If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know that I talked about people not giving themselves enough credit and constantly undermining their own efforts. I really don’t understand why we are told, from a very young age, that what we have done isn’t ‘enough’.
Who decides what ‘enough’ is, anyway? And who decides that it only ends when we have climbed to the top-most rung of whatever ladder it is that we are climbing? Why do we keep telling ourselves that what we have done isn’t really all that worthy of being applauded?
Is it because we aren’t confident of our own abilities? Is it because we are ambitious enough to want more? Is it, maybe, because we have been told that the small wins don’t really matter and that they’re ‘not significant enough’ to be celebrated?
And most importantly, are we being too hard on ourselves and not letting ourselves live and revel in the joys of the present because we spend all our time working ourselves to exhaustion just so that we can prove to, well, nobody in particular, that we can make it?
Whatever the reason may be, I feel as though we have forgotten what progress is supposed to be. As though, in our search for the bigger picture, we have forgotten what the finer details feel like. As though, on our trek to the peak of whatever treacherous mountain, we have forgotten to stop and admire the beauty we’re surrounded with.
When I look back and think about everything I have achieved, I feel as though I could have handled my little victories a little better. Maybe I should have applauded myself for doing something that is, admittedly, very difficult. Maybe I should have been kinder to myself when I achieved things that may not have been as big as everyone else’s achievements, but not entirely as insignificant as I told myself they were.
At the age of 14, after several attempts, one of my poems was published in the newspaper. My English teacher kept pushing me to submit my poetry because she thought I was doing really well and I eventually did. But when my poem was published in the newspaper, I told myself that it wasn’t such a big deal and that it’s not something I should be proud of or celebrate. And, now, 9 years later, I find myself wishing I hadn’t been so harsh on myself then because, now that I think about it, it really was a big deal. And if only I had been a little kinder to myself back then, I think I would have been a lot more confident about my writing skills.
Even now, every time I cross a milestone of another 100 days of writing on my blog, I tell myself that it isn’t a big deal. There are people who write every single day and they don’t think it’s a big deal at all. But let me tell you w
It’s not about whether there are people out there who have done much better than you have, at your age. It’s about you giving yourself the space to grow and telling yourself that whatever steps you’ve taken so far matter. It’s about telling yourself that you matter. That your progress matters. If we just keep telling ourselves that what we have achieved isn’t a really big deal, I can assure you that your progress isn’t going to feel like it, either.
And while we’re still on this topic, let me remind you how important it is to surround yourself with people who celebrate your wins, whether they’re small or otherwise, and not let people who tell you that your achievement is insignificant get to your head. Don’t let people who tell you that you don’t stand a chance get to you. After all, who can track your progress better than you?
Of course you should be proud of your first batch of brownies that came out a little lumpier than you might have preferred but taste great all the same. You should be proud of making it to the quarter-finals, or the semi-finals, even if you couldn’t actually win. You should be proud of every little bit of progress you’ve ever made, no matter what it was. You should be proud of yourself for getting over your social anxiety enough to make a phone call and book an appointment. You should give yourself a pat on the back for knowing what you want and actually working for it.
The world we live in, it’s so competitive. Whatever you can do, someone else can do better and faster than you. Here’s where we need to realize that we build this sense of unhealthy competition in our heads where we compare ourselves to others, maybe, a little too much. It’s good to be ambitious and it’s great to want to be better than you are right now. But you cannot let the fact that somebody else is doing better than you are hold you back or leave you feeling like what you do is insignificant
You’re not insignificant and your achievements matter. So much.
At no point should you ever be made to feel as though what you’ve done isn’t enough. We’re all doing the best we can given the circumstances. We are all allowed to feel particularly unmotivated on certain days because it’s not possible to not let things get to you, sometimes. We are all human and we feel things, some of us more strongly than the others. But we are all very valid for that.
Celebrate your achievements, your first steps, your second steps, your nth steps, your victories, your near-victories, your good days and the lessons you’ve learnt along the way. Be proud of yourself when something you’ve been working on for a really long time comes together. Treat yourself to something nice on a job well done. Let yourself feel. Tell yourself that you are proud of whatever you’ve achieved, every single time you achieve something.
And most importantly, never tell yourself that something you did wasn’t significant enough.
Believe in yourself. I believe in you. You’ve got this!