Yesterday my three-year-old daughter figured out that she can swing standing up and this is no big deal. Tons of kids have known this forever. Tons of kids do it every day. Tons of kids are climbing, jumping risk takers.
My child is not a climbing, jumping risk taker. Never has been. She’s cautious and mindful. She’s a sit on your bottom, watch where you’re going, be careful kind of kid, but yesterday she moved out of her comfort zone and tried something new. She attempted something that felt a little risky for her and found out that she was braver than she thought and more capable than she knew. I encouraged her willingness to try and then we squealed together in celebration.
I often don’t extend the same praise for myself. I don’t let myself feel proud of accomplishments that others have already conquered. I minimize my own efforts, risks, and successes because someone else has done them first, done them better, or done them bigger. I do this all the flipping time. What a crock, y’all.
I recently sat in silence as friends spoke casually about training for a marathon. I listened as they nonchalantly chatted about running 26 miles before work. I looked away when someone mentioned their steady nine-minute pace. Instead of feeling happy for them, I felt sorry for myself. Instead of congratulating them on being amazing, I silently criticized - I criticized them for being so casual about it and myself for not being able to do the same.
In those moments I told myself that my 2019 goal to walk or hike 365 miles in 365 days was dumb and irrelevant. I didn’t bring it up, because I was sure that everyone else would see it that way, too. Today I’m re-framing my thoughts around this. I’m letting others be proud of their accomplishments and letting myself feel proud of mine. I’m giving myself credit. I’m acknowledging the effort and determination I’ve put forth to accomplish a goal I’ve set for myself. I’m patting myself on the back for getting off the couch. I’m giving myself points for trying. I’m giving myself a high five for being braver than I thought and more capable than I knew.
I’ve walked or hiked 140 miles in the first 140 days of 2019 and I am proud of me. Gals who ran 26 miles before work today, I’m proud of you, too. Daughter of mine, who feels like a standing-up-on- the-swing-set Rockstar, I think you’re a pretty big deal. You are too, friend.
Your effort. Your determination. Your grit. Your risk taking. Your bravery. Your baby steps. Your perseverance. Your willingness. Your accomplishment. Your success. Your lessons learned. Your small victories. These things of yours are not less because someone else’s look like more. Let your victory be a victory.