It is so bloody British for us to be critical of ourselves and not toot our own horns, but what’s the bloody point in that. If you don’t back yourselves how can you expect anyone else to? So with that in mind, I want you to ask yourself using the fine words of Mrs Heather small “what have you done today to make you feel proud” (I hope you all sung that in a funny voice) – and yes I have taken this from Miranda!
For me, and I think a lot of people, a massive part of the journey to being happy and comfortable with who we are is learning how to be proud of ourselves, and recognising this feeling. Everyone always preaches self-love, but it is far easier to say it than truly feel it. It is so much easier to criticise our every move and focus on what we can’t do rather than what we can do. I think this is the biggest constraint on our individual happiness and prevents us from achieving what we want in life. It is so important for us to recognise our strengths, celebrate and be proud of them. And for me recognising my strengths and allowing myself to be proud of them has given me confidence that I have never felt before.
It is bloody hard to change this mindset that has been drilled into us for the eternity of time, but we need to try and force ourselves to love who we are. When we acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses we are far better equipped to deal with the problems we may be faced with in life like boss ass bitches.
As cringe as it sounds, I have written a list of ten or so things that I think I am good at and that I am proud of myself for, and I can’t recommend it enough. This list can be anything from your looks to your characteristics to day to day accomplishments. I keep mine on my phone, but you can write it down too and keep it somewhere that you can always read it wherever you may be. And when I have days where I’m being a negative Nelly and doubting myself, I’ll get it out and have a read and remind myself what I can do and what I am capable of. Some of these things may be small and insignificant but these are often the things we forget and occasionally need reminding of.
A few weeks ago I saw something on Instagram that said we are often hardest on ourselves right when we should be most proud. The post was about reaching goals, and it said that we are never proud of ourselves for the steps we take to reaching our goals, only when we accomplish the end goal itself. And my exact response was “ damn Daniel how bloody true”. It is so easy to only be proud of yourselves when you achieve the end goal in its entirety, but I think that this way of thinking is a load of bollocks. It should be the case that we are proud of every small step we take in the journey to achieving this goal because more often than not these steps are bloody tough and you are a f*cking hero for taking them. So just because something isn’t happening fast enough or isn’t happening right now, that is ok. You are still allowed to be proud of yourself.
Now more than ever, we need to be kinder to ourselves, I think people fall into the trap of thinking that they haven’t achieved anything or have nothing to be proud of themselves for because they haven’t run a marathon or baked a highly instagrammable banana bread. We need to stop comparing ourselves to what others have achieved, and only compare ourselves to ourselves. It's ok if all you’ve managed to do today is go downstairs to make a cup of tea- life will go on and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up if we haven’t solved world hunger all in one working day.
This brings me on to backing yourself- I think it’s very British to be modest. And yes, I'm not saying you should stand on the streets shouting that you are god’s gift to the world. But saying “actually I am good at that” or “I’m proud of myself for doing x, y,z” doesn’t make you cocky, it just makes you confident. For example, I always get comments saying that I laugh at my own jokes to which I always reply – “well yes, I find myself hilarious”. Obviously, I don’t think I’m the funniest person in the world, but I’m not embarrassed to say that I find myself funny. And I think a lot of people cringe at the thought of complementing themselves because we have become so used to speaking about ourselves negatively. And this needs to change!
So as cringe as it sounds, every night I do my best Heather small impression and ask myself what I’ve done that I’m proud of. Sometimes it's finishing an essay and sometimes it is something as small as brushing my hair. But that’s fine too, the world will not stop. I always find that there are things that I do that I am proud of that I would have never realised, and it's ok to be proud of yourself for them. Just because you acknowledge these feelings doesn’t make you a self-centred arrogant arse hole. It just means you are being kind to yourself. This is the key to being happy and truly loving yourself.
So please don’t be embarrassed to toot your horn.