability to run a mile without losing your breath.
Or maybe they're things other people appreciate about you, like what a safe and courteous driver you are, and how you always remember everyone's birthday. Push yourself to come up with ten.
After all, the assignment is not to write down ten extraordinary things about you, or ten things that no one else in the world has ever done -- just ten nice things that, again, you can look at and say, "Yep. That's pretty good."