Despite what the title might suggest, this article does not intend to be slushy or promote a false sense of superiority. Actually it’s the opposite; it’s meant to make you realise that what you consider to be your best achievements probably aren’t. Or to put it more politely, are not as important as other, less celebrated victories.
These unacknowledged victories are our ability to emerge from change, loss, grief, disappointment, heartbreak, doubt, shock, anxiety or any event that gave our world turbulence. It is so easy to forget the challenges that you’ve overcome when time has distanced you from them and ultimately, this piece seeks to remind you to remember who you are and what you’re capable of in the face of minor, daily stresses or major obstacles.
REASONS WHY WE SHOULD GIVE OURSELVES CREDIT
1 – Our capacity to heal – The word pain is used to describe both physical and emotional suffering. And when it comes to healing the injuries that are harder to see, it’s incredible that – metaphorically speaking – we self-medicate and instinctively know what to do. Not only can we weather disruption, we can deal with it and still come through the other side. Granted, we may be left changed, but we will always return to ourselves; all we ever require is some time – proportionate to the event – and we pick ourselves up and carry on.
2 – We are capable of accepting and adapting to what is – While loss and grief are among the most unpleasant things to experience, they make us realise the finite nature of life and – in our powerlessness – give us perspective, making our minor, everyday stresses appear minute. And, given enough time, we notice that we’ve reached a place that we’d never envisaged being possible.
3 – We are enough – Often our self-value hangs in the balance of acquiring, being and doing more, which is great – our life is given substance and purpose through our aspirations. Social media – Instagram in particular – acts as our personal mascot, with affirmations that encourage us to conquer life while we’re lucky enough to be here to. But in moments of doubt and anxiety, lets not kid ourselves into thinking that we need to find approval or answers elsewhere, when we’ve proven that everything we need to deal with inner chaos is already in us.
4 – We’ve taken control for and of ourselves – It might be helpful to remember that, even at the depths of despair, we’ve been able to take control and redirect ourselves. Thinking about or regretting what cannot be changed is about as useful as a chocolate teapot. And besides, who are we to question the grand scheme of things?
5 – We’ve come a long way, in many ways – Let’s not forget that at one point, our sole aim as humans was simply to survive. Our ancestors can vouch for that. Fast forward a few million years and we’ve swapped the wild bear that threatens to devour us for our anxious minds; it’s fitting, then, that we use the phrase ‘get into our own head’ when we describe self-sabotage. Where you are and who you are today, even if in an unnoticeable way, is where you once hoped you would be. Equally, who you were last year – or even yesterday – is not who you are today and doesn’t define who you’re capable of being. When we realise the ways in which we’ve dealt with adversity, we do not simply realise how far we’ve come and how much we’re growing everyday, but we also gain some perspective. In the face of uncertainty and doubt, we realise that actually, bigger things have happened and, as is the nature of life, bigger things are going to happen. Looking back at more testing times – as I often like to do – grounds us in a sense of gratitude for what is but also for who we’ve proven ourselves to be. I think that fact is far too significant to ever be overshadowed by anything else.