I don’t know about you, but I have some terrible habits. One such habit is the fact that I downplay my own accomplishments. Friends will ask me how things are going with my writing and I’ll tell them but it always sounds negative. If I completed a project or performance but I didn’t get paid, I’ll demean the fact that I completed an objective. Last year I launched my debut poetry chapbook and the sales were decent. People ask how my book is doing and I'll say something to the effect of, “I sold this many books but my mom bought so many copies, so I really only sold this many.” The reality is, my friends didn’t ask for all of that, they just wanted to know how the book was doing! I can’t speak for anyone else but I feel like I belittle my wins out of a misdirected attempt to be honest.
I don’t want to be one of those people who always makes it sound like everything they are doing is golden, like they have the Midas touch. I don’t want to accidentally mislead anyone into believing I’m doing better than I really am. I’m learning healthier ways to communicate my goals and milestones in a healthy and non self deprecating way. We don’t have to make ourselves look small in order to remain humble.
My beliefs insist that I not think that I’m better than I really am, lest life find a way to humble me. I think a lot of us downplay how good things have been in order to not brag as well as not make others feel insecure. The problem is that we are not responsible for how others feel. Sometimes we go out of our way to explain things to those who are set on misunderstanding us. There are those who can twist facts and data to arrive at whatever foregone conclusion they’ve concocted. Those people aren’t worth expending energy on, those that you love and care for will have a better grasp on your heart and intentions because they know you.
We live in a culture of “more” and “now” making contentment seem like an antiquated way of living. Ambition is healthy, there is nothing wrong with setting goals and running after them. The problem comes when we arrive at those goals and instead of enjoying the moment, we’ve already headed on to the next goal. I want to walk the thin line between ambition and contentment without shrinking my accomplishments.
I am good at holding others in high esteem and applauding them but struggle to do so for myself. Do you struggle with this? I think it’s important for us to start clapping for ourselves, let’s start tooting our own horns. There is a way to applaud yourself and not downplay the efforts of others. It’s not one or the other, it’s both and. One thing I’m beginning to do in my personal life when something good happens but it’s not good enough in my eyes, is to recite a phrase to myself. When those self deprecating thoughts and comments come to mind I’ve been telling myself, “A win is a win.” I believe we can be so used to losing that we don’t know how to celebrate our wins. If we keep looking at our wins as losses, then that’s exactly what we will get. Those thoughts and flippant remarks will become self fulfilling prophecies taking us down directions we never meant to head toward.
Let’s check our thoughts and comments. Let’s learn to be honest and lean into positive thinking and speaking. We have to define what a win is for ourselves to rewire our brains and hearts. What comes out of our mouths comes from our hearts, the innermost secret thoughts we hold about others and ourselves. Things may not be going your way, but the fact you made it to January of this year is a win in itself. You are a winner, your time is coming, and things are turning around. Continuing to speak life to yourself out loud and speak it until you believe it. No matter how you grew up, you are here. A win is a win, never let anyone take that from you, not even yourself.
"For as he thinks in his heart, so is he"-Proverbs 23:7a