In honour of the Canadian Thanksgiving today I am writing about the importance of self acknowledgement and specifically my ability to be grateful (in public) for my wins and my accomplishments.
I sometimes get email either asking me “why” I brag about accomplishments or reprimanding me about posting my achievements on my face book pages. One lady was really upset with me and wanted to know what my achievements had to do with any of it? My “bragging” was on my personal facebook profile page, and I when I asked her why this upset her she really couldn’t answer other than to say “it is just wrong”. Recently I got another such note, this time the woman expressed admiration for my work and my message, but then said that when I “tooted my own horn” that way it took away from the power in my message.
I find this a bit shocking and even disappointing that survivors of depression and abuse would be offended by my celebrating my accomplishments. In order to give some context to what some people find offensive I will list a few of my facebook posts that trigger these negative responses;
~I have posted my Alexa ranking (In 10 months time Emerging from Broken achieved the website rank of #344,000 worldwide. I posted this believing that I was celebrating what I considered to be a big win).
~I have posted a celebratory post about getting 1000 comments on the blog in eleven weeks.
~I have posted the growth in numbers of the facebook page for Emerging from Broken.
~I have posted links to the OTI Members Daily ~ a twitter newsletter put out by online therapy expert DeeAnna Merz Nagel from the Online Therapy Institute, when my blog gets included in the twitter paper.
~I have posted the number of comments on certain posts. The most comments ever was 77 for the post Sexual Abuse ~ Devalued, Discounted and Unprotected
~I posted that I was being interviewed by Scotland Counsellor John Wilson from Online events about my amazing journey and my blog.
Most of these things are about my accomplishments! Some of them are just a way to get more people to read the posts or visit the fan page because I believe in my message and want other people to find out about it. My blog is about how I went from totally hopeless to living an awesome amazing and excitingly full life. I think that is worthy of promoting!
I spent most of my life in the darkness of depression. I struggled with low self esteem and had a poor self image until I took my life back about 6 years ago. In my old life, no one acknowledged me for anything, in fact I was often put down for my accomplishments, accused of cheating, accused of “sleeping with the boss”, someone else got the credit for my work and the list goes on. I had huge issues with pursuing a goal because of the fear of those things happening again.
I was talking to my young teenage daughter about this post and about the concept of not bragging or tooting your own horn; this is what she had to say “Pride is a sin. You can’t be proud of your own work because this is God’s work now ~ you did it for God so it doesn’t belong to you anymore. It isn’t “your pride” anymore. Don’t boast, don’t be proud. That is what I was taught in the Christian school” I think that is very sad that she was taught that, and I try very hard to erase that negative teaching from her belief system.
I learned all kinds of stuff about humility and all that jazz, but before I learned that, I learned to put myself down and keep myself down. I learned to squish myself before someone else did. I learned that it was safer to be quiet then to be in the spotlight. And all this had to be unlearned in order for me to embrace my new life in wholeness so that I could go forward.
I was a broken woman who had given up hope, and now I have a mental health blog about emotional healing that gets hundreds of views per day.
I was interviewed by a therapist last week. Therapists used to treat me like I was a fragile, breakable, shadow of a woman and they spoke to me with such care in case I fell apart. Today they are my colleagues. That is something to celebrate. And who is going to celebrate that for me? (click to see the YouTube clip of my interview with John Wilson.)
I doesn’t mean as much when someone else gives me credit. When I was in counselling therapy, my therapist would acknowledge me, and I couldn’t accept it. I learned to recognize my automatic reactions to his statements. Sometimes I just dismissed acknowledgement. Sometimes it made me uncomfortable and I didn’t know where to look, sometimes I thought that he was saying nice things because I was paying him to. I didn’t really always believe that he liked me and I felt like I had to PAY someone to listen to me or to talk to me. I felt like I had to pay someone to really hear me. That came from way deep down in my fragile self esteem and I don’t feel that way anymore.
While I am on this subject, I also need to apologize to Hillary at “Quivering Daughters” because she bestowed upon me a beautiful blog award, (see it in the picture!) and I neglected to talk about it! (MY BAD) Hillary has a great website about Spiritual Abuse, and if spiritual abuse is an issue for you, I hope you visit her site.
I’ve come a long way baby and I am proud of myself. I don’t think that I am “tooting my own horn” because that statement has all sorts of negative baggage attached to it. I think of it as self care; I think of it as good mental health recovery stuff, positive reinforcement, and high fiving with the world!
AND WHY NOT? Whooooooooo hoooooooooooooo life is a ride and I am in the front car! There is room for everyone! Who’s in??
Love and Laughter ~ Always
P.S. all the titles are live linked to the places and people that I have mentioned, just click on them to visit.