If you would rather listen to me read this blog, click here
Content Warning: Discussion of weight loss
I am most proud of things that you cannot see
Years ago during a job interview, I was asked what my two biggest accomplishments were. At the time, I had recently graduated university. I had also been struggling with an undiagnosed eating disorder for about six years at this point and had lost a lot of weight. Therefore, I responded that my two biggest accomplishments were:
- Graduating from university
- Losing 60 pounds
It made sense to me at the time to state things that are considered markers of success in our society; education and weightloss. In fact most often when we think about success and accomplishments we automatically jump to education, physical transformations, or important life ‘milestones’. We have celebrations for graduations, weddings, baby showers, getting a job etc., and by no means am I saying we should not celebrate those things. But what if we widen our scope of what we view as accomplishments? For many people, myself included, some of the things I am the most proud of are things you cannot see.
What I’m proud of now
When I look back on that interview now, I can’t help but think of how differently I would answer that question today. I assuredly would never mention weight loss, because losing weight was one of the most stressful and horrible things I have ever done to my body and to my mental health, but at that time in my life it was celebrated. I celebrated it, rather than acknowledging to myself, or anyone else that it was causing me to suffer, deeply. It feels backwards that I would have considered it something I was proud of.
But now over a decade later, when I think about what makes me most proud, it is things that you cannot see or touch. For example:
- I have worked very hard to take care of my mental wellness and I no longer live with constant crippling anxiety.
- I took many steps and had difficult conversations with people close to me in order to end cycles of trauma.
- I am intentionally raising my kids to feel emotionally supported and regulated.
- I have let go of the notion of having to change my body, and now fully believe that all bodies are good bodies.
I’m not the only one
But these are not things that are regularly celebrated in our society. I am fortunate that many of the humans closest to me actively celebrate my accomplishments (huge shout out to Bianca who tirelessly celebrates these wins and does an incredible job of reminding me when I forget). However, outside my closest circle, discussions of anxiety, processing trauma and mental wellness might otherwise lead to quick topic changes, uncomfortable silence, or debates.
But I am not the only person who is working their ass off to heal, grow, learn and embolden their life in ways that we cannot always see.
I have talked to hundreds of students over the years who are also doing incredibly powerful, difficult and beautiful work of tending to their internal needs. They are working through experiences and emotions which they feel need processed. For many of them no one is telling them what an extraordinary job they are doing and that the work they are doing is not only changing their own lives but the lives of their families and communities.
These types of milestones are things that we need to be celebrating! We should be cheerleaders for this quiet revolution taking place in so many people’s lives.
What if we celebrated these?
How validating and wonderful would it be if we started having celebrations for:
- Setting a hard boundary with your family member
- Getting a bigger size of jeans which fit comfortably
- Coming out to your parents
- Starting to trust yourself and follow your intuition
- Taking the first steps to get a diagnosis so you can get better accommodation
- Going to therapy for the first time
- Starting taking a medication that you really need
There are so many huge milestones in people’s lives that they are quietly accomplishing, the possibilities are endless. Imagine all the joy, love and support if we openly celebrated more personal achievements?
The chance to celebrate our intangible personal milestones
Increased accolades might help eliminate the feelings of shame many people experience about not meeting societal standards for milestones. Many people do not ascribe to those milestones anyway; feeling that they are prescriptive idea of what our lives are “supposed” to look like. Instead, what if individuals could take stock of the incredible accomplishments they have achieved personally and be celebrated for them. It could be life changing.
If you have been working through some really challenging things and have not been able to share them with anyone, I just want to say you are doing a great job. It might not be something you can visually see every day, but I promise it is important.
It is a really big deal and I hope you feel very proud of yourself.
What are you most proud of? Are they things you cannot see, or things that you can!? Let’s celebrate all your hard work. Feel free to share your experiences/thoughts in the comments.
I am most proud of things that you cannot see
FREE ONLINE MINI-COURSE
BLISS IN BUSINESS RETREAT
Your future is created by what you do today — that's why we created a completely FREE mindset mini-course to help doulas and birth workers find bliss in their business!