When I started writing online, I used to get frustrated that my friends weren’t supporting me as much as I would’ve liked. I waited for them to share my articles, leave comments or even bring them up to me.
If I explicitly sent them an article, they’d respond that it was great or provide feedback, but it stopped there.
I couldn’t understand why they weren’t going above and beyond; they knew how important this was to me. One day I brought this up to a friend, and she was surprised. She said that she had never realised I wanted that, given that I barely shared my own writing. She thought that since I didn’t post it on my social media, I wouldn’t want them to.
In May of this year, I had an article published in a prominent publication that I had been reading for years. I immediately sent it to my best friends, and they sent excited replies and congratulated me. Yet when it came up with other people, I brushed it off, saying it was no big deal. But I found that I was disappointed in how little they asked about it.
The people I had shared my unfiltered excitement with had given me the response I wanted, and those with which I had aimed to appear humble had not. It was clearer than ever that the issue wasn’t my friends; it was me. I was downplaying things that mattered to me and then becoming frustrated when others followed my lead.
If I pretended that something wasn’t a win, how could I expect others to recognise it for what it was?
There’s a time and place to be humble, and there’s no space for it when it comes to your ambitions. Because if you downplay what you do, so will everyone else. If you shrug off your latest article, artwork, grade or promotion like it’s no big deal, then people will literally think it’s no big deal - and can you blame them?
There’s a difference between screaming that you’re the best and saying nothing at all. You don’t have to be a jerk about your success, but you need to acknowledge the things you’re proud of. You need to share that pride to highlight that this is important to you.
You’re not saying you’re the best out there; you’re saying that you’re proud of what you’ve achieved. There’s a difference between those two statements, and it’s an important one.
But it can be hard to lose those humble roots, and it can feel too easy to slip into bragging mode, so here’s a golden tip: focus on what got you there. Focus on the effort and time if that helps you to celebrate easier.
Practice celebrating yourself, and it will get easier. We’ve been conditioned to view absolutely everything as showing off when that doesn’t have to be the case. When you work hard, you deserve to enjoy the fruits of that labour.
And I guarantee that no one important to you will think you’re unnecessarily bragging. The truth is that people want to celebrate you, but you have to give them that chance. You have to indicate that you want this, and I guarantee they’ll follow.
Work out what’s important to you so that you can communicate this to others. It is your responsibility to inform the people that matter. You can’t expect them to know and then resent them when they don’t. And if you struggle with that confrontation, aim to take a more positive route. Acknowledge when it happens so they know you pick up on this.
But also recognise that how people celebrate you will differ per person.
I have a friend who is just not a social media person; she hates posting on Instagram. So I can’t expect her to share my articles there when she resents using the app. That would be asking her to be someone she isn’t. But I recently started making my own tote bags, and I was carrying one when we met up with friends. She immediately pointed out the tote bag to the others and made sure they noticed it. That was all I needed from her, that little moment spent acknowledging something I considered to be important.
Some friends will celebrate you loudly, and others quietly, some will share your work, and others will reach out to let you know they’re proud. It doesn’t matter how it’s done or who sees; what matters is that they took a moment to acknowledge that your efforts are seen.
You need to start celebrating your wins so that people can recognise them for exactly that. You need to celebrate your wins, so people know that you want this acknowledgement, and won’t think it’s corny or unnecessary. You need to celebrate your wins because you’re working towards your ambitions, and that’s an amazing thing in itself. Be sure to enjoy every step of the journey as you work towards your dreams.
Welcome to Symptoms of Living! A place where I like to relieve myself of the barrage of thoughts and ideas filling my mind. Here I'll take a look at various topics, from books to BPD, series to self-harm, there's nothing that we can't, and shouldn't, talk about.
Having struggled with mental illness since the age of 15, one of the hardest parts was how alone I felt in it. While mental illness is beginning to be discussed more openly, and featured in the media, I still think there is room for improvement. So whether it is mental illness or merely mental health, a bad day or a bad year, let's make this a place to approach it and strip it back. Everyone has their own symptoms of living, and you certainly won't be the only one with it.
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