You have arrived! You are right where you need to be and I’m so happy for you. I’m excited that you made it. I am proud of you for getting this far in your journey and you should be proud of yourself too. Take a look behind you. Look at all you’ve been through, all the obstacles you have overcome. Look at all you have done. You made it to this point, and that is something to be proud of.
No matter what you might face ahead, no matter what’s on your path, I implore you to take a moment and love on yourself and give yourself a pat on the back right. You are alive and you have made it this far, so breathe and rejoice. Know that I am giving you a standing ovation right now.
We spend a lot of time hustling and grinding, trying to be better, do better, and pull ourselves up, out, and away from things that hold us down. How often do we stop and applaud the progress? For me, it was never. For a long time, I did not acknowledge my own accomplishments or personal growth. Yet, I would admonish others who followed suit. That is not an awesome way to live.
We praise babies and toddlers for every little thing they do independently, even the unsuccessful, almost first steps. I used to clap when my son fell on his little booty and cheer even louder when he got back up. Imagine how much we’d all thrive if we nurtured ourselves that way. Imagine being content with your failure and so excited that you continued to the point of throwing yourself a solo party.
Perspective is everything. I know, I know. I make that point a lot, but it is. I am guilty of having a screwed perspective when it comes to myself. While I am getting better, I tend to believe that anything not done well or as planned is a failure.
I have three assignments to help us commemorate this time in our lives. It will also pause negative self talk to hopefully, allow a shift in mindset.
Give yourself some praise. Stand in a mirror and clap, loud and proud. Blast some music (anything with the word champion or conqueror will do) and dance. Say a few affirmations. Make them specific and counter the negative self-talk. Shout out your accomplishments for the past week, even if your only accomplishment was getting out of bed.
Write a list of the things you’ve done that you are proud of. It does not have to be profound, and your list can be as long or short as it needs to be. Here’s the key, write whatever pops into your head. Even if you think it is silly. One thing on my list is the ability to (sometimes) kill spiders. When I was little, I did everything I could to avoid spiders and avoid killing them. Now, depending on the size and ick scale of the creature, I let out my Zena Warrior Princess yell, and squish it or spray it to death.
This assignment is a perspective check, it’s sort of pro/con list except you are writing down a list of persevered cons and finding the pros inherent in them. Fold a piece of paper in half or draw a line down the middle. The header on the left is “Negative,” and on the right is “Positive.” You can change them if you’d like. Full discourse, this can be really difficult at first. You can always start off small. Using the same example above, the left side of my paper would read, “Fear of spiders,” the right would say, “It’s kept me alive, and I can kill some if need be.”
The goal is not to rationalize vices and bad behavior, but to acknowledge progress and to demonstrate that somethings may not be as negative as they seemed in the moment. An example for me is I did not get a PhD. Given the obligations at the time, I could not even apply to a program. Back then, it was a huge blow to my plans, and it weighed on me for a long time as yet another derailment. Now, I view it as an excellent idea that wasn’t meant to be. Honestly, I laugh when people ask me if I’m going back to get my doctorate. Yet, I am sure I will get another opportunity to be part of a research team. It’s just a matter of when.
Too many times, we look for external validation. And when we get it, we still feel a void. That’s because the person who matters most is ignoring you. You need to validate yourself. You need to praise yourself and acknowledge how far you’ve come.
Give yourself a round of applause. Take a bow. You deserve it.