This Thanksgiving, don’t forget to be thankful for yourself. We live in a society that tells us success is a must. So, we spend long days studying and even longer nights working, just to have a taste of that sought-after success. It’s not until we’re single, 40, lonely and stuck at a job we hate that we realize all our success chasing has been for naught. When the girls called for a night out, you declined and decided to study. When the guys wanted to watch the game, you declined in favor of filling in for the guy who never shows. Society tells us to suck it up and deal with it. This is life. That same society tells us it’s bad to revel in your own success, and frankly, that’s wrong. You should celebrate your successes, big or small.
You may know someone who accuses you of bragging when you’re simply telling that person about your life. For instance, they’ll ask, “What did you do today?” You’ll say, “I bought a new car.” Two days later, you hear from a mutual friend that the other friend is accusing you of bragging about your new car. This is a circle problem — a problem created by who you choose to keep in your circle. To someone who isn’t living life to the fullest, your success is an affront to them. They want you to feel bad about doing well. Don’t.
We look for validation in others. It’s why an artist can create what they think is the best thing since the Mona Lisa, but if someone says they don’t like the painting, the artist is hurt. A step further, a nominee never feels as good as the winner. That’s because there’s no outside glory to be found in not being number one. Well, aren’t you number one to yourself? You didn’t get the award. Does that mean the other person is better than you? It doesn’t, but you may feel that way.
That said, you must validate yourself. Depending on others to validate you is like waiting to be pinned with a price tag. Is your networth determined by others or by you? The first step in validating yourself is celebrating both your failures and successes, small or large. You get nominated for a prize but don’t win, smile because you even got nominated. You complete a deadline, have a treat. You get a promotion, take a vacay. Do something that makes you happy.
Stop feeling bad about being judged, or your potential success can be lost. For instance, if you’re a creative writer whose best friend says your stories suck, forget that friend. That friend may not have any faith in your future as an author. You probably even feel silly having seen your friend’s uninterested face when you told them you’ve completed writing your first novel. Don’t lose faith in your work. Completing writing a full novel is an outstanding achievement. No matter what you accomplish, it is worth being proud of.
Another thing, know the difference between bragging and not bragging. Bragging is when you drop everything to tell everyone you know about your new Ferrari they couldn’t afford. Bragging comes from a place of boastful comparisons between the bragger and the listener. It is not bragging to tell someone you got a new Ferrari alone. It’s not bragging to mention you got a promotion or the puppy you’ve been wanting or the dream woman or man you’ve been seeking.
The world pressures us to do right and be successful. It tells us to strive, never give up and to do our best. On the other hand, the world says to keep your successes to yourself. Society says it makes people uncomfortable to hear you talk about your accomplishments. I say, shine a light on yourself and be proud. Humility is a must. So is self-confidence. Clean up your social circle. Surround yourself with people who don’t think you’re bragging every time you open your mouth. Celebrate your own successes. Happy Thanksgiving. Celebrate safely and socially distant.
*Jermaine Reed, MFA is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, nonfiction, local news stories and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get my recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.