Have you taken enough time to think about what is good and great about you?
Do you allow yourself to fully look at your great qualities and talents and spend time with that?
What happens in your body when you think about saying out loud to others what you are good at? Even brilliant at?
Do you dare to praise yourself?
The reason I am asking you these questions is that this is very personal to me. And I feel powerful and alive when I allow myself to be proud of me – both my accomplishments and also my good qualities and talents.
And most of my life I have spent hiding or minimizing my talents especially in front of others.
I feel sad about that. I notice tightness in my stomach.
I grew up in a family, maybe quite a typical Finnish family of the time, where my parents were pretty modest people and had the motto ”don’t make a big deal out of yourself” and ”don’t stand out”. I think growing up in the 1970’s and 80’s Finland there was a lot of this praise around being modest and people who were openly proud of themselves or talking about their accomplishments were judged negatively.
I learned to not feel proud or if I did to hide. I also learned to hide or play down my joy and anger.
I don’t so much blame my parents any longer (and I did spend years blaming them). They are products of their upbringing as well and faced the hardships of the post war generation where a lot was about survival and there was less time for fun, joy, pride and emotions, it was a lot about survival – either mentally or at times almost literally in poor families.
As a young adult or not so young adult I remember feeling a bit pissed off, tight in my body and surprised when I heard people openly owning their talents and talking about their achievements. Or god forbid coming saying they are proud of themselves. Especially if they were talking about stuff that wasn’t that huge of a deal in my opinion.
I felt envious towards people who seemed to have good self-esteem and positive attitude towards life, all seemed to be an opportunity or at least a learning opportunity for them. I met people who had been brought up believing in themselves and their ability to do things and do well in life.
During the past 10 years I have started to learn to be proud of myself, also about things that are not of huge magnitude. One thing that made a difference for me is the practice of Radical Honesty and talking more about the things I found difficult and embarrassing to say out loud. For me this includes being proud of myself and sharing my happiness.
I am proud of the mother I am, interested in my son, telling him I love him, giving him space and trusting him. I am proud of fund raising millions for non-for profit organizations. I am proud of how I stay present with people when they are angry at me or blame me. (the latter being far more difficult). I am proud of the workshop leader I am today, of the skills I have learned and developed and noticing little nuances and shifts in people.
I am proud of how I am willing to deal with my anger and sadness with Pete, stay present and express my emotions and want to forgive and move on.
Maybe the most proud I am about being willing to work with myself and look into the unpleasant and unknown places within me. And staying loving towards myself when I fail or struggle.
I notice my heart racing. You might think I have a huge ego! And I am proud of writing these words.
What are you proud of?
I want to share with you this exercise that I like very much.
Will you try it out?
Here is an exercise you can do with your friend, partner or a loved one. Or on your own and record a video!
For 5 minutes, share what you are good at, while your partner listens. No comments from the partner and no negative bragging such as ”At times I’m good at… ”, ”I’m good at failing..”
Notice your sensations while talking.
After you both shared, talk about the experience. Were there any surprises?
Tuulia (& Pete)