Today’s entry (September 14) in Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance is titled “Giving Yourself Credit.” She mentions the few among us who gladly celebrate their accomplishments with trophies on the mantel and framed awards on the walls. But many of us (like me) fail to celebrate our achievements. As she so cleverly notes, we’re like the bear that went over the mountain and saw another mountain. How can we celebrate when there’s yet another mountain to climb?
I grew up with the feeling of being “not good enough.” I know my parents loved me and wanted the best for me, but there were little reminders from them and the outside world that I could be better, be more, do more. With my dad in the Army, we moved every few years and I was always the new kid at school. I was horribly shy and struggled to make friends. I wanted to be popular but didn’t know how to climb out of my wallflower box. I was bright and made good grades but I rarely spoke up.
Instead of striving to be better and do more, I retreated. I felt unnoticed and unappreciated, which manifested in not knowing how to talk to people (other than my best friends). My dad tried to encourage me to do better by showing me his A+ report cards, but that reinforced the message that I couldn’t compare.
Fast forward to now and I have many things to be thankful for. I have a wonderful husband, good friends, a growing business, and a writing career. And even with all of these, there’s still that lack of confidence, that deeper feeling of “not good enough.”
Several weeks ago I launched my newest novel The Heart of Everything. Publishing a book is a long journey: 3 years of writing, months of editing, farming it out to Beta readers, finalizing the draft, creating the layout and cover, setting it up on Amazon, ordering proof copies, proofreading, and ultimately having the final copy in my hands. All of that happened before the book went live. The day of the launch a lovely woman on Facebook asked me what I was doing to celebrate and I replied, “Not much.” Celebrate? She suggested I grab a pizza and drink some wine and do a happy dance and indulge in chocolate (something like that). Part of me longed to do exactly that. Another part of me thought she was crazy. The journey was such a long process that I couldn’t conceive of celebrating. Plus, I don’t eat pizza, I don’t drink, I rarely eat chocolate, and doing a happy dance . . . well, okay, I stood up for a few seconds and threw my arms in the air and said, “Yay!”
In retrospect, that was incredibly sad. A book launch is a major undertaking and a major accomplishment. I’m so very proud of this latest book: it’s beautifully written, the story is fascinating, and it’s so inspiring. I should have celebrated it. But I wasn’t ready to own my extraordinary talent. I wasn’t ready to stand up and be me.
After reading the excerpt today from Simple Abundance, a spark fired. Cells glowed. A brilliance regenerated. And an awareness washed over me. I am great. I am wonderful. I am a crowning glory of super-humanness. We all are. We all have amazing talents and skills. We’re all uniquely creative in our own ways. Every one of us deserves to be celebrated.
So celebrate with me. Take stock of your achievements, your accomplishments, every little thing you do. Be proud of it. All of it matters. Lift that champagne glass (or wine, beer, fruit juice, herbal tea) and toast yourself. Give yourself credit for being you.
I’d love it if you share your accomplishments. Let’s be there for one another!