“You should be proud of yourself,” my husband said. “You wrote a book.”
It was nice to hear. It meant a lot. He went on to tell me how much I have achieved and how proud he was of me.
I keep thinking about his words. Something was bothering me. And I realized what it was.
I understand that I should be proud of myself. I wrote a book. Me. By myself. In English, which isn’t even my native language. While raising a baby. And a teenager (nope, it’s not easier, I’m sure parents of teenagers will understand.)
I wrote a whole novel.
Why do I not feel proud?
I mean, I do feel good about it. I love my story. I know that after this final round of edits that I’m doing now it will shine even brighter. I can’t wait to share it with the world. I do believe that it’s going to be a great book.
But where’s that overwhelming feeling of joy and pride? Where’s the “Wow, I’m so awesome, I did it” moment?
It’s not there. There’s a whole lot of other things though. There’s “I probably could’ve done it better”; there’s “Okay, so you wrote a book, good, now get to the publishing and marketing side of things, too much to learn and do, no time to lose”; there’s “I need to write more, only where do I find the time, look, other authors are writing and releasing several books a year”. And there’s a bunch of other disturbing thoughts and worries. I’m steaming ahead in an attempt to catch up, to make up for the time I “lost” (I know it’s a misperception, but it happens when you’re dreaming of writing all your life but only start doing it when you’re 41).
And I guess I’m in too much of a rush to pause, look back at what I’ve achieved, and feel the pride. The key word here is feel. Not just understand, acknowledge or think of it as a fact. It’s important to attach some emotion to it.
Like a kid bringing home an award or a trophy from school, beaming with happiness.
That kind of proud.
I tried to remember the last time I felt anything like that. I couldn’t.
I know the feeling, though, because I feel proud of other people.
Earlier today my niece called me with some great news about her work. It’s something that she learned quite recently, and she made incredible progress in a short period of time. And now she has people who want to learn it from her. She was so thrilled to get a request from a student; her voice was filled with so much genuine happiness and pride – I could hear it although we’re thousands of miles apart and I couldn’t see her face. And I felt that pride and happiness for her. You know, that somewhat ticklish feeling of warmth in your chest, like you have your own little sun there caressing your heart with its rays.
I feel proud of my kids for their successes, big or small. Sometimes it’s so overwhelming it makes me want to cry.
I feel proud of my husband for all his accomplishments and achievements.
Why am I not that generous with pride when it comes to myself? Why do I get a “well done” and a virtual pat on the back from myself (okay, maybe a little treat sometimes too), but not the genuine feeling of pride?
Why do I find time to write long to-do lists and set tons of reminders, but don’t find time to write a list of things that I’m proud of?
Because first of all, I need to allow myself to be proud of my own achievements.
I’ll imagine there’s a ‘Settings’ menu somewhere inside my mind, and all I need to do is open that menu, find the “Appreciate yourself and feel proud” option, and hit ‘Allow’. Done.
And then I’ll write down a list of things that I’m proud of. Most probably, it won’t be that easy at the start. But I’ll still try.
And when I succeed (because of course I will succeed), I will look at the list of my achievements and I will take each and every thing on it and infuse it with a feeling. A feeling of pride and happiness. A feeling of joy, fulfillment and gratification.
I want to sit there with my eyes closed and a huge smile on my face, thinking about how amazing and cool I am.
I want you to do the same. (Well, with your own achievements though. But feel free to think that I’m amazing too, I won’t mind.)
Go change your inner settings and make that list. What have you done (recently or years ago, it doesn’t matter) that makes you feel happy and proud?
- I wrote a book.