Can you answer that question quickly and with a nice long list? If you can’t you’re not alone. So many people really struggle with this question. If I asked you the question "What do you dislike about yourself?" Would the answers flow freely and make a long list? If so, again, you have lots of company.

What got me thinking about this topic again was our monthly full moon gathering. We each were asked to bring to the circle a list of 2-3 things we love about ourselves and 1-2 qualities we would really like to focus on shifting for the better (aka things we don’t like as much or wish we were better at). When we met, we each got to share and talk about our list and light a candle to hold these intentions.

Once again I got to experience firsthand the power of watching wonderful people struggle so much to acknowledge things they love about themselves while quickly jumping right to the "don’t like/need to improve" list. I have seen it so many times -- as a participant and assistant at Debbie Ford’s Shadow Process, in my clients, my friends, and definitely myself.

What fascinates me is how when one person speaks in the group and struggles with finding qualities she loves about herself, the others present can so quickly name those qualities. "You are compassionate! You are a passionate woman! You are so giving and charitable! You are creative and talented! You are loving!" The positive qualities just flow effortlessly from the group. Yet, the minute the question gets turned back on us, we freeze like deer in the headlights, mutter a bit, turn our gaze downward, and say "um, hmmm, I don’t know". Almost as if saying "Well, I don’t really have any positive qualities that I acknowledge myself for or that I like or that I think matter enough."

What’s up with that!? And I have to say while this time I was able to quickly say that I love my sense of humor, compassion, and ability to love, if someone asked me to claim some other positive qualities that I don’t see or embrace in myself (but easily see in others), I’d shy right away.

In my training as an Integrative Coach I learned a lot about what we call light shadows -- those positive aspects of ourselves that we don’t notice or don’t fully embrace. One of the biggest clues to finding out what some of your light shadows are is to do the following exercise:

On a piece of paper write down the names of 3 people you admire. They can be famous people, friends, family, whomever (and they don’t even have to still be living). Now list what qualities about them that you admire. Qualities are things such as courage, authenticity, compassion, etc. Not "they have lots of money". That’s an external thing that has nothing to do with WHO you (or they) are. Now you might say something like "keen businessperson" and that would qualify as a quality because it is about WHO that person is. Stop reading and do the list right now.

Now -- do you see all those qualities? Those are qualities you already have and possess that you need to embrace in yourself. Now, maybe those qualities aren’t activated as much in you (yet) as they are in this other person, but you possess them and the first step toward making them flourish more in your life is to honor, acknowledge, and embrace the fact that they are a part of you.

You see, if we think "we’re not that" we deny who we really are and what gifts we have to offer the world. And, we all have unique gifts the world desperately needs that only we can deliver. Don’t shortchange yourself, those you love, and the world at large.

Embracing our light is a huge piece in becoming our own best friend and living powerfully in the world at our highest potential. So, start right where you are today and start embracing just one thing you love about yourself. And, if you need a little encouragement, find a supportive friend or community to help you do it.

Author's Bio: 

Paula Gregorowicz, The Paula G Company, helps women cultivate the confidence they need to uplevel their life and business and succeed on their own terms. Learn "5 Steps to Move from Fear to Freedom & Experience Greater Confidence" (free) at