Every day, you have choices to make.
You may choose what you want to focus on for the day, which road to take to the office or what issue you want to tackle. Making your decision, you start your day and – with focus and effort – you accomplish things. You get a win. One small one might roll into another, and then another. And at the end of the day, you’re proud of what you’ve achieved. You want to share the good news and celebrate it, so you call your coworker, friend or (insert a person here). The news tumbles out in one excited jumble. And how does the other person react?
Perhaps they’re as thrilled as you are, and you both are off to the races. Most likely though, they are happy for you – but maybe not as happy as you hoped they’d be. Or just maybe, they have a different take on your day. Maybe they don’t see your win as a “win” after all. Now, how do you feel? Are you deflated? Confused? Let down? Are you still as excited as you were before? Does some of that joy come out of your voice, and do you move quickly on to the next chore on your to-do list?
People crave connections. We’re social beings. While I might be an introvert or you might be an extrovert, we all want to be understood. Seen. Validated. Appreciated. We look outward for reinforcement of whom we believe we are inside. Our self-worth, whether it’s at the office, at home or in a relationship, may somehow be defined by what you see reflected back at you by another person.
I say you are selling yourself short. When you accomplish something good, you know in your heart that you have. You can feel it in your bones. You’ve done great work, hit a goal or laid the foundation of a great future, and you know it. Feeling proud of yourself is a good thing, yet so many people get that pride of accomplishment confused with hubris. Instead of believing in the work they’ve done, they feel guilty, so they turn outward for validation – for “approval” to be proud – and find themselves disappointed. Their friend is distracted, thinking about their own issues, and not providing the feedback you want or “need.”
Positive feedback is a good thing, but there’s no guarantee you will get it. That doesn’t diminish the moments when you know you’ve made a difference. Hubris is one thing. Overt or excessive pride with no true accomplishment, that’s another story for another time. You know it when you’ve done something good. That’s a feeling that’s weighty, sits deep and resonates. You don’t need anyone else’s permission to celebrate your job well done. Throw back those curtains of self-doubt and celebrate yourself. Then do more great work, and celebrate again tomorrow.
In fact, every day you can choose to accomplish something great and celebrate it again. You deserve it, and your friends – those true ones – probably know a good party when they see it. They won’t want to miss out on this one