Why? Because if you don’t, who will?

Finally, one dark day in my shiny Santa Monica apartment, after the honors bachelor’s degree from a prestigious university, magazine articles, best-selling yoga dvds, a Master’s degree (received in part to keep up with my sisters), a 120-page thesis, years of romping around the world teaching popular yoga classes and sold out retreats, I realized NONE of it mattered if I didn’t stop to celebrate my successes.

Cliché, I know, but I finally “got it!”

It didn’t matter what kudos I got from the outside world (mom, dad, boyfriend, colleagues) if I didn’t learn to acknowledge and praise all my hard work, efforts, sincere capabilities, and successes. I would end up spiraling downward in a hamster wheel of emptiness and “not-enoughness.”

It really is all up to me. Oh yeah, in the end, all you have is yourself. (Not to sound morose.)

Do you give yourself permission to be happy with a job well done? Do you let yourself feel proud of your accomplishments and hard work, or do you simply race to the next item on your to-do list?

What’s the point of all those items on your checklist if there is no acknowledgement for accomplishing them?

Children’s self-esteem is built from their parents (or caregivers) reflecting back onto their children their value. Known as “mirroring,” when parents reflect a child’s goodness, tell them they did a good job, compliment, uplift, and encourage them, children internalize this perception and become confident in their abilities. They get to know their worth.

Somehow, as adults, we forget that part of growing up is becoming our own parents. To foster this positive sense of Self, we must learn to encourage, support, and mirror back to ourselves our goodness and success.

Unfortunately, the mind tends toward the negative. This is simply the nature of the mental body: critical, analytical, and judging. The job of the “thinking mind” is to feel itself in action, to focus on what else it can do, to solve the next problem—To Do.

This means we have to retrain the muscle of the mind and chisel it into positive form. In other words, we teach ourselves (out of habit) the skill of being happy, positive, and focused on our goodness, value, and success.

Take the Challenge to Celebrate Your Successes!

Every little thing that happens today, acknowledge your success. If you promised yourself you were going to work out or pay your bills and you did, celebrate your victory. Any compliment you receive, take a moment to let it land in your body. Feel the sensations of pride and appreciation. Congratulate yourself.

When I get done running, doing Pilates, or meditating, I literally catch my eye in the mirror and say out loud: “Good Job! You did it! I’m so proud of you.” (Gold stars are important!)

The best way to flip the switch in your mind is right before you go to sleep at night. Train yourself to review your day and focus on your successes instead of worrying about everything you wish was different. Flex the muscle of positive thinking in your mind by reinforcing each daily victory.

Acknowledge yourself, your efforts, and all the good you do. Then, feel in your body the sensations of satisfaction and contentment.

How does it feel to acknowledge what you’ve accomplished? If you celebrate your successes with unabashed glee, what tools can you offer others?

I’m here, throwing a virtual party for all we’ve accomplished!

Please leave one comment below with what you are proud of yourself for TODAY!

I’m proud of you (and me)!

Elevating personal growth as a lifestyle, Ashley Turner, M.A., brings a fresh approach to yoga as a modern-day psychotherapist with a soulful bent on celebrating the body’s wisdom and inner spirit. Ashley is the co-author of Aroma Yoga®: Using Essential Oils in Yoga + Life and creator of four best-selling yoga DVDs. She leads monthly, weekend retreats at Montage in Laguna Beach, CA, as well as retreats and workshops around the globe. For more on her and her events, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Join Ashley: YOGA TANGO RETREAT in Buenos Aires, ArgentinaOct 28 – Nov. 2 and URBAN PRIESTESS – Empowering the Feminine at Kripalu in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, Nov 23  25.

*Photo by Taylor Dawn Fortune.