The Recognising Positive Qualities Tool

When we are not feeling confident we often think of all the things that we don’t like about ourselves. It seems to be so easy to come up with a list of negative things about ourselves, but now we want you to take some time to think about the things you do like. This may feel very difficult and alien to you, but it is very important. We want you to recognise the whole you. Focus on what you are proud of, your qualities and your achievements. You may also have overcome physical and mental challenges relating to your condition, mark or scar and this brings its own strength and achievements.

“Remaining positive… is the best path to take”: I have found remaining positive challenging at times but can honestly say it is the best path to take. My disfigurement has made me feel inferior, unloved, inadequate at times and it is difficult to replace these feelings with positive ones particularly if you’ve had negative experiences. Over the years I have also learnt that my disfigurement is a small physical part of me so I make sure that when I go out I take care with the rest of my appearance. I make sure my hair looks nice, that my clothes are presentable and I wear accessories. I find a pretty scarf or a chunky necklace distracts attention from my face.


My Positive Qualities

Think about your positive qualities and make a list of these. Try to list at least five qualities – and then give examples of your positive quality ‘in action’, to reaffirm these. You may struggle a bit at first, but we all have positive qualities.

As an example, you may write down, ‘I am kind.’. Then to demonstrate this, you may say, ‘Last week, I listened to a friend who was having a difficult time.’ Or, ‘I am good at my job.’ – ‘I recently wrote an important document on time, which was well received.’

If you find this task difficult, try asking a friend or family member what they think. Often we find it challenging to be positive about ourselves, but others will come up with things straight away. And you don’t have to think of everything at once, so you might want to come back and add to this list later. Keep adding to it as you think of things.

My achievements

Next let’s think about your achievements. What have you done that you have been really pleased with. Try and focus on your personal achievements – these can be anything, such as:

  • I volunteered for a good cause
  • I have eaten healthily this week
  • I have stuck to my exercise plan this week
  • I met my deadline at work even though I was tired
  • Went to the supermarket even though I felt anxious about going
  • I helped my kids with their homework even though I wasn’t feeling my best

Again, you might want to ask others what they think you have achieved. You can come back to this list and keep adding to it.

Keeping these lists will allow you to spend some time focusing on your positive personal qualities and your achievements. It might help to put some of these on post it notes and stick them around the house so you are reminded that you are so much more than those nagging, annoying negative thoughts!

You might also like to look at the Managing negative thoughts tool

Managing negative thoughts


Appearance and self-esteem


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