I have had conversations with clients in past weeks where a sense of self-pride showed up . . . and then was semi-quickly questioned or felt a little squirmy. I get it. We look to, deserve, and hope that others will say they are proud of us, that they see us, that they are thrilled by all that we’re doing and all of who we are. But to acknowledge it in and of ourselves? Yeah. It feels kind of odd and unfamiliar.

What if it wasn’t?

Think of an infant who begins to smile. We lather on the praise! When they reach for something or say a first word or take those tentative first steps? We cheer and take pictures and fawn all over them. Understandably! But at some point that slows, even stops. At some point in our own story, others’ enthusiasm started to wane.

In the absence of consistent and celebratory praise doubt begins to creep in. We start to wonder what we’ve done wrong, why the people in our world aren’t responding to us like they once did. Our sense of self begins to shift, dependent almost exclusively upon external stimuli; how we feel about ourselves is determined by others’ expressed feelings — or lack thereof.

Yes, over time, we mature and grow. We don’t depend on others’ oohs and aahs the way we once did. We learn to read cues and body language. And if we’re emotionally healthy, we self-soothe; we affirm ourselves. But something is lost, even damaged along the way when we stop receiving, even expecting praise. Because we deserve it!

Here’s my point in all this:

You deserve to be blatantly and boldly proud of yourself.

What runs through your mind, your heart, even your body when you read these words? When you hear me encourage (even insist) that you state them, repeat them, believe them?

Your spontaneous answer? The one that immediately sits at the tip of your tongue? It matters. What IS that resistance? What is that niggling voice nattering on about? (It would be super-helpful to write it all down…) THAT voice? The one that tells you that being proud of yourself is arrogant or egoic or nonsense or ridiculous or a waste of time or impossible? Uh…it is NOT telling you the truth. Lies. From. The. Pit. Of. Hell.

You deserve to be blatantly and boldly proud of yourself.

Listen closer. What does the deeper voice within you have to say? What is underneath all the chatter — where wisdom, courage, and hope live? What do you actually hear that allows and invites you to feel proud of who you are and all that you do?

You deserve to be blatantly and boldly proud of yourself.

Now, take a deep breath. What do you feel when you give yourself permission to float and soak and revel in just how praise-worthy and incredible you are? Think of all you have learned and let go of and said “no” to. Think of all you have invited and allowed and said “yes” to. Ahhhh. Yes. That. You! What if every evening for the next week (let’s start small, shall we?) you took just a few minutes before going to sleep to write down all the things you are proud of in the day just completed? From the minutiae to the mammoth. Some examples:

  • I got up before my alarm went off. I’m so proud of myself!
  • I made the bed. I’m so proud of myself!
  • I only drank two cups of coffee. I’m so proud of myself!
  • I didn’t eat the leftover pizza for breakfast. I’m so proud of myself!
  • I did some amazing writing today. I’m so proud of myself!
  • I drank lots of water. I’m so proud of myself!
  • I didn’t lose my temper with my kids. I’m so proud of myself!
  • I told my kids how proud I was of them. I’m so proud of myself!
  • I called _____________ and told her that she matters to me. I’m so proud of myself!
  • I sent an email to someone I’ve been meaning to reach out to for months now. I’m so proud of myself!

You get the idea.

As you read this list was there even a little part of you that rolled your eyes? It’s too much. It’s unnecessary. It seems silly.

Mmm hmm. (If so, scroll back up to the part about listening and listening some more, about taking a deep breath, about feeling…)

I can’t prove it, but there MUST be a direct correlation between our resistance to self-expressed pride and being stuck and/or afraid. And I believe there is also a direct correlation between our practice of self-expressed (and much-deserved) praise and our lived capacity and courage! ‘Seems like it’s a hypothesis worth testing out, yes?

I know how hard this can be.

I know how much effort it takes to overcome all the lies we’ve believed, the stories we’ve been told, the messages we’ve consumed, and the lack of praise we’ve often experienced.

I know all too well how easy it is to slip into self-talk that tells me to remember my place, to not be too full of myself, to definitely not be too much.

I know how trapped and straightjacketed I have felt when that self-talk has taken hold and become “true” in my own mind.

And I know just how much it has cost me when I’ve not trusted my own wisdom, demonstrated agency, stepped forward in courage, and held onto hope. *sigh*

One antidote to all of this is giving yourself permission to name just how amazing you are. Did I mention? You deserve to be blatantly and boldly proud of yourself.


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