All too often people who’ve accomplished some achievement feel the glow of success, but do not discuss it or share their excitement in the moment. They’ve been taught that talking about their own success, or good deeds, or a job well done, is egotistical and self-serving.
This is a real problem for anyone looking to build and maintain their self-esteem (in other words, all of us!). Because without explicit recognition outside ourselves, these wonderful, happy and proud moments of goal realization are soon forgotten. They slip quietly into the recesses of our minds, minimized and hidden. What a disservice to ourselves, and a missed opportunity!
Why do we do this? Why don’t we shout our successes from the nearest rooftop, and start our conversations with loved ones by telling them what great things we’re accomplishing?
Old lessons and beliefs play a large part in how people handle self-acknowledgment in their lives. If you were taught that telling people how proud you were of something you did would “give you a swelled head” or “look like you’re bragging,” and your society looks down on that sort of behavior, then it’s no surprise that as an adult, sharing your successes may still carry negative connotations!
Those warnings were delivered to most of us with a heavy dose of disapproval, and we paid attention! If you don’t want to be kicked out of the clan, better keep in step with what’s ok and what’s not, right?
However, we don’t have to choose to have those strict rules stifle us as adults, especially now that we know that a healthy amount of self-esteem is really important to happiness and success.
If you allow yourself to see that sharing your proud, successful moments is not about boasting but about letting others see who you truly are, and to recognize that who you are is enough, then the whole picture changes.
Thank Goodness There’s A Different Standard When We’re Young!
We compliment babies frequently, even though they don’t even know what we’re saying and haven’t actually done anything in life yet, besides being born and looking adorable.
We compliment children for ALL of their achievements, and shower them with praise for even the smallest of tasks. We all see children bask in the “light of our praise”, and we enjoy watching them continue to grow and thrive. Most people can remember seeing their work put up on the refrigerators, holding a place of honor. Many parents today continue with this tradition, to let their children know that they are proud of the work their children do and want everyone to know it.
So most of us know what it feels like to receive recognition and praise, and the joy of being in the spotlight for doing something well.
When does this change? What stops us from appreciating the small, but meaningful acts? When do we learn to stop acknowledging our pride in our work, acts, or deeds? When do we stop feeling openly comfortable hearing our praises out loud?
Do you have someone with whom you share your good feelings about yourself? If not, now would be a perfect time to choose some friends and/or family members with whom you can be “self-acknowledgment buddies.” You can share openly with them every accomplishment, large and small, and know that they will cheer you on. In return you would give them the gift of your enthusiastic praise for their achievements as well.
It’s all about being willing to be seen, heard and celebrated. Today and going forward, let’s practice living as Marianne Williamson encourages us to in her famous message:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Whether or not you already have a “self-acknowledgment buddy” in your corner, I highly encourage you to share your celebrations with me! With your permission, I will include it in some celebratory community accomplishment posts over the next few weeks (using first names only, upon request), so that we can all share in each other’s celebrations of who we are in the world.
After all the more we celebrate, the more we will find to celebrate…. Ready to take on this challenge? Great – because I’m ready to celebrate with you all!